SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2
Director: Lee Harry
Year of release: 1987
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 86 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Taglines: "The nightmare is about to begin...again" and "Prayers won't save you in the silent part of this night".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Years on from the climax of the last film Ricky, the younger brother of Billy is now in his late teens and is being interviewed by a psychiatrist. Ricky though bad tempered and at first reluctant to share anything soon begins to recap his troubled childhood in loosing his parents while still a baby, growing up in a strict catholic orphanage and later living in the shadow of his series killer brother. He then goes on to detail a series of cold blooded murders which he himself committed more recently which resulted in him being arrested and confined presumably to a mental hospital. Ricky of course manages to escape the room in which he is being interviewed and once free sets his sights on targeting the aging mother superior from his days in the orphanage, the woman his brother was about to kill before being gunned down.
Good points: I say this as a positive in a lot of my reviews of sequels (I have a tendency to repeat myself I know) but there is some continuity between this and the original which I always appreciate. Obviously the Ricky character returning is the main thing but also the mother superior even if she is this time played by a different actress. We certainly could have done without the unnecessary recap of the events of the first film but I suppose at least they acknowledge it and try and build and expand on what has gone before. I'll always prefer this approach in a sequel than being a sequel in name only and not having anything to do with the previous film.
There are some nice kills in here which are fun to watch with the ones that stood out for me being the umbrella kill with the loan shark, the one with the car battery and jumper cables and the end piece involving the mother superior is very well done.
On the subject of the mother superior the chase scene towards the end of the film where Ricky forces his way into the wheelchair bound and elderly woman's home with her frantically trying to get away is easily my favourite part of the film. It makes for an enjoyable and tension filled finale.
The things that Ricky says before he kills are very wooden and stilted but although cheesy it kind of falls into the so bad it's good bracket and actually proves to be entertaining. Similarly the fake sounding forced laugh he keeps doing comes across as so bad it's funny. The garbage day line has also become a real favourite over the years among horror fans.
Bad Points: The obvious problem and I'm sure the thing that tried the patience of pretty much everyone is the big recap from the first film which dominates about the entire first half of the film. The original sparked a lot of backlash at the time of release and because of this didn't make a great deal of money so the studio wanted to try and recoup some losses by reusing much of the old footage in the sequel to pad out the new film and cut down costs on having to shoot new material. What we are left with though is just a boring rehash of what we have already seen. The film doesn't really get going until Ricky opens up a little bit and gets talking about his own history.
I could be wrong here so if so my apologies but I don't think an explanation was ever given as to why the mother superior now has a badly scarred face.
There are parts of the story where Ricky is set off into a rage when he sees women being roughly treated by men with sex on their minds which supposedly reminds him of his own mother being raped and killed. We even see a flashback to this as an older Ricky sees a trigger incident but of course it would have been Billy that witnessed this and not Ricky. Billy could maybe told him about it later in detail but the way it was done with Ricky actually experiencing a flashback type vision of the mothers situation just came across as confusing and clumsy. If they wanted to do something down this road then what they should have done is have it so that whenever older Ricky sees a woman being pawed at it triggers Billy's voice in his head describing he mothers final moments. The way they do it though with him actually seeing visually in his head what happened to his mother is just nonsensical.
There are a couple of really unrealistic parts that I can pick out. Firstly something where a woman thanks Ricky after he kills her boyfriend who was getting rough with her. You would think she would be shocked at the violence though not appreciative even if it did help her out. Maybe we were supposed to infer Ricky only imagined the woman being grateful but if so that wasn't clear. Also there is an awful unrealistic part in a cinema. The cinema looks tiny for a start with the lights not even getting turned down once the film starts. People are talking as well far more than I think anyone would in a cinema plus the film playing appears to be the original which doesn't make any sense. They could have been trying to make it similar to what happened in Scream with the Stab movie I guess but it appeared to be an exact scene from the first movie which was a bit stupid. I suppose you could say though that it is another little piece of continuity tying this one into the first film.
Verdict: Ultimately this is a big let down after what was a very good first movie in the series. There are some funny moments here and there and a good helping of lame cheesiness for those that like that and some continuity with a couple of returning characters. It just doesn't feel like enough effort has been put in though and it hasn't been taken seriously by the people who put it together. As well as being silly and unrealistic at times it is of course hampered as well by not focusing enough on Ricky and instead rehashing all the Billy stuff we had already seen. Final showdown with the mother superior and some of the brief snippets of Ricky growing up as a kid aside it wasn't even as if the limited new material was even all that good so I can't rate this any higher than a four.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Man: Run over by a Jeep after he tried to force himself on his girlfriend.
2) Loan shark: Impaled on an umbrella.
3) Loudmouth in the cinema: Attacked behind the seats in the cinema so we couldn't see what happened. Not totally sure if he was even killed.
4) Jenifer's ex boyfriend: Electrocuted with a car battery and jumper cables combination.
5) Jennifer: Strangled with a car ariel.
6) Policeman: Hand twisted around so he is forced to carry out a self inflicted gunshot.
7) Man: Shot in the street.
8) Another man: Shot in the street as he puts his bins out.
9) Person in car: Car is shot at which causes the driver to crash. Car then explodes.
10) Psychiatrist Henry Bloom: Strangled I think with spools of tape.
11) Santa impersonator: Killed off screen, we just see his head propped against the phonebox.
12) Mother superior: Decapitated with an axe.