Saturday, 7 February 2015


 February is Women in Horror Month. There are some fantastic female filmmakers in the genre right now — just recently I’ve reviewed the likes of Audrey Cummings’ awesome Berkshire County, Shannon Lark and Lori Bowen’s delightfully deranged I Am Monster and Jill Sixx Gevargizian’s award winning Call Girl.
But today I’m turning to the queens of the new wave of horror, the biggest names to hit the scene in some time — Jen and Sylvia Soska, the twisted twins. Their debut feature, Dead Hooker In A Trunk made some big waves, while their follow-up effort, American Mary, has quite rightly been lauded as one of the best and most original genre flicks of the last five years. With a segment filmed in ABCs Of Death 2, plus a list of upcoming movies including Painkiller Jane, Vendetta and a segment in the all-femaled directed horror anthology XX, these extremely talented ladies meteoric rise shows no signs of slowing.
Last year I wrote a list of underrated horror villains and my inclusion of Jacob Goodnight from the slasher flick See No Evil was met with some derision by readers. Hey, you guys are entitled to your opinions here, but it seems that that the Soska sisters may have seen some potential in the big guy as they signed up to direct the sequel.
Could the twisted twins continue their run of hits? Or is it time to say goodbye to Goodnight?
Read on…

SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014)

Dir: Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska
Starring: Glenn Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Kaj Erik Eriksen, Greyston Holt, Chelan Simmons, Lee Majdoub, Michael Eklund

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here but read on at your own risk. 

Amy (the ultimate scream queen, Harris) works long shifts at the city morgue and as a result (excuse the pun) both her career and love life seem pretty dead. She seems to have a burgeoning relationship with likeable co-worker Seth (Eriksen) and as their colleague, wheelchair-bound Holden (Eklund) teases Seth, we see that he is trying to pluck up the courage to ask her out on a date.
When the movie opens, Amy is set to go off shift and out to celebrate her birthday with friends — plans which are soon scuppered when the massacre at the Blackwell Hotel is discovered (see the first See No Evil for details)
As the morgue braces itself for an influx of corpses, including hulking mass murderer Jacob Goodnight (WWE's Kane, Glenn Jacobs), Amy cancels her night out to help.
However Amy's friends do not give up so easily and as she cannot go to the party, they decide to bring the party to her. Led by outrageous wild child Tamara (the always wonderful Isabelle), the gang are comprised of Tamara's punky boyfriend Carter (Majdoub), Amy's moody brother Will (Holt) and cute Kayla (Simmons), who just so happens to have a huge crush on Will.
The group descend on the morgue with a plentiful supply of booze, and soon Amy, Seth and Holden join them in partying away.
However, when the intoxicated and serial-killer obsessed Tamara and Carter decide to sneak off for a peek at the monster on the slab in the basement, they soon realise that the deranged Goodnight is not as deceased as they had been led to believe.
Soon the one-eyed maniac (donning a cool new mask) picks up where he left off and begins carving a bloody swathe through his terrified victims. Trapped deep in the bowels of the building, the group are soon involved in a desperate fight for survival. Who, if anyone, will escape the murderous Goodnight's clutches and live to see the morning?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): This horror flick unites two of the biggest female leads in the genre today. Quite simply, this is a horror fan's dream. Harris is as brilliant as ever, giving her character some extra depth and her trademark inner-toughness that makes her a lead you can't help but root for. In the past I've poured plenty of praise on Ms Harris for her continued great work in the genre, See No Evil 2 is yet another fine example of how much she can contribute to a movie.
Isabelle also impresses (as always). Hers is the fun character, a lot like her role as Gibb in Freddy vs Jason. She’s rowdy, drunk, outrageous and hilarious — a character who, in the hands of a lesser actress, could have been a one-note annoyance but as portrayed by Isabelle is one of the most likeable and sympathetic in the film. She has a number of laugh out loud moments in the film and is a delight to watch.
Yet these two big names aren’t the only ones to impress on screen, the entire cast of this film are fantastic. The impressive Simmons has a couple of top 'scream queen'-worthy moments and I hope to see her do a lot more work in the genre, she could become a very, very big star. The duelling male leads of Eriksen and Holt are both superb — each one nailing their role. Eriksen is immensely charismatic and his character really does get put through the wringer. He has the most drastic and clearest arc of all the characters and he is totally up to the task. Bravo, sir.
Meanwhile Holt’s Will could have been an unsympathetic (or even downright unlikeable) character, but Holt knows how to shade the performance, instead making Will’s concern for his sister all too apparent as his main motivation. Obviously he’s a good-looking guy too, so I imagine we’ll see plenty more of him in the future.
Some of the best work came from the always reliable Eklund. Eklund is one of those familiar faces who you recognise without necessarily knowing from where, yet you know he’s going to get the job done and get it done well. His great performance as the fun, spiky Holden is no different. Another excellent job from a very talented actor.
Finally we have Glenn Jacobs. I’ve said this before, but at 7ft tall and built like a grizzly bear, Jacobs is a walking special effect. He exudes menace and is as imposing a figure as they come. I was impressed by Jacob’s acting in the first movie, as a horror lead the character had surprising depth and complexity, and once again, when called upon to emote rather than eviscerate, Jacobs impressed. His physicality during some of the kills and attacks was breath-taking at times, especially during the moments where he displays his freakish strength as he mauls his victims.
So the cast all hit the spot, but that isn’t always enough to save a film. Luckily, See No Evil 2 is much more than a collection of great acting talent. The Soskas bring their trademark dark energy to the flick, with lots of continuing motifs present — especially the clinical and sterile inhumanity of medical tools and specimens. Jen and Sylvia have gained a reputation for cool and edgy film-making, packed with dark, disturbing visuals and a frenetic, unnerving energy. This is all on display in See No Evil 2, with some truly shocking moments. This is not just limited to the visuals either, with one particular point in the plot that totally caught me unawares. I'm not often surprised by the events of a slasher flick, so I doff my cap to writers Nathan Brooks and Bobby Lee Darby.
Back to the look of the film, and I particularly liked the way in which the sisters' expert camerawork transformed the morgue into a hellish dungeon, eerily sterile at some moments and a  grim, grimy hole in the earth at others.
By cranking up the atmosphere these very talented ladies are able to cause more chills in the movie's quiet moments than a lot of brash goreapaloozas pack into their entire run time. 
This is a movie that looks fantastic, it moves at a brisk and bristling pace and it includes some brilliantly shot set-pieces. Fans of the Soskas will not be disappointed and, if you aren't yet familiar with their work, this serves as a great introduction to the things they do so well.

WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): If I had one real complaint about See No Evil 2, it would be that Jacobs was given fewer complex acting scenes this time round. Don't get me wrong, he gets lots of neck-snapping, gizzard-ripping moments, but one of the things I liked most about the first movie was the complexity of the character. As much a victim as a villain, Goodnight was fighting an internal struggle against his cracked morality and the abuses of his puritanical mother. In this, after being reunited with his mother's corpse, he totally accepts her diabolical doctrine. I understand this was done for a legitimate story reason, making Goodnight a more focused, lethal threat,  but dang it, Jacobs is a fine actor and I got a kick out of seeing his range before!
Also, while the movie had some great shocks and cool splatter scenes (particularly towards the icky finale) gorehounds may be a little disappointed in the amount of blood and guts on display. Personally, I liked the way the movie built to its visceral highlights, but fans of the likes of Hostel and Saw should be warned that this is decidedly less bloody than those efforts.
Finally, as a big fan of the acting talents of Sylvia and Jen, I was disappointed with their cameo this time around. They rocked in Dead Hooker In A Trunk and were every bit as awesome as the Demon Twins of Berlin in American Mary, so I would have loved to see them do more in See No Evil 2. Oh well, I'll just have to take what I can get!

VERDICT: In your face, Goodnight-haters! This is a great modern slasher flick. The Soska sisters are now 3-0, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in ABC's of Death 2 and Vendetta. I thoroughly recommend you check out See No Evil 2. Not only does it have a horror cast to die for, it is smart, sexy and scary, and the newly en-masked (it's my blog, I can make up words if I like!) Jacob Goodnight is a brilliantly creepy and downright menacing movie maniac. Hey action-figure makers, get me a Goodnight to sit on the shelf with my Movie Maniacs and Cult Classics here at Hickey's House of Horrors. While you're at it, I'll take a Papa Corn too!
If you want to see what Jen and Sylvia have in store for us, head over to the Twisted Twins Productions Facebook page. Give them a big old like while you’re there too, they deserve it! 

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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