Back in the 1980’s, Stephen King famously said that he had seen the new face of horror and that it belonged to Clvie Barker. Now, while I know I’m not anywhere the Master’s league, whenever I think about the work of Jen and Sylvia Soska, I feel as though they’re the new “new” face of horror. If that’s the case, the genre is in good hands.
Like many, I first discovered the Soska Sisters with their groundbreaking, body modification horror film, American Mary. A low budget movie that doesn’t look it, American Mary features a stellar performance by the luminous Katharine Isabelle as a med student who enters the lucrative world of body modification surgery. The film is often gruesome, but it doesn’t rely on the gore; this is a character driven horror flick at its finest (it’s on Netflix and TMN in Canada and is absolutely worth your time; even my mom thought it was “interesting”, which, believe me, is high praise).
This week, the Soska Sisters return with their latest directorial effort, See No Evil 2, a sequel to a film I never saw in the first place. The original stars WWE superstar Glenn “Kane” Jacobs as serial killer Jacob Goodnight, who was apparently killed at the end of the first film, but you know how these things go. Instead, Goodnight returns to terrorize a bunch of students at a morgue where birthday girl Amy (Danielle Harris) has to work late.
This is the Soska’s first straight up slasher flick, and the sisters deliver and then some. They’ve got an absolutely stellar cast to work with – Harris is no slouch, playing a strong character who is no whimpering final girl; she’s tough and willing to fight back. Meanwhile, Katharine Isabelle is absolutely on fire as Tamara, a girl who gets her rocks off on serial killers. She’s the not-so secret weapon of the film, mixing terror with some very funny moments that I don’t typically expect to see her deliver. Michael Ecklund is in the film too briefly as Amy’s boss, Holden, but he’s always a cool presence on any screen he graces. Meanwhile, Kane is a menace as the killer whose pain we see began at home with a torturous mother. The man is a massive monster, someone you genuinely wouldn’t want to run into in any dark alley.
See No Evil 2 is a cut above your typical slasher film, and that’s due to the strength of the script (from Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby) and the Soska’s stylish directorial style. This isn’t the artistic statement that I found American Mary to be, and it doesn’t need to be. The Twisted Twins have done that; this is something different. If you follow them on Twitter or on Facebook, you know that these are creators who are immersed in the horror genre. They know their shit, and in See No Evil 2, they show it off in spades.
You need not have seen the first film to enjoy See No Evil 2; in fact, I’d say skip it altogether and dive head first into this, another superior offering from Jen and Sylvia Soska. I can’t wait to see what they do next.