Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
House II: The Second Story
I’ll make this quick as I don’t think I got through even ten minutes, put off by the horrendous acting and stupid storyline. This is not a sequel to the first House, it’s not even the same house, definitely not the same characters. I wanted to kill the main character’s girlfriend almost immediately because of her terrible delivery. My only regret is that I didn’t watch far enough to see John Ratzenberger in what I understand was the best scene in the movie. Ironic that he’s in it as George Wendt was in the first one. Coincidence? Maybe, but an odd one if so. Just avoid this one at all costs.
Teenager Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) is going through a rough period. First his parents die, then his brother Tommy (Bill Cone). People say he committed suicide, but that’s not even close to the truth. Now all Mike has is his other brother Jody (Bill Thornbury), and Mike’s afraid Jody is going to take a powder on him and leave him all alone. To be honest, he has reasons to fear that because Jody wants to leave town, very much. As a result, Mike tends to shadow Jody wherever he goes, much to Jody’s annoyance.
Jody forbids Mike to go to Tommy’s funeral, but as usual, Mike doesn’t listen, hiding in the woods near the creepy mortuary where their parents and now Tommy are interred. But after the funeral, when everyone has left, Mike sees something strange. The man who works at the funeral home, the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) single-handedly lifts Tommy’s casket and puts it back into the hearse, then drives away. Mike tells Jody but his brother scoffs since he knows how heavy that casket was, having been a pallbearer. Jody’s friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) tries to console Mike, but to no avail. He even offers to let Mike ride along with him the next day on his ice cream vending route, but Mike isn’t interested.
Mike is determined to get to the bottom of the strangeness at the funeral home. He goes to consult with his friend’s grandmother, who is a fortune teller, and she gives him some advice. Mike breaks into the funeral home and ends up being attacked by a flying ball with spikes. And he keeps seeing strange squat figures in hoods. What the devil is going on here?
This version of the movie was remastered thanks to JJ Abram and Bad Robot, and I can see the difference. The best thing about this movie is undoubtedly the Tall Man, who is the actual stuff of nightmares. I would not want that man after me. I’m not going to say it’s great moments in acting, but for what they are doing, most everyone does well enough. The friend Reggie is an interesting character, and I think he’s a good counterbalance to the irresponsible Jody. I’ve seen this movie a few times over the years and I still enjoy it. I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do and is well worth the watch. I give it 4 Stars.
Sara (Desiree Akhavan) has a web series called Encounters, where she provides niche services to people in search of them, such as a man who wants a mommy. But she is not particularly successful and is ready to give up when she spies an ad from someone in search of a videographer who is willing to pay $1000 for one day’s work. She decides that perhaps this could be the subject she’s been waiting for and contacts him so they can meet. He sends her an address and she drives three hours into the woods to find him.
The man who calls himself Aaron (Mark Duplass) greets her with a green smoothie which he jokingly claims is poisoned. And thus their encounter begins as she films him from the get-go. Aaron is self-confident and assured, and within the first ten minutes of their meeting has confessed to Sara that he is a serial killer, that he has killed 39 people, but that he will not kill her that day. He even shows her a video of him killing his last victim. Thrown for a bit of a loop, she goes to the bathroom to regroup and film herself. She is determined she will do this and it will be great, but for safety sake she tucks a knife into her shoe.
Aaron’s attempts at scaring Sara meet with failure, somewhat to his surprise, as he begins to discover that perhaps he has met a sympathetic spirit. Someone who can appreciate him for who he is. And so their day begins.
This film is, of course, the sequel to 2014’s Creep, with Mark Duplass. But he had a different name
then, having taking Aaron from the name of his last victim. What makes this film particularly interesting is that Sara is not the hapless victim the original Aaron was. She is smart and determined, and she isn’t about to let this Aaron have his way. The film is a bit of a wild ride as we watch these two spar for dominance and at any given moment we are left wondering who is controlling who, and who is actually in charge.
I admit that I really enjoy this film, maybe even more than the first one. There is supposedly going to be a third film in the series but nothing has happened yet, and this came out in 2017. We can only hope Duplass comes up with another great story for the next one. An interesting note, this film was largely an outline, so a lot of what you see is the two actors playing off each other and improvising. I give this film 4.5 Stars.