THREE MASSIVE MANIACS AND A REALLY NICE GUY - ALL SQUISHED INTO A SEVEN FOOT, THREE HUNDRED PLUS POUNDS MAN...
Kane/See No Evil 1/See No Evil 2 (1992, 2006, 2014)
Do I really have to say 'Watch out, there's spoilers!' at the beginning of each review? If I do, I quit. I mean really, if you want 'The kills were nasty, the ending satisfying and I give it three out of five' go somewhere else. I mean it. Leave. NOW.
Don't be disheartened young ones, this won't be a huge review of the life of Glenn "Kane" Jacobs. Just the basics: He was born in Spain, has been married since 1995, began his career in the WWE in 1992, is best known as "Kane", and in the horror movie world as "Jacob Goodnight".
If you've ever seen him as Kane, you know he looks like a nightmare. Towering over his opponents he has been known to smash everyone and everything in sight (in the WWE). To call him a nice guy out of the ring is not saying that the wrestling is fake. I know the score on that.
They may have "stories" they make up for drama, but the moves and the routines takes strength, coordination, caution, and lots and lots of practice. THAT is not fake. One wrong landing, one wrong execution of a move, and a wrestler's career can be over in a second, if not his life. People have died in the ring, most notoriously Owen Hart, who died due to a mechanical malfunction in 1999.
They take very strict measures to insure the safety of wrestlers, and training in order for their time in the ring to be safe and precise. So in that way, no, wrestling is not fake. The drama may be, but the men pay for their fame with a lot of injuries during their careers.
See No Evil (2006): I reviewed this movie October 21, 2013, so I'll just touch on this one so we can go on to the new Soska take on the Jacob Goodnight story. Basically the WWE wanted to make an 80's type slasher movie so they have the monster, the evil mother behind the monster, a bunch of kids that nobody's gonna miss anyway, and a whole lot of unlikely coincidences to make sure they go to their untimely demises.
There were two things that, if you remembered nothing else, stood out. The huge chain with the hook on the end that 'Jacob' threw like it was nothing, and the fact that after (sometimes before) each person was killed, he also pulled out their glazzies - oops, appy polly loggy. Some Clockwork Orange is still in my system, I guess it takes some time for the gloopy stuff to get out. 'Jacob' plucked out their eyeballs, keeping them in jars of liquid.
They killed him pretty good in the first one too: Not only had he lived with a bullet hole in his skull for four years (nice shots of maggots and flies coming out of there - the sound of a fly buzzing meant he was nearby), so to really, really kill him, they shoved a pipe through one eye, then shoved him out a five? six? story window into an atrium, with an interior shot of a piece of rebar splitting his heart. He was dead, dead, dead.
See No Evil 2 (2014): "He's not dead anymore." That's my favorite line of this movie, which has gotten both good and bad reviews of how the sequel was treated. The second movie, much anticipated as it was to be directed by the Canadian Soska sister team, was bound to come under harsh scrutiny. I personally think that it was unfairly due to their youth and the fact they are women. Sad but true.
They loved the saga of Jacob Goodnight and felt he could be a long-living (sort of) character and wanted a sequel. Hey, they were bound to make a few changes, while sticking to the general formula of the movie, that is, to keep it close to an 80's type slasher film. Just with a lot more gore. You HAVE seen American Mary, right?
Not to say I don't have my problems with this movie. It picks up right where the first movie left off (never mind that it was eight years ago) as the bodies are removed from the dilapidated hotel and brought to the morgue.
I was excited to see that the Soskas had a cameo at the beginning as two bodies that had just been autopsied. Unfortunately, they do not appear elsewhere in the movie. They did bring with them favorites Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle (American Mary). Unfortunately (and my biggest gripe) Katharine Isabelle played a drunken idiot in this movie - Danielle Harris got to be the 'smart' girl.
So coincidentally (of course) the bodies are brought in on the night of morgue attendant Amy's (Danielle Harris) birthday, when all her friends have planned a surprise party. Nothing is more surprising than having a seven foot corpse get up and start picking off your friends one by one...
My problems with it? Let's do those first and get them out of the way. All the bodies should have been in bags yet none were. In fact the other bodies were not even present anywhere in the morgue yet the supervisor said they had received at least seven of the victims.
Tamara (Katharine Isabelle) sits on Jacob's body and taunts him about the fact his mother tortured him as a child. If this movie is taking place just as they're removing bodies from the hotel, NO ONE could know who 'Jacob' was, what his motivation was, or his history. They wouldn't have known the significance of his wounds including the whip marks, the hole in his head, and the condition of his heart.
His mother had referred to him as the Hand of God and the media knew this when there was no way they could possibly have found out so quickly and broadcast it as the bodies were still being brought to the morgue. And they had his mother (with no wounds showing) already put in a drawer? Really?
From some magic room in the morgue Jacob managed to find the signature chain with a hook to use as in the first movie. There was also a freaking sweet looking knife they had to actually have hand made - but his mythology of 'seeing the sin' was gone and he didn't pluck out eyeballs. He did talk a lot more though - in the first movie I believe he had one line - in this he talks quite a bit.
Some complained there were too many 'flashbacks' but you have to remember - a lot of people have probably never watched See No Evil and it HAD been eight years so...
Lets go to the positives. Glenn Jacobs is a truly talented (and very coordinated) guy who can play mean and nasty like few others - not to mention do his own stunts (But then again, who the hell are you gonna get to do 'em for him?)
I usually don't list things like camera work, direction, shots, etc. 'cause, well, those things aren't funny. A lot of movies make 'em really stupid, but not funny.
The Soska sisters, young as they may be, pay a lot of attention to detail (if you ignore the parts they kind of just did away with) and several scenes were particularly well executed. One that stuck with me was when a rack of shelves with glass jars filled with liquid and other icky things was pulled on a guy by Jacob. The detail of the glass shards and flying stuff was neater than any 3D trick and this was not a 3D movie. You could just about see each individual shard as they flew through the air - very cool.
Originality: Embalming Jacob was a freaking sweet (and messy) idea, especially since the liquid was blue (watching blood and then blue gunk fly out of his eye socket was particularly gory) and a great device to keep him going for more movies; the whole cast dies for a change, despite there being the good, the bad, and the stupid; Kane was terrific - he talked this time - maybe a bit much but it puts him apart from the Jasons and the Mike Myers of the genre.
Overall I'm glad I have both DVDs and I can't wait to get hold of The ABC's Of Death 2 to see what letter the Soskas got to make into a gooshy, bloody mess.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.