American Psycho 2 may have a “2” at the end of its title, but it doesn’t feel like a sequel, nor does it have much connection, to the original American Psycho. Its affiliation is superficial at best; the films take place in the same universe, so we are told, but any themes of the original film are gone, just like any and all of its characters. There isn’t even a Patrick Bateman, save for one scene explaining to us why he isn’t there.
This time, the film chooses to focus on college student Rachael Newman (Mila Kunis). She was in the same room with Bateman once, and after escaping from there, has decided to dedicate her life to going after serial killers. To do this, she needs to get into Quantico, an FBI training facility. Her primary goal at college is to become a teacher’s assistant for Professor Starkman (William Shatner), a former FBI agent. A large percentage of his teacher’s assistants get into Quantico, so becoming one is of utmost importance.
But of course, there are obstacles for her to overcome. In voice-over narration, she identifies three other students who have the potential to get the position instead of her. There’s the rich kid, the kid who is having a fling with the teacher, and the kid who’s equally as intelligent as Rachel is. Or at least, he believes that, and so does she, and that’s all that matters.
He’s not as smart though, as we soon find out. Rachel will do anything to get this position. If you haven’t guessed by now, “anything” essentially means that she will become what she soon wants to hunt down: A serial killer. This is what happens for most of the film; Rachel hunts down people and kills them, with the murders never being shown on-screen, likely due to the low-budget nature of the film.
There are two things that will determine whether or not you will enjoy American Psycho 2. The first is how big of a fan you were of American Psycho. If you liked it, understood it, “got” whatever message it was trying to give off, then you should stay far away from this film. Or at least don’t even think about calling it canon, because it will anger you greatly.
The second determining factor is how big of a fan you are of slasher flicks. This is a double-edged sword though; if you watch a lot of them because you enjoy them greatly, it’s possible that American Psycho 2 will bore you. However, if you really enjoy them, you might enjoy this film anyway. It’s difficult in this case to make a call whether or not you should give it a shot, although if pressed I would say you might want to skip it.
I say this because American Psycho 2 plays everything incredibly safe, and doesn’t do much, if anything, to differentiate itself from other slasher films. If you want to see people killed in violent and creative ways, you will be disappointed, as the film cuts away before you actually witness any death.
And yes, before you ask, the characters are all shallow and more or less meaningless. (Although this is adhering to typical slasher conventions as well, isn’t it?) Anyone that dies in this film will make you question if you were supposed to care. Some of these characters only appear in a single scene before they kick the bucket, with at least one of them only getting to utter a single word before getting a knife jammed in his throat.
Now, in a lot of these types of films, the serial killer actually looks capable of performing a half-dozen murders in a tight 90-minute timeframe. Mila Kunis does not give off that appearance. Nor does she seem like she’d be able to hide all of the bodies, drag them into dumpsters and across parking lots. Or overpower a relatively strong male and kill him with a condom. No, I am not making that up. Sorry for spoiling that, but it’s just something that is so ridiculous that you should see it.
But there is one clear distinction I must make in regards to American Psycho and its sequel: I wasn’t bored during the latter. It may lack any depth, and it may be more or less the same type of serial killer film you’ve seen before, but at least it kept me interested. It was also somewhat funny, with the pun-laden dialogue often making me chuckle. Rachel Newman is at least an interesting protagonist, allowing us inside her head for most of the film, allowing us to see her motivations behind her murders. It also makes us question her actual psyche, and make us wonder if she’s actually of sound mind. At least, it left me with those types of thoughts.
One thing that I didn’t like was a final plot twist near the end of the film. It added absolutely nothing to the film, and made the plot seem overly convoluted. There is one clue regarding this twist, and it is only shown moments before the twist occurs. There was no reason to include it, except to extend the film’s runtime another few minutes. I wish it hadn’t happened, as the film without it would have been slightly more intriguing.
I can’t recommend American Psycho 2, but if you disliked the first American Psycho, you might actually end up having more fun with its sequel. While the connection between the two is superficial at best, and there isn’t a lot of depth, it’s a competent slasher film with an interesting enough protagonist. And that’s sufficient for me. At least I stayed awake the entire time, which is something I struggled with during American Psycho.