Devil in the Flesh 2

While I have no proof of this, I’d be willing to guess that Devil in the Flesh 2 originated as a Devil in the Flesh copycat that was eventually re-written — or re-shot, potentially, I suppose — in order to kind of work as a Devil in the Flesh sequel instead. I say this for a couple of reasons. Apart from the opening couple of scenes, the lead character “adopts” a new name. The plot is almost identical to the original. They could have filmed this whole movie, been told to re-work it into a sequel, and only had to re-shoot about four scenes. That’s how little it feels like a true sequel.

At the beginning of the film, Debbie Strong (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe takes over for Rose McGowan) — I would have sworn her name was Debbie Strand in the last film, but why would the filmmakers pay attention to their “sequel”? — breaks out of the mental asylum that she’s been held in for some amount of time. She hitches a ride with a girl, who eventually winds up dead, and decides to steal her identity and go to college. Why? Because professors are a step up from high school teachers, and if you remember the original, you’ll note that this character — assuming it is the same character; I’m not sure — has a thing for teaching authority figures. Perhaps a prequel could have a young Debbie String (see what I did there?) falling in love with a tutor.

From there, we basically just re-do the first film with only a couple of minor changes. Debbie’s new BFF, Laney (Jeanette Brox), plays a larger role than Debbie’s friend in the first film. Debbie also doesn’t actually kill anyone until relatively late in the picture. There are deaths, to be sure, but they’re more accidental than intentional. Someone falls out a window after a game of tug-of-war, while another falls on a spiky object and dies that way. Debbie isn’t actually the direct, purposeful, cause of these early deaths. I don’t know if that really matters in the grand scheme of things, but I think it is, at the very least, an interesting distinction between the two films.

The overall plot is essentially the same. Debbie falls for an English professor (Jsu Garcia) even though he has a blonde girlfriend, and she sets out to do basically anything that she can in order to be with him. Specific scenes feel as if they’ve been lifted from the original. I had a sense of déjà vu while watching Devil in the Flesh 2. Then again, you probably have to have something if you’re hoping to gain any sort of entertainment from a movie called Devil in the Flesh 2, especially given how the first one wasn’t even particularly good.

If you were one of the few people to see the first Devil in the Flesh, it might be hard to imagine watching an even worse version of it, but that’s exactly what this sequel is. Remember how predictable and boring the first film was? Now, picture how you felt while watching it and imagine watching it again with a less-accomplished leading actor and somehow even less creativity. That’s what you get with this film, which is more or less a complete waste of everyone’s time.

It even does that thing where the only reason it’s any fun at all is watching Debbie go completely insane, but then pits us against her in the finale. It wants us to hope that the authorities/”good” characters take her down, even though we’ve been watching her and — the film hopes — enjoying her insanity for the better part of 90 minutes. The first film did this, too, but it might even be worse this time around, saved only because it’s far too hard to begin to enjoy watching Debbie in the first place that I rooted for her death/capture just so the movie could end.

I suppose you have to wonder what you’re hoping to get out of a direct-to-video sequel to a direct-to-video movie that may or may not be based on a little-known film of the same title based on a book that you probably haven’t read. You can’t be expecting much, but even sleazy entertainment is too much for Devil in the Flesh 2. It’s just all bad, all the time.

At least the original had a too-good-for-this-trash performance by Rose McGowan. She’s been replaced here — I’m still sticking to my theory that the filmmakers thought they were making an “original” film before being told to make it work as a sequel — by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe who doesn’t have the same kind of talent. It’s not that O’Keefe is bad, but … the whole project is bad, actors included. She’s campy and over-the-top and occasionally fun, but she can’t even come close to saving this movie. I doubt anyone could, but it’s disappointing to see a re-cast like this one, especially when the only true positive of the first film was its lead.

Be honest: Were you going to watch Devil in the Flesh 2 even if I said it was okay? Probably not. It should please you, then, to hear that it’s absolute garbage from start to finish and there’s absolutely no reason for you to consider seeking it out. Even if you watched the first film, the sequel is basically just a re-do but somehow much worse. I imagine the film’s production story is far more interesting than the finished product wound up being.

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