In 2006, WWE was starting to get into making feature films starring its performers. The first one — at least, that truly felt like a WWE production — was See No Evil, an R-rated slasher movie starring Glenn “Kane” Jacobs … as the villain. If you remember that movie, you’ve got a better memory than I. Kane played Jacob Goodnight, someone who was abused as a child and now kills people and sometimes rips their eyes out, because childhood abuse is no laughing matter. Kane made for a scary villain but the film sucked because it wasn’t the least bit surprising or inventive.
Now, eight years later, Kane is back in See No Evil 2, which takes place the night after the original murders, which have been retconned to taking place in 2014. I don’t recall if the original film mentioned a year, but even if it did, who would remember, and who would go back to check even if they didn’t remember? This time, we’ve set the film in a morgue. Jacob Goodnight is dead, we think, and arrives at the morgue late that night. He’s examined by two people working the graveyard shift, Amy (Danielle Harris) and Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen).
It’s Amy’s birthday, but since all the murder victims are arriving at the morgue, she decides to postpone her plans with her friends to deal with them all. The surprise of surprises happens when her friends surprise her by visiting her at the morgue. The friends: Tamara (Katharine Isabelle), Kayla (Chelan Simmons), Carter (Lee Majdoub), and her brother, Will (Greyston Holt). They all party. But, eventually, they realize that Jacob Goodnight isn’t dead. They’re now trapped in the morgue with a serial killer.
From here, most of See No Evil 2 is what you’d expect out of a slasher movie. Goodnight walks around the morgue, the other characters run away from him, and slowly but surely they find themselves with a knife in the chest, or a couple of eyeballs missing, or what have you. They’re picked off one by one, and it’s basically a race to see whether or not the “main” characters — the ones you know will make it to the end — will escape or if Goodnight will kill them.
Except there are surprises. There are subverted tropes. You honestly won’t know who will make it to the end, if anyone does. After the first surprising death, I was even more intrigued by the film, because I had no idea who would survive. That’s part of the fun that’s often lost with these kinds of movies. You can so frequently predict who will see the last few frames; when that doesn’t happen, you’re automatically going to have more fun.
The morgue makes for a suitably creepy environment in which to set this movie. Morgues are inherently scary, as they have a whole bunch of dead people, and dead people are scary — unless you’re, like, into that sort of thing — so putting a serial killer here is also scary. The film has also been shot wonderfully. You can make death gruesome and bloody, or you can make it beautiful … and bloody. The directors, the Soska sisters, chose the latter. They can make blood splatter look gorgeous, and they do that here.
Kane is an imposing presence both in the ring and in movies. He’s large and can be made to look really frightening. He is a perfect slasher movie villain. He even gets to do a little more acting this time around, getting actual dialogue and a couple of reflective and contemplative shots. The other actors are here to run around, look panicked, and eventually die. They fulfill that job nicely. And while there aren’t any huge names, the biggest names in the film won’t necessarily be the ones who survive the longest, which is great and something I really want to emphasize.
See No Evil 2 is a definite improvement on its predecessor, although one has to wonder exactly how hard that would have been. Throw in some surprises, add a little bit of creativity, and make sure you can see everything for the film’s duration, and you’ve already done better. Kane once again makes for a good slasher villain, and the film’s surprises and surprising beauty makes it a slasher film worth your time — even if it is still just watching empty characters being killed one by one.