Back in 1973 a film called The Forgotten was shot and released in Texas. And it would have lived up to its title if American International Pictures hadn’t been looking for films for its new offshoot Hallmark Releasing. A subsidiary intended for rougher, more exploitation oriented films than they wanted to put the AIP name on.
Retitled Don’t Look in the Basement this crude, bloody and effective tale of inmates taking over the asylum became a huge success. It played the drive-ins well into the 80s. Now, over forty years later, Tony Brownrigg, son of S.F. Brownrigg the director of the original has delivered Don’t Look In The Basement 2. Was it worth the wait?
The film begins with two new arrivals at Greenpark. William Mathews (Andrew Sensenig, Ayla, Diverge) a doctor recruited from New York. And Sam, (Willie Minor, Riverbend, Caged Fear) a patient with a past. He was the only survivor of the massacre of patients and staff at Stephens Sanitarium. That was the story told in the original film. It’s not giving away anything the film’s own publicity doesn’t to say that Greenpark is his old home with a new name. And his arrival stirs up the unhappy spirits of those who died.
Unlike the original which was a tale of madness and carnage, Don’t Look In The Basement 2 goes into supernatural territory. There is madness and carnage to be sure, but there are also ghosts and possession involved. And it works to keep things similar enough to the original that it’s not a sequel in name only. But it is different enough it’s not just a retread either. Indeed there are some very quietly creepy moments as the staff and patients take on the personalities of the dead and start acting as they would have. It’s quietly creepy when they do it in non-violent ways, once all hell starts breaking loose it’s chilling.
One thing that immensely helps Don’t Look In The Basement 2 is that it was shot in the same building as the first film. This gives it a strong connection to the look and atmosphere of the original as well.
There’s also a returning cast member, Camilla Carr, (Keep My Grave Open), although in a different role. The rest of the cast includes familiar faces such as Frank Mosley, (Upstream Color) and exploitation veterans Jim O’Rear (I Dared You! Truth or Dare Part 5) and Scott Tepperman (The Krokodil Chronicles).
It should be noted as well that while Don’t Look In The Basement 2 has it’s
Don’t Look in the Basement 2 manages to avoid falling into the trap of being a weak rehash or cash in.
Don’t Look in the Basement 2 is available on multiple streaming platforms and Blu Ray/DVD. Check its Facebook page for updates.