Review: ANNA 2 (2019)
Anna 2 is not a sequel to Luc Besson’s action film from earlier this year. It is, however, a followup to Michael and Gerald Crum’s 2017 film Anna. That film centered around an evil doll, which does not appear in this film. Two of the human characters wanna be YouTube stars Jacob (Justin Duncan, Cherokee Creek, Ghost Note) and Shawn (Gerald Crum, Lake Fear, Dead Don’t Die in Dallas). It’s a somewhat tenuous connection but it is a legit one.
Having found themselves cast out of their ghost hunting group after the events of the first film Shawn and Jacob are trying to restart under a new name. But it’s not going very well. However, circumstances have them teaming up with their old group Spooky Links to investigate Anya (Kenzie Pallone) who is suspected of faking a case of possession. She isn’t.
This all leads our two leads plus Lace (Mercedes Peterson), Rob (John Charles Dickson, The Great Altar) and Alec (Daniel Frank) to an abandoned amusement park that happens to contain a portal to Hell. Things very quickly become weird, dangerous and not a little bit confusing.
That’s probably because Anna 2 mixes the feel of the Evil Dead and Silent Hill with the Italian horror films of the 80s. The plot’s narrative frequently seems to get lost among the bizarre action and imagery. It also frequently throws what we would consider reality out the window.
For example, Anna 2 is set in an amusement park. We even see stock footage of one. But what we get for sets is open ground and a few old shacks. It’s not even an old midway, it looks more like an abandoned barnyard. Or the demons fondness for using Saran Wrap as a torture device. The scenes are very effective, but can you see Lucifer making a run to Target for more? Or do they order it in bulk from Sysco?
For a film shot on what IMDB says was a $50,000 budget, Anna 2 has some excellent practical effects. The film relies heavily on odd lighting, fog and smoke for atmosphere and they also help to hide any issues the creature suits and makeup may have had. The combination is quite effective.
If you can deal with the lack of narrative coherence, Anna 2 is an energetic slice of micro-budget film making. It’s the kind of film that reminds you that a low budget doesn’t mean creatures you never see and all the violence happening off-screen.