A couple of weeks ago we reviewed Reel from writer/director Chris Good Goodwin. It’s a creepy found footage character study that ends with an extended sequence of brutal torture. It also spawned a sequel, Reel 2. Can Chris and SlasherVictim666 match their first film, or has the sophomore slump struck again?
Reel 2 picks up almost immediately after the first film, showing us what appears to be Todd’s remains buried in the snow. Then a familiar distorted voice fills us in on SlasherVictim666’s past and his claim to be the greatest director of all time. But he’s confused as to why his film didn’t do better. Maybe if he had a female star…
We see him holding interviews for a leading lady in a rented apartment, but he just can’t seem to find the right woman. He hires an assistant, Jane, or maybe it’s Mila, Sobczak (Stephanie Jaskot, I Am A Killer) who doesn’t realize the killing is for real. Which leads to some incredibly black humour and complications as he starts to fall for her.
I liked the idea of Mr. 666 falling for his assistant, it adds an element of relatability to him. And she is quite cute and charming, so it doesn’t feel contrived. Unfortunately once she realizes what’s going on and bolts he decides to make a movie of his life to lure her back. Not only does this not make sense, but the scenes of the filming are also by far the low point of Reel 2. The film feels overlong at an hour and forty-five minutes and it’s mostly because of these scenes.
There’s also a subplot involving her sister Lena (Octavia Kaliszak), Lena’s boyfriend Ethan (Michael Lake, Ted Bundy Had a Son) and her “friend” Patton (Tylan Essery). As expected it all comes together in a bloody, and outrageous final act.
I admit I was a bit apprehensive going into Reel 2. I knew that it didn’t follow the format of Reel, and I was a bit worried that it would be a Hostel styled torture fest. While there is a lot more violence throughout the film it’s usually shorter segments or montages, so it thankfully never really falls into torture porn territory.
What it does feel like is particularly messed up and nasty slasher, something I have absolutely no problem with. At one point Reel 2 even becomes a parody of the slasher’s Italian cousin the giallo and name drop several of the better-known ones including The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times. Another nod to the genre I caught was the microphone boom with the knife on it, a nod to proto-slasher Peeping Tom’s killer tripod leg.
With the added violence and gore in Reel 2 the effects become even more important than in the original. And once again they’re rather disgustingly well done. Carlos Henriques, whose credits include Death Race, The Final Ride and The Oak Room deserves credit for performing miracles, including a face peel, on a budget.
While I wasn’t quite as big a fan of Reel 2 as I was the original it’s still an above-average film. Unfortunately, when it does go wrong it does so in a way that really hurts the film overall. Thankfully it gets back on track in time to save itself with a killer final act.
Unlike the first film, Reel 2, or Reel 2 – The Bride of Slashervictim666 as the end titles call it, is only available on demand. You can get more information at the franchise’s website. You can also see some episodes of SlasherVictim666’s web series and information on the progress of Reel 3. And in case you haven’t seen the first film, it’s on there as a free watch.