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STUDIO: Dark Sky
RUNNING TIME: 85 Minutes
• Making-of featurette
• Feature commentary w/ Chuck Parello
• Outtakes, trailers, photos
"It’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial
Killer, but we forgot to include sequel clauses in the contract for
Ned Giuntoli (Child’s Play), Rich
Komenich (Hoosiers), Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy).
Henry ain’t done, yet! A decade after the
original Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer received its
X-rating, Henry Lee Lucas (Giuntoli) returns to slaughter a few more innocents.
Living as a transient, Henry finds himself a job cleaning out port-a-johns, but
stands to make a little extra cash when he discovers his boss and landlord
perform a little fire insurance fraud on the side. Henry joins in the arson,
and returns the taste of illegality by exposing his landlord to his own particular
vice in the form of ruthless executions.
Appropriately enough for a film that tries to
continue the modest legacy of an 80s classic, the presentation of Henry
2 is a throwback to the techniques of that decade. The music is minimal
and cutting, the editing hasn’t quite learned the difference between flat- and
jump-cuts, and the cinematography is bland and grainy.
The script throws even further back. Was there
ever a time when narratives were designed completely devoid of emotion, or
sympathy for either villain or victim? I’m terrible with dates. Let’s call it
35,000 BCE. You know, back before they invented creative writing courses. I
admit it’s an initially interesting pairing, Henry the serial killer and Kai
(Komenich) the serial arsonist, but I’ll admit nothing else. The crimes that
follow from their partnership have about as much resonance as a lead bell.
One of the two bears in the picture would like to give you a hug.
Arguably, the filmmakers intended to make a cold,
clinical narrative to underscore Henry’s brutality. It doesn’t work. The
violence is so disconnected from causality that it loses any hope of engaging
an audience. This kind of "shit happens" narrative works well in
documentaries, where our brains fill in some emotional blanks by saying:
"Oh shit, this really happened." Well, based-on-a-true-story Henry
2 may be, but accurate it ain’t.
There’s also the brief glimpses where the
filmmakers realized they were making an emotionless dud, such as Henry’s brief
infatuation with a mentally-tortured, medicated artist. The subplot gives off
the feeling of backpedaling. "We’ve gone too far toward the flatline;
quick add this in for emotional resonance. And kill every critic who overuses
‘emotional resonance’ in reference to horror flicks."
There’s no horror in Henry 2 unless you, like
me, find ineptitude horrific.
It’s called camouflage.
Dark Sky’s good about adding decent bonuses to
even their minor titles. For Henry 2 they rolled out a brief
featurette, a short reel of outtakes and deleted scenes, the requisite trailers
and photos, and a commentary. The commentary features a Dark Sky executive to
prod director Chuck Parello along when he starts going quiet. Most of the
commentary is weak, with a few interesting biographical notes on the actual Henry
Lucas. Unfortunately, Parello too often makes the mistake of simply describing
what’s happening on screen. I applaud Dark Sky for keeping up the quality of
their discs, but the content of the bonuses here doesn’t add much to the value
of the flick.
out of 10