Tag Archives: sequel city

Schrei Zwei

dead island school's out ii 2001

DEAD ISLAND: SCHOOL’S OUT II

2.5 Stars  2001/95m

Director: Robert Sigl / Writer: Kai Meyer / Cast: Katharina Wackernagel, Barnaby Metschurat, Anna Kanis, Luise Bähr, Alexandra Finder, Annette Kreft, Karin Giegerich, Nezâ Selbuz, Susanne Berckhemer, Friederike Kempter.

Body Count: 7


A TV sequel to 1999’s German TV Euro-Scream sleeper, School’s Out, where a scissor-wielding harlequin hunted a string of school friends.

In the follow up, heroine Nina (Wackernagel) is now residing at a clinic on a small island, once home to a convent until the nuns up and vanished one day. Something about a murdered baby. Sacrifice. Jealousy. Revenge. The subtitles were live translated from the German audio so it’s not clear. At one point somebody apparently exclaimed: “The cake itself carried away with it!”

In the now, Nina’s boyfriend Niklas sneaks on to the island alongside a visiting doctor, there to oversee and report back on the questionable methods of therapy employed by the wheelchair-bound professor who runs the place.

Before long, someone in a veiled nun’s habit starts killing everyone: A girl is chased into a bog and sinks, a couple of others meet the business end of a harpoon, and most others die off camera. Tame stuff, but with some nice aesthetic flourishes here and there and a fun locus with the abandoned fortress on the edge of a cliff.

I wasn’t particularly clear on the killer’s motive, but the attempts to hide their identity are also curiously absent. Expect a sort of Murder She Wrote: Teen Jessica’s Adventures and you’ll picture it. About as good as the first one. Take that as you will.

Gorestunbury

wreck season 2 2024

WRECK – SERIES 2

4 Stars  2024/274m

Directors: Louis Paxton, Chris Baugh / Writer: Ryan J. Brown, Ellie Kenderick / Cast: Oscar Kennedy, Thaddea Graham, Jodie Tyack, Harriet Webb, Peter Claffey, Miya Ocego, Alice Nokes, Amber Grappy, Warren James Dunning,  Niamh Walsh, Greg Austin, Joseph Arkley, Alan Dale, Orlando Newman, Anthony Rickman, Buck Braithwaite, Sam Buttery, Carolyn Bracken, Shaheen Jafargholi.

Body Count: 25

Laughter Lines: “She’s the worst person I’ve ever met – and I went to stage school.”


Gonna be honest, I didn’t expect there to be a second series of Wreck, the BBCs LGBTQ-peppered horror comedy series which, initially, skewered cruise ship culture for laughs and scares. For all its in-jokes (both horror and homo), nobody else seemed to be talking about it. The good news is that it must’ve done something right, because here we are again – and it’s even better than before.

After escaping The Sacramentum, pals-by-trauma Jamie and Vivian find exposing parent company Velorum for their Elite Hunting-esque set up impossible. The company either pays off potential witnesses or disposes of them – a fate which quickly befalls a number of the surviving crew members.

wreck series 2 2024 main cast

Meanwhile, in the beautiful woods of Slovenia (been there, it is that lush), a Velorum-backed hippie festival, Exodum, is about to launch. Headed up by the company owner’s daughter Devon (see Laughter Lines), it seems nothing has changed and bright young things who came to work there find themselves put aside for the killing pleasures of rich clientele.

Jamie and Vivian, along with the ever-loveable Cormac and Rosie, Lauren, and a reluctant Sophia (until her friends are murdered) meet up with inside-man Ben to try and save themselves from a pair of duck-masked killers, one of whom possesses Jason-like invulnerability. Also in attendance? Jamie’s ‘dead’ sister, Pippa, who makes it clear she and something of a resistance network are already on the case and intend to stick it to Velorum, with a little help from an unlikely source.

wreck series 2 2024

I watched Wreck S2 in the same week that I was involved in a conversation that mourned Scream‘s recent reluctance to raise the stakes and kill its darlings, something that is not a problem for Ryan J. Brown; characters we liked and even loved are not spared the business end of a blade this time, which adds an emotional weight to proceedings, rather than just bussing in a new serving of clueless schmucks as knife fodder. Look out for the scene with the heavy oak door and the pitchfork – sad, brutal, daring. It pays off.

Beyond the sad though, Wreck wrecks me with its humour. Sharp, cutting dialogue flies off the screen at locomotive pace (“despite the sensible shoes, I’m not a fur trader”) and the light disdain for festival culture (“this is some white people shiiit”) is endlessly amusing. The reassembly of the quirky, diverse group of underdog heroes is where it scores most impressively though, drawing out their likeable all-for-one qualities, albeit mocked by the bad guys, and keeping us rooting for them right to the end.

wreck series 2

Season 3 don’t wait too long!

Blurb-of-interest: Alan Dale was in Houseboat Horror.

2! 4! 6! 8! Who do we decapitate?

bring it on cheer or die 2022

BRING IT ON: CHEER OR DIE

1.5 Stars  2022/91m

Director: Karen Lam / Writers: Alyson Fouse, Rebekah McEndry, Dana Schwartz / Cast: Kerri Medders, Alexandra Beaton, Missi Pyle, Alten Wilmot, Sierra Holder, Rudy Borgonia, Marlowe Zimmerman, Makena Zimmerman, Sam Robert Muik, Madison MacIsaac, Tiera Skovbye, Erika Prevost, Samuel Braun.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “What are you – telepathetic?”


Quasi-spoilers. That the 20-years-earlier past trauma in Cheer or Die occurs in 2002, after the first of seven Bring It On movies that have been released – all straight to DVD with the exception of the pretty damn awesome original – makes me feel old with a capital “say it again, love?”. Rihanna’s in one of them, Hayden Panettiere, someone from Buffy… They each pit a down-on-their-luck cheer squad against some evil rival team and the big finale usually plays out at a competition.

In the seventh instalment, however, the Diablo high school squad have been banned from doing anything worth watching by their tyrannical principal (Pyle) since a death at just such a competition in 2002. Irked by their lack of success, the team decide to practice off site at the abandoned Elk Moore High.

bring it on cheer or die 2022

When one of the co-captains eats a pom-pom, the other, Abby, has to lead the team. But someone dressed in the mascot’s uniform is choking, skewering and axing members of the squad. Who could it be? I pegged it from the moment the character appeared, so don’t expect a surprise. Or threat. Even with two killers working together, they must be the least imposing wackos in horror history.

With PG-13 violence, an encompassing cheapness (one girl is partially drowned in a toilet, but her hair is bone dry in the next shot), and lacking even the trademark cheer-themed toxic put-downs of its brethren, there’s sadly nothing to do a back handspring with round-off over here.

Start spreadin’ the news

scream vi 2023

SCREAM VI

4 Stars  2023/18/122m

“New York. New rules.”

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett / Writers: James Vanderbilt & Guy Busick / Cast: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Courteney Cox, Dermot Mulroney, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Hayden Panettiere, Liana Liberato, Jack Champion, Josh Segarra, Devyn Nekoda, Samara Weaving, Henry Czerny, Tony Revolori, Skeet Ulrich, Roger L. Jackson (voice).

Body Count: 13


It’s 1997 all over again! What felt like a chance-it-and-see resurrection of Ghostface to hack and hew anew in 2022’s requel clearly paid off as the sixth instalment went rapidly into production for a release just 14 months after its predecessor, almost as rapid a turnaround as the films of yore.

In keeping with that speed, Scream VI takes the not unfamiliar step of moving things to a collegiate setting, rather than keep us in Woodsboro, just as Scream 2 hauled ass to a leafy campus, replete with youthful flesh to be slashed and torn. This time though, we’re going to college in New York City. It’s goodbye manicured lawns and imposing academic buildings, hello apartment living, city alleys, and the subway. It’s also goodbye Sidney, as Neve Campbell declined the offer made to her for returning.

scream vi 2023 samara weaving

Scream may be a franchise that prides itself on observing and bucking genre tropes, but is also married to many of its own making, and so starts with the familiar opening kill. We run into Samara Weaving’s film professor, waiting for her date to show up at a swanky NY restaurant. Messages through the Flirtr app detail a delay, so he calls her instead… A brief exchange over meta-slashers (“not that one”, when he asks her what her favourite scary movie is) and she is lured outside to help her date navigate when he allegedly gets lost down a between-buildings alley and encounters something scary.

It’s a ruse, obvs, and in true old-school style, the audience begs her not to go into that alley alone. The expected outcome ensues, but then something altogether unexpected happens, leading into The Opening Scene – Part 2, a little peek at Jason Takes Manhattan, and the title slashing its way onto the screen.

scream vi 2023 melissa barrera jenna ortega

We’re soon reacquainted with our youthful survivors from before, the Core Four: Sam, Tara, Chad, and Mindy – all either attending or living close enough to Blackmore University. The latter three are in deep with their college experience, while Sam struggles to come to terms with the events of last year, as a series of online conspiracy theories posit that she was the killer and framed poor, sad Richie for it all. In a grim reflection of the age we live in, he is sainted, she vilified.

When news of a double-slaying and uncovered Ghostface paraphernalia reaches them, Sam immediately wants to get far away from New York, but is convinced to stay by her roommate Quinn’s detective father (Mulroney), who informs Sam that her ID was found at the scene. Mindy gets the chance to give a brief meta-overview of the situation before the sisters are attacked again, this time in a bodega, where Ghostface makes quick work of the storekeeper and a couple of patrons.

scream vi 2023 ghostface

The cops discover DNA belonging to earlier killers on the mask, which happens again at ensuing crime scenes, each working backwards down the line of Amber/Richie, Jill/Charlie, Roman, etc. towards the inevitable earliest purveyor of the mask – Daddy Dearest, Billy Loomis.

Enter Gale Weathers, who broke her promise not to write a book about the latest Woodsboro murders, and thus has fallen out with the sisters Carpenter – so gets socked in the mouth again. Also enter Kirby Reed, last seen squirming from her stab wounds in Scream 4, now an FBI agent with a vested interest in the case, and allowing for some cute comedic relief when sharing the scene with Gale. The latter succeeds in finding a shrine to all things Ghostface, kept in a deserted New York movie theatre, decked out with clothes worn by victims and killers (Tatum’s green sweater and Mrs Loomis’ white pantsuit vie for centre stage), weapons, Jennifer Jolie’s burnt fax machine, the TV used to squash Stu’s head…

scream vi 2023 shrine

Assaults against the Core Four continue, with a red hot tense scene involving a ladder between high rise apartments that could’ve come out of The Poseidon Adventure, and a suspense-dripping attack at Gale’s penthouse flat, in which she asks if the killer minds being put on hold, up there with Sidney’s “I’m bored” hang-up from the 2022 movie.

Eventually, of course, all things lead back to the shrine, where a plan to entrap the killer is thwarted by the killer’s foresight, and then it’s the unmasking ritual, exposition, and turning the tables. While the motive is more believable than that of the previous film, it leans into campy theatrics here and there, once again showing that the assailants seem always to underestimate their opponents at the crucial moment and their big schemes flop.

scream vi 2023 courteney cox

As with any Scream movie, there’s much to like here, from the high-end production to neat visuals, in-jokes atop in-jokes, and way more action than expected – by the end I was exhausted by how paced it all was. Working against it, however, is a lack of sharp, witty dialogue, and a shortage of new characters who mean anything – given the high body count, only one character with anything to really do is murdered, the rest are made up of bystanders, people killed entirely off-screen, or have so few scenes beforehand, that we barely know their name let alone are provoked by their loss.

This in hand with upped levels of violence gives the film an edge, cold front to it. In Scream 2, Kevin Williamson killed his darlings by offing Randy, but here, everybody we saw previously is safe, despite several of them being stabbed or shot – in fact one person is virtually gutted, but returns a little later with ability to run. The high-stakes from before where nobody seemed safe aren’t welcome this time around. That said, I didn’t want any of them to die, as it’s a likeable cast roster, but with so much packed in, those who do meet the sharp end of the knife are barely missed, and it’s hard to consider how Sidney would’ve fit in if they’d succeeded in securing her.

scream vi 2023 subway

This is a very high-BPM banger of a movie, and I needed to watch it a second time to fully get my head around it. Fortunately, it was better with a sophomore viewing, not least because the friend I went with jumped and jolted and suspected everybody before proclaiming “I told you!” to the entire cinema when the unmasking happened.

Blurb-of-interest: Liana Liberato was in Totally Killer.

Abort

jeepers creepers reborn 2022

JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN

“Death gives it life.”

1.5 Stars  2022/88m

Director: Timo Vuorensola / Writers: Jake Seal & Sean-Michael Argo / Cast: Sydney Craven, Imran Adams, Peter Brooke, Jarreau Benjamin, Ocean Navarro, Matt Barkley, Dee Wallace, Gary Graham.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “How do you like those peepers, bitch?”


There’s a story to be told with this character – yet nobody seems to want to tell it.

A million miles along an empty road from the theatrical releases of the original and its first sequel in 2001 and 03, arguably Victor Salva’s plot to prevent his idea being turned into a series of diminishing returns by factoring in a 23-year gap between sprees hugely backfired – as the series has become just that.

After the infuriatingly pointless third entry ended with a flicker of hope it would garner enough interest for the next film to bring back Gina Philips as Trish, the rights to the franchise seem to have been pried from Salva’s grip (likely in light of his dodgy past), its budget slashed to ribbons, and consigned to circle the drain without a required shot of investment to be able to give fans of the originals what they want – answers.

jeepers creepers reborn 2022 dee wallace

Reborn begins much like the first film, with an old couple (Wallace and Graham) idling along a backroad who are briefly tormented by a creepy truck (albeit a different one) with the BeatingU plate, and soon after see the occupant tossing what looks to be a body wrapped in a sheet down a pipe. He gives chase, they evade and go back to the pipe… This then zooms out to be a dramatisation online, watched by Creeper-believer Chase, who, with his girlfriend Laine, is driving into Jackson, Louisiana, for a horror festival themed around the local legend. Curiously, the voiceover says the couple were never seen again – so how did the story of what happened to them even get out?

When they stop off at a curiosity outlet, the psychic woman who runs it senses Laine is newly pregnant and conspires to have the pair ‘win’ an escape room experience at an old plantation house where cloaked goths worship the Creeper. He, meanwhile, crawls from hibernation status and begins collecting new body parts from various schmucks who wander into the woods until he’s strong enough to hunt the group who get locked in the house with him.

jeepers creepers reborn 2022 imran adams peter brooke

The real villain here is budget, in that there clearly isn’t one with enough funds to show us the Creeper fly, or do much beyond walk around the set (the film was largely shot on soundstages in the UK) stalking victims like any other slasher maniac. The van is wheeled out for a couple of scenes, but barely registers come the end, by which point the overdose of kids-TV-show quality green screen has all but consumed any goodwill the film might’ve built up early on.

Salva’s past crimes – which notably pre-date even the first film – may have been his undoing, but at least the guy had a vision. In this wasteful state, it’s probably best to abort the series entirely.

Blurbs-of-interest: Peter Brooke was in Wrong Turn 5; Dee Wallace can also be seen in Halloween (2007), Dead End RoadScarPopcorn, and Red Christmas.

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