Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Son of Darkness: To Die For 2 – review


Director: David Price

Release Date: 1991

Contains spoilers

You might recall the review I wrote for To Die For, which was an average movie. I had actually seen this sequel before I watched that and, despite starring Michael Praed, I had found myself less than impressed. When this came on Zone Horror recently I re-watched it both to review and with a hope that it might redeem itself as I would know where it was coming from.

Michael Praed as MaxThe film is concerned with Dracula, though this time he calls himself Max Schreck (I will refer to the character by this name to avoid confusion) and the actor playing him has changed to Praed. Kate, from the first film, is nowhere to be seen and we have moved to a country town rather than LA. At the end of the first film Max died, so how has he come back? Well part way through the film we discover that his ashes were being looked at by a lab assistant, who cut her hand and bled on them. An explosion ripped through the lab and the remains were gone. Ok, I can live with that - though it would have been better to see it than hear about it verbally.

Scott Jacboy as MartinThere are other characters who return and they are all reprised by the original actors. Martin (Scott Jacboy) returns and I can live with that also, he is human, he recognises a pendent given to Kate on the news and he goes a-hunting for his nemesis. Unfortunately Martin is left as somewhat as a cipher, there to explain story threads from the last film and not really utilised. Also, the background is patchy and so, unless you have seen film number one, you will be in some doubt as to the characters and back stories of these returned people.

Remy O’Neill as JaneNow, three vampires return also and this is odd as they all died and no explanation as to how they returned is given. We have Jane (Remy O’Neill) who seems content to talk to Martin and let him know what is going on. Stranger still Martin seems content to sit and have a drink with her. For her sins she ends up tied to a tree so that the rising sun can get her. This is actually a small glimmer of goodness in the film.

Steve Bond as TomThen we have Tom (Steve Bond). In the first film he was Max’s enemy, in this we discover they are brothers. Max killed Tom so why he has been allowed to return is beyond me. He ends up attacking Max again, seems to be a pattern there, and is a general bad boy who won’t listen to the no hunting rule Max imposes.

Amanda Wyss as CeliaLastly we have Celia (Amanda Wyss). She was partially beheaded and staked by Martin in the last film but, before that happened she was the highlight of the film, a banshee like harridan that would take no messing and was insanely jealous of anyone getting close to Max. In this, despite having graduated to a bad girl in leather jacket, she seems subdued and underused.

breaking the no hunting ruleSo why are they there, and why no hunting? Well it seems that Kate had a baby, Tyler (Devin Sims), and the child was adopted by Nina (Rosalind Allen). Nina's husband has now left her and she runs a guest house with her brother Danny (Jay Underwood). The baby always seems ill and so she goes to Max, who is now a doctor in a local hospital. He, of course, knows what the problem is – the baby is his and needs blood.

Max and NinaMax woos Nina as Danny falls under Cellia’s spell but Tom, hateful of Max and his rules, wants to take Nina and the baby out, as well as Max if he can. That’s it in a nutshell.

Praed plays the role in a much too understated way. attacking as a wolfThis is Dracula gone soft, Dracula gone romantic with flouncey shirts. When he gets angry you just don’t buy it – which is a shame as I really loved Praed’s work in Robin of Sherwood. There is no real reason for the no kill rule he imposes, except to not draw attention I guess. He also breaks that rule himself when he turns into a wolf and has a feast.

one glimpse of fangsThat is all well and good but then he starts crying into the night because he did it – soft git. For those hoping to see a fanged Praed, you really don’t see much – this screenshot is about the only two seconds of fangs you get.

There is quite a brutal scene when Celia and Tom take out a husband and wife that works quite well but mostly there isn’t much tension or gore. We see a beheading by chainsaw and the words I typed have more gore and effectiveness than the scene itself. Tom hunts Nina around a marina and the entire scene was tensionless and, to be frank, a bit of a yawn fest.

true evilI will spoil the ending and say that Max dies as it led to an interesting moment. It seems his furniture must have been constructed mystically as it all starts vanishing as he dies. We also get a glimpse of true evil, in the form of Tyler, at the very end. Look at the screenshot, no… not the red eyes… the trail of snot… truly evil.

All in all a pointless sequel that is boring and owes too much to the previous film with not enough back-story offered to those who watch this installment without seeing the first. 1.5 out of 10. Many thanks to Nick whose Sky+ I shanghaied due to a clash with the show Dexter.

The imdb page is here.

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