reel | reel 2 | sequel | chris good goodwin | stephanie jaskot | octavia kaliszak | michael lake | found footage | found-footage | canada | tylan essery | peter hodgins | matt sawyers | jacob brien | adrian pavone | john cianciolo | meta | krista komar | dylan lloyd
Film: Reel 2
Director: Chris Good Goodwin
Writer: Chris Good Goodwin
Starring: Stephanie Jaskot, Octavia Kaliszak and Michael Lake
I actually watched this movie back to back with the original one. The writer/director Chris Good Goodwin reached out to me via social media to check it out and I was intrigued by the premise of both these movies. This one also worked as I could watch it as part of my Journey Through the Aughts segment on my podcast as a 2020 release as well. The synopsis for this sequel is after being convinced his first movie Reel wasn’t a blockbuster success because it starred a man, director SlasherVictim666 makes it his personal mission to find the perfect woman to star in its sequel.
This one really picks up where the first one left off. We get to see what happened to the previous star, Todd Smith and SV666 gets those up to speed who didn’t see the original film about his childhood. His voice is altered, his real name is John and claims, much like Todd, to be the greatest director of all time. Going along with this as well are montage of violent images and paintings to get us to speed.
For this movie, it is taking on a much more meta angle than the original, which works for me. It is again told with a prologue, chapters and an epilogue to our story. The prologue is SV666 trying to figure out what he isn’t more famous. As an artist who has put himself out there for critique, I love what they’re doing here. We get to hear a podcast talking about his first film as well as a montage of reviews, both good and bad. Goodwin has his finger on the pulse of the film and horror industry, as we get a woman who states that movies need to have a female lead. This becomes the focus of SV666, to find a woman lead.
This gives it a creepier vibe as SV666 ‘auditions’ a bunch of women at 666 Ontario St, the apartment he has rented. This movie gave an interesting vibe of the documentary from Netflix Don’t F*ck with Cats, even more so that the previous film references it. There’s another montage of all of the women he kills, but just can’t seem to find the right one. Things all changed when he gets an assistant, Jane (Stephanie Jaskot). She is going to film school and wants to make a movie. SV666 falls for her and needs her help. Early on, she thinks that everything they’re doing is just a movie.
Things get a bit confusing here for a stretch. Lena Sobczak (Octavia Kaliszak) is the sister of Jane whose real name is Mila. She is also living in Toronto and loaned her sister money to go to school. Lena is also nosey and is spying on what her sister is doing. She is dating Ethan Turner (Michael Lake) who she isn’t very nice to. There’s seems to be something more going on with her friend who is always over, Patton Rice (Tylan Essery).
Lena confronts her sister a couple of times and it all takes a turn as I said, when Jane realizes that the things SV666 are doing, are actually happening. SV666 also sees an opportunity for Lena to be his star, but he needs Jane help if he’s going to truly make his masterpiece.
Now this sequel does do some new things that I really like. The first is how creepy they establish SV666 at times. I like that he’s really trying to make the best movie possible, but he just hasn’t found the right stars yet. It is interesting as the first movie, he doesn’t actually kill the victim, he really just films it. This movie, we get see a slew of women he kills. That aspect really works for me. We get more of the same from the first movie where we also get to meet our victims from footage they films as well. The problem I have here though is that I think it is a bit confusing at first, but it does settle in.
As I said during my recap, we go much more with meta here and we also get much deeper in the film knowledge from Goodwin. I loved when Ethan and Patton are trying to figure out what happened to Lena and the first clue they’re given is a video tape of the Umberto Lenzi film Spasmo. There is then a list of 24 giallo films which include titles like Deep Red, Blood and Black Lace, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. What makes this even better though, this part of the movie plays like a giallo film as these two guys, who aren’t cops are investigating what happened to Lena, instead of the police. This is just a popular troupe for those who do not know in this subgenre.
This movie runs too long though if I’m going to be honest. I think we get more filler here again than we need. It is balanced well with blood, gore and attacks throughout though. It does feel a bit at times like they filmed some good stuff, but couldn’t cut it. On top of that, when SV666 is trying to get Jane back, he decides to make a movie recapping his life to explain it to her. He actually gets a troupe of actors to play the parts and this really drug for me. It also makes SV666 seem a bit dopey at times which I wasn’t the biggest fan of.
Something that did work a lot better for me were the effects. I’d give the nod to the original film for being a bit better in that climax, but this one just gives us so much more and amps up the body count. That is really what you want for a sequel and it delivers there. This movie does have a much creepier ending sequence as well if I’m going to be honest. Having the house like it is the strobe light and on top of that, we have multiple victims that are being tortured before they’re killed.
The last thing I really wanted to go over here would the acting. Again much like the original, no one really stands out which is good for me. I think most everyone is natural and they play realistic characters. I will admit I did get a bit confused about Lena and her relationship with Ethan and Patton, but that does figure itself out. If I have any gripes, it is the role of SV666. The use of masks and what not are great, but I don’t love how the character is played here. His family is creepy though and I still have the issue that the killings aren’t just done by him alone. This movie not so much for what we get leading up to it, which makes way more sense for me.
Now with that said, much like the original one, this movie does do some really good things and some that just don’t work for me. I really like the concept that SV666 thinks he’s a great director and that he’s not getting the accolades he deserves. The meta aspect of the film industry and the horror genre is a big plus for me. I think the acting is believable, for the most part, and the effects are practical which is great. It is a perk that they ramped them up as well. There are just a few missteps here and I think there is a bit too much filler to be honest. The soundtrack though is mostly ambient and the selections aside from that don’t work as well as previously, but it doesn’t take me out of it either. It is a step down for me, but still over average for me. I would recommend both of these for those that like more gory found footage films.
My Rating: 6 out of 10