Back in 1973, horror fans were entertained by a grisly low-budget film called Don’t Look in the Basement, the story of the inmates literally taking over the asylum and slaughtering the staff. The movie ended on a haunting note with the last survivor, a mentally challenge African American named Sam, calmly eating a Popsicle and cradling a bloody ax.
It is a movie that begged for a sequel; who would have thought it would take more than 40 years to get made?
Sadly, it isn’t worth the wait.
Co-written and directed by Tony Brownrigg, Don’t Look in the Basement 2 (2017) is a cool and interesting movie, at least in the first half. We join new staff psychologist Dr. William Matthews (Andrew Sensenig) as he tries to adjust to a new job at the rural Stephens Sanitarium after being mysteriously shown the door at his last post in the big city. He spends time with the other staff, the overbearing administrator, and the facility’s patients; and this lets the story unfold at a leisurely pace. Moments of tension are nicely balanced with comic relief, mainly the antics of two dumb maintenance men, drawing you into the plot quite effectively.
And then there’s that moment when Dr. Matthews, in a meeting with the administrator, suddenly blurts out the line, “What’s in the basement?” Mind you, the basement of the place hasn’t even been mentioned by anyone in the movie up to this point, so the line comes across as if Sensenig suddenly remembers what movie he was in (and is miffed that he can’t stay in the better one).
From that moment, it’s all downhill in a rush as the director tries to give the audience what he thinks it wants. But it’s too late, no matter how much cheesy blood and guts he throws on the screen. Bad as the killings are staged, though, it’s nothing compared to the cheesy dialogue the actors spit out of their mouth, usually with a blast of fake blood, as they die.
To be fair, there are a couple interesting thing to watch before the movie crashes and burns. Megan Emerick, for example, is creepy and weird as the nurse everybody fears, especially when she starts developing an unnatural attachment with her ‘baby’. Scott Tepperman, one of the stars of Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters International, and Jim O’Rear, a veteran of more than 30 years in horror movies, are a lot of fun as the bumbling janitorial staff. Sadly, all three characters meet a bad end; bad in the sense of their final scenes being underwritten and unbelievable.
Viewers who don’t have a history with the Stephens Sanitarium and its inhabitants may find more to like in Don’t Look in the Basement 2, but anybody with fond memories of the first can preserve them best by ignoring this one completely. Forty-plus years is a long time to wait to be this disappointed with a sequel.
Don’t Look in the Basement 2 is available May 24th, 2017 from LeglessCorpse Films.
Don’t Look in the Basement 2 (1 / 5)