I loved the first one and was ecstatic to see the sequel. Unfortunately, this movie lost nearly all the charm that made the first one so good; was riddled with plot holes; and most of all, suffered from a severe lack of Samara Weaving.
LACK OF CHARMThe first film was filled with cute, gimmicky scenes (think video game style scenes). As a grown man in his late 20s, I would think it would be nearly impossible to be intrigued by a movie starring a little boy. But the charm made it happen. There was a slight sense of humor in many of the scenes and it kept the viewer interested.
In this movie, however, nearly all charm was gone. Some scenes tried too hard to be charming, specifically the fight scene between the two love interests (boring). I also cringed at Phoebe's introduction scene as it felt overly forced. I can only imagine how awkward it was rehearsing that scene over and over. The entire movie was just too one-dimensional and didn't feel special like the first.
PLOT HOLESFirst off, the entire premise of the movie is that nobody believes Cole that the events of the first movie happened, since Bee did such a stupendous job cleaning up everything. Was everyone there ignoring the fact that Bee just disappeared? Did that not raise any flags? What about the fact that four other teenagers were gone as well as two cops? I could go on about this but it was immediately apparent that the viewer just had to accept this major flaw in order to get the sequel, I guess.
Secondly, Mel going evil made no sense. Literally zero. I understand that it was supposed to be a dramatic twist, but come on. She says that she joined the cult because she "wants to be an influencer." Wow, how creative. We are soon after shown a scene where Bee is egging on Mel to want more and more followers, which suggests that Bee is the mastermind behind all of the cast's resurgences. Okay, that make sense. But later, it is revealed that Bee cleverly set all those people up in order to protect Cole and Phoebe. So, Bee turned Mel evil in order to save Cole and Phoebe from Mel? Makes no sense. The same applies for all the other evil characters. Bee was the instigator and also their undoing.
SAMARA WEAVINGOkay, here it is. Nearly all of the reasons that the first movie was great was based on Samara Weaving playing Bee. She was this cool, slick, sexy in-charge chick. She made the first movie what it was. But in this one, she didn't really make an appearance until the final fifteen minutes and even then it was only a shell of her former self. She seemed emotionless, timid, and downright uncomfortable. It was incredibly disappointing to see such wasted potential. Perhaps most curious was how Bee was Mel's babysitter. On the one hand, it was neat how there was some explanation toward how Bee became the evil person she was, but it also felt like a giant cop out of a storyline.
There are several other things wrong with this movie that I didn't get to, but the disappointment is currently overtaking me from writing anymore. Overall, there are so many other directions a sequel could have taken based on the first's ending. This movie was a C+ at best and I'd caution fans of the first to take heed when watching this, and perhaps avoid it altogether in order to maintain the integrity of the first movie.