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Kids Get Dead 2: The Kids Get Deader
Sequels are hard to do well. The audience expects them to be generally similar in tone to the original, but better, more exuberant, flashier, etc. Michael Hall does a pretty good job of sequelizing his low budget meta-slasher Kids Go Into the Woods: Kids Get Dead, and does make some significant improvements over the original. But this isn't a perfect movie.
Leah Rudick is back as Casey, the final girl from the first go around. She's married now, but still suffering from nightmares due to her experiences. She's obsessed with finding and punishing the killer of her brother and friends. To do so, she decides to track down the author of the book that caused all of the trouble in the first film, Charles Carver (Steve Buja). Carver's books seem to have the ability to shape reality, and now he's written another one.
Parallel to Casey's quest to find and deal with Carver, a very unlucky party is going on across town, hosted by Monica (Vonka Romanoff) and her socially awkward brother Brian (Bradley Creanzo). Brian has a crush on nerdy but beautiful Stephanie (Lauren Maslanik), but college bro Alex (Shane Dorman) has his eye on her too. For whatever reason, the killer from the first film has targeted this group of kids for his deadly attention, and they are slowly picked off.
Like its predecessor, Kids Get Dead 2 is very meta. I won't go into the details because that would spoil it a bit. Also like the first film, the sequel is bubbling over with more ideas than it has time to pursue, leaving lots of tantalizing threads unexplored, which is frustrating. It's fifteen pounds of ideas in a ten pound bag. I want a bigger bag! Kids Get Dead 2 is an improvement over the first, with much better production values, really good effects (aside from a couple of sub-standard CG flame shots), good performances, and an effective villain. It still retains the somewhat muddled story of the original, and could have been tightened up considerably. Creanzo and Maslanik do really well as the awkward teens thrown into a bad situation, and everyone seems to be having a good time.
Kids Get Dead 2 has its flaws, as noted above, but it's heartening to see writer / director Michael Hall improve so much from the first film. He's not sticking to the normally cramped confines of a traditional slasher film, and is really trying to do something ambitious. Even though he doesn't totally succeed, he provides a fun and intriguing ride along the way. Recommended.
The image is 1.78:1 widescreen, and has some minor problems, with some minor grain and muddiness from time to time. However, this review is based on a check disk, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
The audio is Dolby digital 2.0 channel, and works well with no obvious problems. However, this review is based on a check disk, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
The only extra included is a trailer for the feature. However, this review is based on a check disk, so no comment can be made on the quality or quantity of extras on the final product.
Kids Get Dead 2 is an imperfect but enjoyable film, with lots of good looking people in various states of undress getting killed and sprayed with blood. If that's your kind of thing, you'll probably enjoy it, and its toying with the underlying concepts of slasher films generally.