The Unnamable II

Hold onto something. I'm about to compare The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter to Halloween II. Hear me out! Both sequels pick up where their predecessors left off. But that's not the only thing they have in common. In my opinion, both sequels improve upon the original. Ah, I can almost hear the hate mail flooding my inbox. I'll save the Halloween debate for another retrospective (actually, I'll forget it in five minutes). This extraneous supplement is a loose adaptation of a Lovecraft apologue. Surprise, surprise. The kicker is that the source material has nothing to do with the short story that the first film was based on. Man, Jean-Paul Ouellette must have been obsessed with the notion of rearing a franchise.

I adduced how The Unnamable felt like a directorial debut. Apparently, Ouellette learned on the job because The Unnamable II fills in all of the holes that the original left vacant. The pacing is crisp, the side characters are memorable and perhaps most importantly, the script has an esoteric vibe to it. In other words, it's inexplicably Lovecraftian. The authorities have collected the dead bodies in the Winthrop house. Randolph Carter, being the inquisitive savant that he is, decides to probe a series of underground tunnels beneath the crime scene. He prods his best friend (Eliot, the protagonist from the first film) and a shrewd professor (as played by John Rhys-Davies...!?) into joining him on a quarry to hunt down the irascible demon that claimed the lives of his fellow students.

My pithy synopsis only covers the first act. If you were to skim a thorough prospectus of the whole plot, you would notice traces of quantum physics, insulin-induced absolution, a long-haired doppelganger of Corey Feldman, a shoot-out in a library and a naked Maria Ford. Yeah, this flick is all over the place. Thankfully, it's entertaining. The monster is overexposed, but it still looks cool. FACTOID: Softcore siren Julie Strain is the actor inside of the creature suit. Production values are slick across the board. I'm not sure how Ouellette was able to wrangle a thicker budget this time around, but I tip my hat to his adept ingenuity. Unlike the original, The Unnamable II showcases more than two sets.

Look, this is no masterpiece, but straight-to-video sequels call for lenient standards. Having said that, I wouldn't feel right awarding The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter an unduly altruistic rating. If you add it to your rental queue (I can't believe this film is on Netflix), you'll have to deal with stagey acting and an assortment of risible plot holes. You'll also be subject to bouts of eye-rolling "fish out of water" humor. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ouellette watched Encino Man before mapping out the narrative. Whatever...this is a charming b-movie. And I'm officially sick of talking about this obscure saga. I haven't been this burned out since I reviewed the Killjoy trilogy. The horror!

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