Henry II picks up where the original (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) left off. Henry (Neil Giuntoli) takes a thankless job at a port-o-john company where he meets husband and wife, Kai...
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Henry II picks up where the original (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) left off. Henry (Neil Giuntoli) takes a thankless job at a port-o-john company where he meets husband and wife, Kai (Ken Komenich) and Cricket (Kate Walsh). They take pity on the homeless drifter and offer him a room in the home they share with their emotionally fragile teenage niece, Louisa (Carri Levinson). Henry learns that Kai has a side job as an arsonist-for-hire, setting up phony insurance scams to make money for their boss, Rooter (Daniel Allar). He agrees to join Kai and on one of their first outings, they discover two squatters in a building that's been marked for fire. It is then that Henry introduces Kai to his life's work... and the murders begin. Kai has never killed before, but he turns into a willing accomplice. Initially, the two men work well together. But as the killing sprees increase in their depravity, it's more than Kai can handle. He wants out, but he's in too deep. Written by
The original "Henry" was a great slasher film that aimed higher than the genre: it examined the psyche of the serial killer, so that the movie was more than just scary, it was genuinely disturbing. The movie's effectiveness could be credited to the masterful performance by John Rooker in the title role (in a less skittish world, he would have been Oscar nominated) and by the no nonsense direction of John McNaughton, which included one of the most chilling closing shots of all time. I happened to come across the present sequel in Blockbusters and, noting that it had a different actor in the title role and a different director (as well as an almost non-existent theatrical release), I checked it out with low expectations. Well, I was surprised. The movie is much better than it has a right to be. It copies the tone and content of the original pretty closely (including ultra-graphic gore), but at least it gets it right. And Neil Giuntono gives a perfectly good performance as Henry (like Rooker, he effectively underplays the role). The lower working class milieu that Henry finds himself a part of is as vividly captured as it is unsympathetic. If you liked the original "Henry," or if you're a fan of the psycho-killer genre, this sequel is definitely worth checking out. If you're not into this kind of movie (even when well done), then obviously you should pass.
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