Chuck Parello is one of those "Oh, no!" directors for me… when I see his name on a movie, I can be pretty sure I'm in for gratuitous female nudity, distasteful sex scenes, and plenty of exploitative gore. Sounds like a party for some people, but me? I like plot, story, and character development to go with my debauchery and butchery.
For the record, Parello specializes in serial killer films. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2 (1998) is actually his directorial debut (but I had not seen it prior to this new DVD release), which was followed up with Ed Gien in 2000, and then the Hillside Strangler in 2004.
Lacking the talent of the original serial killer (a smoldering, seething Micheal Rooker) and the first film's director John McNaughton, the sequel is even drearier (I'm not a huge fan of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, either) and slower-paced. Neil Guintoli is not a bad actor, but he is miscast here so therefore his Henry isn't all that compelling.
The fictionalized story follows Henry and his new BFF, Kai (Rich Komenich). Kai is a disgruntled blue collar porta-potty installer who likes to blow off stream by setting fires (and getting paid for it, via insurance fraud). Henry lives with Kai, Kai's trailer trash wife Cricket (Kate Walsh), and Cricket's sexually curious little sister Louisa (Carri Levinson). It's all one, big happy freak family until one day when Kai and Henry are spotted by eyewitnesses to their fire-bugging ways. The only thing to do? Kill them.
Kai is reluctant at first, but like Otis in the first movie, he quickly takes a liking to killing and becomes Henry's partner in horrific crime. There's plenty of murder and mayhem throughout the film, but the story is so tedious it seems to drag on endlessly.
Long before the end credits roll, you might well be hoping that Henry will pull a Samara and come out of your TV set to kill you.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson