American Psycho 2 Review
Firstly a confession: I’ve never read Bret Easton Ellis’ bestseller, though it becomes pretty apparent within the first ten minutes of this film that neither have the filmmakers. American Psycho 2 follows the grand straight-to-video tradition of many erotic thrillers (Mirror Images 2, Animal Instincts 3, etc., etc.) by simply sticking a number at the end of a successful film and hoping that some of that success will rub off - even if it’s based on only the most tenuous connection.
The strictly formulaic plot follows the college life of (American Psycho protagonist) Patrick Batman’s only surviving victim. Having killed him off in the opening scene, Rachel Newman (Mila Kunis) heads off to higher education with the belief that this will lead to a job at the FBI tracking down future mass murderers. Of course, she’s a tad mentally unstable and so kills off anyone who gets in her way.
When done with a little imagination the slash ‘n’ stalk genre can produce some genuine classics (see Halloween, for example, or A Nightmare on Elm Street), yet American Psycho 2 seems content to simply offer a few ice-picks in the back of necks and a faked suicide. Moreover, Rachel points out her potential victims during her opening voice-over and so anyone with the slightest knowledge of this type of film can predict exactly what is going to occur over the next hour and twenty minutes.
With such by-numbers plotting, one is forced to look elsewhere for pleasures and would hope that the presence of William Shatner as an ex-FBI man turned college professor would spark a modicum of interest. And yet, despite his recent penchant for sending himself up (Showtime, Free Enterprise), Shatner plays it entirely straight, which when faced with the lumbering dialogue on offer is entirely disastrous.
In fact, this lack of humour is endemic of the entire proceedings and proves to be its biggest flaw. A smile on the audiences faces, even just the once, would offer the slightest respite from this tedious, mind-numbing nonsense.
Picture and Sound
The anamorphic presentation offers no problems whatsoever; the grey palette favoured by the photography and the many night scenes are offered with the right level of clarity, and the disc handles both close-ups and long shots with equal ease.
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, the sound is similarly flawless though unlikely to put your system to the test. The background is constantly occupied either by various pop songs (including some rather incongruous use of Catatonia) or Norman Orenstein's jaunty score, yet there is never a struggle between them and the dialogue, the balance being just right.
Whilst limited to a simple trailer (presented 16:9 anamorphic), hopefully viewers will watch this first and realise that the main feature simply isn’t worthy of their effort.
Admittedly, expectations shouldn’t be too high. This is after all the only Entertainment in Video disc I’m aware of not to have a cover plastered in tabloid hyperbole. However, as the serial killer flick has offered numerous classics in the past (ranging from Fritz Lang’s M to David Fincher’s Se7en), one hopes that the filmmakers couldn’t have took it upon themselves to find just an ounce of originality. All in all, a truly terrible experience with special features to match.