A crazed killer known as PITCHFORK returns from the hospital gurney to slay his victims once more.
Director & Writer: Terron R. Parsons
Stars: Sherri Eakin, Jeremy Sande, Jeremy Ivy, Corlandos Scott
I love a good slasher. I love the thrill and suspense when the super-naturally strong killer chases down their victim to exact a ghastly, and more importantly, inventive kill. I love the presence a (good) antagonist commands and the gore typically associated with this genre. Though I can ignore a storyline when watching this genre, a good one enhances the experience ten-fold. It’s a shame only a few can get this last thing. HAYRIDE 2 however, misses the mark in pretty much all of the above.
Before we start, I’d like to note that I purposely didn’t endure the first film in the series to see if I could understand the story and lore HAYRIDE 2 would present. I will admit that some parts were very dependent on watching the first film, but not enough to leave you completely clueless.
We begin with Pitchfork inside a moving ambulance presumably lethally wounded… He tricked everyone by placing a decoy dead body in place of his own, so was picked up as a “normal” victim. Clever Pitchfork… He wakes up and attacks the nurse tending to him, ALL WITHOUT THE AMBULANCE DRIVER HEARING A THING… The only time the driver is aware of what’s happening is pretty much after he’s been stabbed in the throat. Pitchfork escapes and, I can only assume, teleports to the hospital where survivors from HAYRIDE are, that being cousins Corey and Steven, played by the equally un-emotive Jeremy Sande and Jeremy Ive… It must be the name Jeremy that makes you an un-emotive actor… Steven’s pregnant GF, Amanda, played by the somewhat competent Sherri Eakin, is also present.
“Hang on, Mr. Caps, did you say Pitchfork teleported to the hospital? Is this a sci-fi slasher?” Good job reader, you’re paying attention! No, it isn’t a sci-fi slasher… Now I have a hankering to see JASON X… You see, Pitchfork is able to cover large distances in a mere fraction of time. Much more than your typical masked murderer. He can appear at locations with illogical time/space continuum bending accuracy, even though his top speed is a lumbering 2 miles per hour. Running is as alien to him as sunlight is to a red-headed kid.
So, once we’re at the hospital, Pitchfork goes about killing randomites in uninventive, tedious ways until he manages to capture and steal Amanda, with no rhyme or reason why. He kills everyone else within seconds so why does he not to do the same to her??? This is never explained. As a note: She is referenced as the “girl” or “little girl” whenever the police talk about her abduction. This was completely baffling to me. I thought the file I had was corrupt and I missed out on some movie because I honestly didn’t know they were talking about Amanda. Hell, I’m STILL not 100% sure they were.
We are treated to some backstory to Pitchfork which was not really required but was a nice enough addition, and a “reveal” about Steven’s parents which really held no sway whatsoever to the film as a whole, nor did it give the “WTF?!?!” factor it tried to evoke.
Jeremy and Steven get wind of Amanda’s abduction and take matters in their own hands. Will Amanda be saved? Will Pitchfork finally have his murderous spree lethally ended? Do you really care?
This film had issues in every nook and cranny of its plot-hole riddled script. Dialog was uninspiring, long winded and tedious to sit through, with golden nuggets like “My dad once told me scars are proof a person got hurt, but they are also proof that they are healing”… Yes, that was actually said… The closing scene banter between two main characters has special mention for being excruciating to sit through. The actors were uncomfortable saying it and you could tell.
The score, my Shiva, the score was intrusive and annoying. It would play during standard dialog-only scenes, crescendo at inappropriate moments and drown out other sounds. Pitchfork’s footsteps were given a real meaty bass sound which I enjoyed, pity the actual character wasn’t as “meaty” in the presence department. Also, I’d like to take a moment to ask sound dudes out there to stop using the knife-on-metal “shing” sound for EVERY f*cking metal object that gets picked up! There was a scene in HR 2 when Pitchfork grabs a, well, pitchfork that was leaning on a wooden fence and this was given the sound effect. WHY?! It would never, EVER make this sound. Never. Stop doing it guys. Stop.
Acting was crap all round. The dialog they had to spout didn’t help their cause either. Sherri could do scared well though, that much I will say. Special mention goes to Rachel Varela who plays a nurse trying to console Corey. Her Captain Kirk-esque delivery of her long-winded, repetitive dialog was uninspiring to watch. None of the characters were relatable or likeable. I felt nothing, nor did I care if they survived or not. That’s not a good thing to feel in a slasher.
Now let’s take a moment to discuss our antagonist, Pitchfork. In slashers, the antagonist needs to be charismatic in a macabre sense for viewers to connect and love. They MAKE the film. They command your fear, your tension, your love. Pitchfork does none of this. He doesn’t move with urgency like Jason does, and Jason isn’t fast himself, but when Jason walks after someone he leans in, he has urgency and you know he wants to get his prey. Pitchfork literally lumbers about. Everything he does is slow and deliberate. It looks amateurish and not very scary. He doesn’t have a stalker-like creepy psycho vibe as Michael Myers, nor a crazy over-the-top vibe like Victor Crowley. Pitchfork is a limp antagonist and this means any scene involving him chasing someone, which can be very effective to evoke emotion in your viewer when done right, fall completely flat. Pitchfork just meanders after his prey.
The story itself was uneventful. It was a lineal continuation of the first film which isn’t a bad thing, but in the case of HR 2, it was the death of the film. Nothing new was brought to the table in this film to expand the lore. With Halloween 2 (the original), which HR 2 pretty much copies the plot from in terms of its lineal continuation and hospital location, we learn the new info about Michael and Laurie being family. Something new is brought to the table in Halloween 2 that is pretty much a game changer for the lore of the franchise. HR 2 has nothing like this so all we have is a fat lumbering killer in overalls killing people, wanting to abduct a particular woman for no explained reason whatsoever. Now, having said this, I can easily forego story in a slasher film as long as the kills are gory and inventive, but HR 2 couldn’t even manage that. I don’t understand how you can get this fundamental aspect of the genre wrong. Budget isn’t the issue here, I’ve seen plenty a low-budget slasher with great kills. It was the inability of the writer to come up with something entertaining.
Are there any positives I can provide about the film? It was only an hour and a half long. Cinematography, though nothing special, was serviceable and you can tell that the writer/director genuinely tried to make a good film.
Would I recommend HAYRIDE 2 to anyone? Well, if you endured the first and have O.C.D. then watch it for completeness sake, but for everyone else avoid this film. HAYRIDE 2 doesn’t offer anything new, fresh or exciting to the genre or to its franchise.
1 out of 5 overalls.