“Hugely disappointing sequel, that’ll make you want to hurl.”
Wow. This is dreadful, and I speak as someone who enjoyed its predecessor, appreciating its excessive updating of Little Red Riding Hood. Bright tries to capture lightning in a bottle here, this time going for Hansel and Gretel, but it’s largely a miserable failure, imploding in screeching one-note performances from the two leads and far too many scenes of teenage girls vomiting. Yep. Girls vomiting. The scenario has Crystal Van Meter (Lyonne) sentenced to 25 years in prison, by a judge (a cameo by John Landis) fed-up of her petty criminality. There, she meets fellow desperado Angela “Cyclona” Garcia (Celedonio), a teenage serial killer with even more anti-social tendencies. After much binging and purging, the pair break out and go on the lam, heading for Tijuna and Sister Gomez, whom Garcia believes can solve their problems. But the Sister is not quite what she seems… as should be clear when I tell you she’s played by Vincent Gallo.
That chunk is really the only area where the film is remotely salvageable, capturing the surreal horror of a depraved, cannibalistic Mexican cult, which is both grim and Grimm. Until that point, however, you have painfully little of interest, with Bright failing to provide anything that’s interesting in the way of characters, plot or even bad-taste, despite one sequence where Crystal projectile vomits over a guard, in a manner last seen in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and she is just about as repugnant a creation as Mr. Creosote. Indeed, the whole film is shot through with an unpleasant loathing of all humanity, whether it’s her lawyer (David Alan Grier), who gets public hand-jobs from his clients, or the two cops trailing the fugitives. It’s a nasty, sneering approach which leaves the viewer wanting to take a shower, even if you discount the fascinated depiction of bulimic regurgitation.
Even if you stick to the simple math, Lyonne is clearly much less than Reese Witherspoon in the original, and for the first hour you’ve got absolutely no reason to watch: I’ll confess I spent some time in the next room, trying to fix a computer, rather than listening to the leads’ screeching at each other. Chris bailed in the first scene, claiming she had a strong aversion to Grier, and while I initially was peeved by her snap judgment, in the end, I can’t argue she was dead right.
Dir: Matthew Bright
Star: Natasha Lyonne, María Celedonio, Vincent Gallo, Bob Dawson