Parents' Guide to

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight 2

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Monsters kill again in sequel; language, gore, violence.

Movie NR 2021 96 minutes
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This is a sloppy sequel; it feels as if the filmmakers were rushing this for release within a year of the first film's success. Inconsistencies abound. The old monsters ate their victims and were uncontainable. They rose from the dead. Yet we see the once-deceased monsters jailed, meek and docile. The new monsters, just as pustulous, grotesque, and snarling, seem to also possess superhuman strength, yet one turns out to be quite gorily mortal. The new ones don't eat their victims (perhaps they've adopted a low animal protein diet).

The themes of the first film weakly repeat here. Under the influence of the internet and screen time, we've lost our empathy and humanity -- resulting in monsters? Moments before the internet-free camp director's nasty murder, he rails about the evils of the internet and society to his silent wife, who surely must have already heard this long list of grievances a thousand times before. Like the first film, this one also mocks the conventions of the horror genre. Characters routinely disregard their peril, playing into the hands of their killers. One newbie miscreant sounds like a horror movie director. For him killing isn't enough. He wants to "build up some suspense" to scare victims before going in for the kill, an artist at heart. The monsters also discuss the relative nature of evil here ("Now we're the bad guys") that is amusing on its own but, inserted into the gory momentum, brings the action to a dead halt. With empathy for fellow artist-monsters, the director starts telling the story from the perspective of the monsters, a narrative trick played long ago in the Frankenstein story. In any case, those watching for the horror probably want their guts served up on a plate and really don't care much about monster character development. Whether it's a joke or an inadvertent commentary on growing violence, it's worth noting that a shy guy doesn't feel at home in the world until he becomes a hideous, murderous enemy of the people. After the credits roll, 90 seconds of narrative pop up, laying the groundwork for NSITWT 3. Be afraid.

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