Directed by #JoeLeone
Film review by Nathanial Eker
Before tackling the meaty content of Parched 2: Hangry, I must confess that I’m not au-fait with its predecessor. That said, a Google’s worth of research seems to show that it’s unlikely to matter, as the sequel not only features no returning cast members, but its dire execution of an already basic premise will leave viewers starved of entertainment. A found footage horror film is the perfect candidate for a low budget indie flick; indeed, some of the most successful chillers of all time have been created with startlingly low production values. Unfortunately, those films also possess coherent dialogue, convincing acting, and crucially, they’re effectively frightening. The scariest part of Parched 2 was when I looked at my watch and realised I was only half an hour in.
With an eyebrow raising-ly similar premise to the disturbing cult classic Cabin Fever, Parched 2 revisits many a long-retired horror cliché, but most obviously, 'the horny young people at the lake'. Sadly, we’ll find no machete wielding maniacs in hockey masks here, as a virus that causes extreme hunger is the unseen antagonist. Our final girl is Ligeia (Eve) who demonstrates an unfathomable level of pretentious irritation throughout, matched only by her equally annoying friends. There isn’t even a dark gratification to be taken when they all start inevitably giving in to that zombie-esque hunger, as the performances are too poor to even find anyone unlikable. You just don’t even believe for a second that these people are anything by actors; put simply, the film develops a famine of convincing characters.
While there initially appears to be some fun commentary regarding the priorities of the tech happy youth of today, this quickly dissolves into clichés that were dated the minute that they were introduced. They smoke weed, they tell scary stories, they have sex; blah, blah, blah; we’ve seen this too many times. Being generous, the script is mostly serviceable in the sense that it moves from A to B coherently, but the dialogue and characters are so poorly written, that the film drags far longer than any eighty-minute movie should. There are also moments totally devoid of logic; why does the camera operator simply watch as his friend is devoured? Why do they barely react to anything until their final chum succumbs to the virus? And why, oh why, does Xavi bring a horrendous liquid virus that reacts with water, on holiday with him, to a lake? Parched 2 is a case study for the importance of the redrafting process, if ever there was one.
Does this film offer any redeeming elements? To give credit where due, the gore effects are actually quite nasty, and there is one singular joke near the climax that lands. Otherwise, there is little to gorge on in this bloated, misguided mess. As a horror film, it fails on almost every level; there is no effort to create spooky lighting, dramatic tension just does not exist, music is almost entirely absent, and even its jumpscares are ineffective. While it looks like the cast and crew had a ball making Parched 2, the audience experience is quite the opposite. If you feel like ravaging a new horror film, make sure to chow down on something better than this sloppy found footage dud.