This unnecessary follow-up effort is cheaply-made and lacks the charm of its predecessor.
It seems like a bizarre and unnecessary move to release a sequel to a made-for-television film more than forty-years after the fact. But here we are. And all I can say is wow. Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 has loose ties to the 1981 original. But none of what made the first film memorable is present in this misguided effort that sees Dark Night of the Scarecrow scribe J.D. Feigelson returning to write and direct.
The plot crunch goes something like this: On the run from her past, Chris (Amber Wedding) and her son Jeremy (Aiden Shurr) relocate to Stubblefield County. Upon arrival, Jeremy befriends a shifty, elderly woman he nicknames Aunt Hildie (Carol Dines) and develops an inexplicable bond with a sentient scarecrow.
If I had to tell you where this sequel went wrong, I would say it stems from eschewing that which made the first installment effective. The original film had a clearly defined sense of right and wrong. Yet, this misguided sequel has no such distinction. The scarecrow is something of a hired gun this time around, whereas he was exacting revenge for a gross injustice in the first. In this follow-up effort, the scarecrow runs amok, leaving carnage in his wake. But he has far less cause to do so this time.
Related Post: Forgotten Foes: SCARECROWS! (Films Featuring Underrated Monsters)
Making matters worse, the film looks very cheap. The camerawork is amateur. The set pieces appear flimsy. And the performances are abysmal. Ultimately, this bizarre follow-up is full of unanswered questions. For starters: Who asked for this? It’s not as if fans have been clamoring for another installment. But in all seriousness, the relationships between the characters, their back story, and their motivations all leave a trail of unanswered questions. Nothing is established. Nothing is introduced. It just is. And that comes across as lazy screenwriting.
In the original made-for-television film, Marylee (the young girl that was attacked) knew Bubba (who becomes the scarecrow) in life and that explains their connection. But Jeremy didn’t have the benefit of knowing Bubba when he was human. So, the idea that they have become fast friends feels questionable at best.
Speaking of relationships that don’t make sense, the bond between young Jeremy and “Aunt Hildie” is also quite peculiar. There isn’t a lot of rhyme or reason behind their bond. He seems to prefer her company to that of his own mother without a lot of reason given as to why. I could accept that dynamic if there were a more compelling reason as to why he loves “Aunt Hildie” and wants to run away with her. But there isn’t much of an attempt made to explain the strange connection. “Aunt Hildie” is calculating, manipulative, and cruel and hardly seems like the type that a young man would take so readily to. She makes a half-hearted attempt to put on a grandmotherly front for Jeremy. But the fact that he and his mother both buy it makes both of them seem pretty clueless.
Also Read: ‘Scare Zone’ is Clumsy and Tone Deaf [Review]
Adding fuel to the fire, the dialogue is inexcusably bad. Chris saunters up to the scarecrow when he is settled in place and tells him that he looks like she feels. Then, she proceeds to engage in a one-sided conversation with the scarecrow where she eventually whispers in his ear. That exchange, like most of the sequences contained within Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2, feels so stilted and unnatural that it’s nearly impossible not to laugh.
Ultimately, Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 feels like a cynical attempt to cash in on the name recognition of an existing intellectual property. The script, the performances, and the production values are all subpar. But if you are keen to check it out, the film is now available on an all-region Blu-ray from MVDvisual.
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2
This follow-up effort has none of the charm of the original and does very little to justify its existence.