Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Josh Mills, Sabrina Bolin, Jason Buuck, Jordana Berliner, Josh Green, Roland Esquivel, Chanel Ryan
Written & Directed by Rick Sloane
Distributed by Micro Werks
Hobgoblins 2 is exactly what you’d expect from a Hobgoblins sequel. Whether or not you consider that a good thing or a bad thing depends on whether or not you derive any entertainment value from watching the original Hobgoblins minus the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” crew at the bottom of the screen heckling the unapologetic awfulness of it all. A bad joke you didn’t find funny the first time isn’t going to be funny the second time around.
I remember viewing the 1988 original long before “MST3K” got their hands on it and found it to be nearly unwatchable. Even writer-director Rick Sloane admitted in my interview with him that the film would probably be long since forgotten had it not been used as cannon fodder on “MST3K” years ago. A fast fade into obscurity is the fate I strongly suspect awaits this bad but less memorably so sequel. Can’t say they didn’t warn me. That is the Hobgoblins 2 tagline, after all.
Sloane has gone to great lengths to recreate the pastel visual style of his 20-year old original giving the movie an interesting look. He also follows the same cast of characters from the original now portrayed by different actors that I presume are existing in present day despite being roughly the same age as they were in the original and possess no recollection of their previous hobgoblin encounter. It’s like a sequel and a re-imagining all in one. Though I’m afraid the term “new and improved” does not apply here.
Written with all the wit of a “USA Up All Night” teen sex comedy with just a dash of John Waters tackiness thrown in: every character a caricature; every performance broad; every punchline moronic. Writing a negative review of a movie meant to be bad in the first place almost seems like a moot point. Some may argue intentionally setting out to make a bad movie in the first place is also rather self-defeating.
There’s mild-mannered Kevin, his sexually repressed girlfriend Amy, imbecilic Vinnie Barbarino sound-a-like soldier Nick, his trampy carrot-topped girlfriend Daphne, and horny computer nerd Kyle. Except for Kyle who spends every waking moment maxing out his credit cards on an internet sex site run by a busty blonde named Fantazia, the others attend a college class that has them visiting a mental institution where crazy old man McCreedy tells them of the hobgoblins. They go to the mental hospital. They go home. They go back to the hospital. They go back home. They watch some bad horror movies. The hobgoblins return and cause more minor mischief than havoc. Kevin still busts McCreedy out of the hospital to help save his friends by teaching them how to conquer their fears in order to defeat the hobgoblins.
Last time, the hobgoblins were freed from a film vault that had been their prison. This time one need only utter the word “hobgoblins” three times and they magically appear ala Candyman. The hobgoblins don’t appear often and don’t do a whole lot when they do – much like the first film. Watching an actor wrestle with what amounts to an articulated angora throw pillow is laughable the first time, far less laughable the second time, and third, fourth, and fifth time is not the charm.
Instead of preying on your fantasies and bringing them to life as a precursor to killing you, this time the hobgoblins bring your worst fears to life before not killing you. I don’t think anyone actually gets killed this time around save for one minor supporting character and I’m not even sure his death was confirmed.
Other times the pay-off wasn’t even filmed to satisfaction. Soldier boy Nick is being chased by a hobgoblin on a riding lawnmower. The attack ends with Nick grabbing a chainsaw; a very quick close-up of Nick thrusting forward is all we get before he’s back inside being congratulated for having defeated a hobgoblin. Sorry, but that’s lame even by Hobgoblins movie standards.
You know your characters are as lame as they are lame-brained when a lobotomized patient that appears in only a handful of scenes and a rude Girl Scout that appears in only one both manage to outshine the entire cast comedically. The fake trailers for “Amputee Hookers” and “Chainsaw Chicks” (shot by Sloane back in 1981) they watch on bad movie night are funnier than anything in the movie itself.
I got together with a friend to view this sequel figuring worst case scenario we could have fun heckling it. Frankly, I’m not even sure the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” crowd could do much with this one because there’s more talk than action and it’s so jokey it practically comes pre-riffed. The best so-bad-it’s-good movies happen naturally. Trying to force it is darn near impossible. You have to be really clever or really out there to manufacture that vibe. Hobgoblins 2 is neither.
My experience watching Hobgoblins 2 went a little something like this: the first 20-minutes I was thinking it wasn’t that bad, then the bottom drops out and interest rapidly began to wane, and by the last half hour I was ready to yell “Hobgoblins! Hobgoblins! Hobgoblins!” hoping they’d appear and put me out of my misery.
1 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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