A supernatural sequel, a teen fave goes horror, and a slasher at a cabin in the woods

Ghost hunting brothers are back for more, cheerleaders must die, and victims go out on a high note in this trio of flicks. Were any of them worth a watch?

ANNA 2 (2019)

The Crum brothers, who collectively write, direct, and star in their movies, are back for this sequel to their film Anna, in which ghost hunters stole a haunted doll with dire consequences. It’s referenced very briefly at the beginning of this film, which, despite hanging onto the same title, doesn’t focus on the doll at all.

This time around the boys join forces with another team of paranormal investigators to start their ghost hunting business up again. At first they are totally setting up a scam scenario, but the possession case they encounter seems frighteningly real. This early segment of the film features the Crum brothers dabbling more in the humorous side of their horror.

They then move on to their main goal…an abandoned amusement park. This is where the film takes us into darker Crum territory—totally nightmarish surrealism with no clear plot line but oodles of horrific visual stimulation as each member of the group is almost immediately drawn away to have his or her own hellish, trippy experience.

Essentially that’s the plot, if you can call it that. The Crums truly are masters at low budget, horrific eye candy, and knowing that’s what I should expect from them, I don’t go in with any hopes of a meaty narrative.

As I’ve said before, their films tend to feel like you’re trapped in Silent Hill, which is always enough for me. Although it would have been nice if there had been some bare Crum buns again as there were in the first Anna.


Not only is this a slasher installment of the long-running cheerleader franchise, it also manages to squeeze its way onto the Halloween horror movie page…barely.

In classic slasher movie tradition, there’s an opening bullying and death scene revolving around a cheer squad in 2002.

20 years later, the high school cheer squad wants to practice on Halloween weekend, but the principal won’t let them do it on school grounds.

Sooooo…they decide to break into an abandoned school to have a slumber party and practice.

Foreshadowing in the shadows…

But someone dressed as the school mascot has other ideas for them.

As far as the teen vibe and teen humor go in the first half of the film, I was left wishing the writers of the original Bring It On had been hired for this first horror installment, because it totally misses the mark—very flat with a cheap tween TV show tone.

On the bright side, the kills kick in promptly once the kids split up, and they come rapid fire. They’re also never simple. For instance, the first death is by noose…oh wait…by pom-pom…or is it by falling lamp? This killer never settles on just one weapon per victim.

And yet despite the complex kills, there’s a low energy feel to much of this movie. It’s also disappointing that a movie that takes place on Halloween weekend barely taps into the holiday. There are pumpkins scattered around the background of scenes before the kids get to the abandoned school, one brief scene of trick or treaters, and two kids show up at the abandoned school in costume, but that’s it. Considering this is premiering on SyFy as an original for October, I imagine tying Halloween into the plot was a requirement so they just did the bare minimum to accomplish that.

The film does finally become a load of silly fun in the final act when all the surviving kids begin running around the school screaming and using cheerleading moves to dodge killer attacks and eventually to fight the killer. It’s a shame the campy tone was all jam-packed into the finale instead of sprinkled throughout the runtime. Even the obligatory gay cheerleader kid saved his most fabulously funny behavior for the final act, landing this one on the does the gay gay die? page as well.

At least we got a slasher version of Bring It On at last, but how amazing would it have been if instead we got Gabrielle Union as the killer, finally back for her ultimate revenge, hacking up the little white bitch daughters of Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku?


I’m all in for kids getting hacked and slashed at a cabin in the woods, and this Tubi original delivers on that. Requiem for a Scream isn’t the scariest flick you’re going to see, but if you ate up all the direct-to-DVD slashers that were pumped out in the early 2000s following the Scream craze, it delivers the basic elements needed to keep you entertained.

After an opening scene with some torture, some murder, and a masked killer making a girl sing for her life, we meet our main girl and her friends, who sneak away to party at her family house in the woods.

The main girl is essentially running away from her problems…she is in the midst of a conflict with her father, who is suffering from grief over the death of her sister and is pushing her to become a singer as her sister was going to be.

There’s definitely a bit too much filler—including a game of “Never Have I Ever” used as a vehicle to paint a picture of each character. Since there aren’t a lot of kids at the house and the kills take a while to kick in, this ends up feeling more like a home invasion film than a slasher. Plus, the singing aspect of the killer’s motivation is a little underplayed considering the movie description makes it sound like it’s the focus of the kills. Even so, the killer action does deliver.

However, there is one thing that’s quite frustrating about the film, and it involves gay stuff and spoilers concerning gay characters, so don’t read ahead if you don’t want to know…

**SPOILERS** – the film has a diverse cast, but here’s the problem. The 2 gay guys, one Black and one white, the only guys at the cabin, admit they’re gay for each other with a kiss. Awesome, right? Well, minutes later the Black gay guy gets killed, of course. Worse? When there are only ten minutes left in the film, the white gay guy steps up to fight the killer, and does a damn good job of appearing like he’s going to be one of the heroes and one of the survivors…but how often does a mainstream slasher let that happen?

This is why I write gay horror books with no straight characters in them. Sure, gay guys die in my books, but there’s still a whole city full of gays left over when they do…

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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