Picture the scene. Sigourney Weaver is giving birth to a dying franchise, American werewolves are fleeing from Paris, giant snakes are taking chunks out of J-Lo’s arse and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts are teasing a psychotic fisherman. It gets worse. Warwick Davis is searching for pots of gold (in space), Guillermo del Toro is unleashing swarms of tap dancing cockroaches and Andrew Divoff is granting wishes to a disillusioned horror fan base.
With the exception of Scream 2, 1997 wasn’t the best year for horror. Though I still have a soft spot for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Golden Globes. 1998 saw the release of Ringu… and the Dentist 2, but we’ll let that go for now. You might be wondering why I’m telling you this? Well here goes. Had My Ex 2 – Haunted Lover arrived in 1997 there’s a good chance I’d be referring to its ‘compelling visual style’ or its ‘unique Asian flavour’. Had My Ex 2 arrived before the likes of Ju-on, Shutter, Phone, Alone and Dark Water, there’s a good chance I’d be seeing the world through different eyes.
I’m not. This is 2013 and My Ex 2 – Haunted Lover is the latest in a long line of generic horror yarns built around lank haired demons and vengeful ex-girlfriends. My Ex 2 is a sequel to My Ex. Presumably. I haven’t seen the original movie so I can’t really comment on it, but the events of Haunted Lover kick off in a cinema screening of the original movie. Even in 1998 that would be considered cliché. So it’s fair to say we’re not talking about a direct sequel here, but I’m guessing part one had something to do with haired lank demons. Not necessarily in that order.
Cee (Ratchawin Wongviriya) is the younger sister of Bowie (Atthama Chiwanitchapan), a famous movie star. I shall be referring to them as ‘Cute’ and ‘Hot’ from now on. Hot is determined to push her sister, Cute, into the spotlight and introduces her to everyone she knows in the movie business. Her efforts finally pay off when Cute is offered a role in an upcoming horror film. Aof (Thongpoom Siripipat), Cute’s boyfriend, is in debt after losing a bet on a football game. He’s also having an affair with Ying (Marion Affolter).
Ying commits suicide and Cute is haunted by a vengeful demon, but low and behold, things aren’t always what they seem. Enter Mr Karn, a creepy love interest for the unsuspecting Cute. Hot seems to have a thing for him too but I can’t understand why. Yes the guy has money, he’s a successful movie producer after all, but truth be told, he looks like a rapist. Haunted Lover digs up every horror convention known to man; including beautiful bikini clad actresses, exotic locations, ample bloodshed and dastardly demons. It’s all in a days work for Asian horror.
No nudity however. We’re encouraged to watch a girl’s head getting caved in (twice) but when it comes to nudity the best we can hope for is a partial side view. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t actively seeking female fleshy bits, but there’s a chance it would have distracted from the conformity of ghostly cliché. Silver linings come in the form of bikini clad swim sequences but there’s not enough here to warrant a second viewing. Having the least attractive girls die first is a nice touch but My Ex 2 doesn’t do enough to distract from the stark bleeding obvious.
The premise is pretty straightforward for this kind of thing and the lead actresses are game enough, but even if – like me – you’ve been avoiding lank haired demons for the past five years, Haunted Lover offers too few surprises. Piyapan Choopetch handles proceedings well enough and from a visual perspective My Ex 2 looks the part, but the musical score, storyline and scare tactics lack ingenuity. Haunted Lover’s failings can be summed up by one God-awful exchange. Standing on the shore as the sun goes down, Cute develops an irritating twitch and Mr Karn moves in to investigate. That’s right, the old ‘something in my eye’ routine. Terrifying.
Striking visuals, bikini clad heroines and one side boob can’t distract from the fact that Haunted Lover has been done to death already. The ending is satisfying enough and I’ve sat through far worse, but My Ex 2 won’t be remembered in years to come. The Dentist 2, however, now that’s what I call a movie. AW