Ripper 2: Letter from Within (2004)

The original film–well it was far from original–I’ll say the first film, was quite possibly one of the most ludicrous slasher films I’ve ever seen. One thing is for sure, I’ve never seen a slasher movie so intent on being taken seriously, and I’ve never seen a slasher film so intent on posing as a murder mystery, but it was so filled with lapses in logic, that I could have gone on for pages on its sheer stupidity. Here’s a film that further widens the gap between fantasy and reality adding a “digital twist” to its story. Are these studios so dumb they use the digital angle as a fail safe? Need a sequel to “Mangler”? Add a digital twist. Need a sequel to the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series? Add a digital twist. It can happen.

“Ripper 2” is a sequel that completely strays from its original premise and rather shamelessly rips off “The Cell” and “Altered States”, both freaky but sub-par films. How desperate are you to rip off films that aren’t that good? Pretty damn. Pretty damn. It took three screenwriters and two directors to complete this. So you know they ran out of ideas at some point. And in any case, I must reward the makers of “Ripper 2” for giving us possibly the stupidest title I’ve ever read that rivals titles like “Pooty Tang” and “Surf Ninjas”. Letter from Within? Can someone tell me what in the scat rapping Moses that even means? Regardless of the fact though, the title is really a moot point when you take in to consideration the actual plot that is unfolded before us.

Molly, the girl from the first who may or may not have been a killer, or Jack the Ripper, or his incarnation, or his daughter, descendant, you get the general idea, now returns for some reason and is released from jail to endure testing by two doctors attempting to do–something to her mind. So, she and a standard group of equally troubled individuals–it’s funny how they consider her “troubled”, a girl who murdered and mutilated a group of people being lumped in with an arsonist, and sexual addict–all whom engage in your typical plot. And the song goes: a mismatched group of people/friends/strangers, one with a psychotic/traumatic/dark/troubled past, gather at a castle/house/cabin/condo/ski lodge, to engage in a study/party/field trip, and one of them is offing the other.

Except this one has a digital twist. The scenario is happening in Molly’s mind, even when she’s not asleep. How? Why? You think they’d explain it to us? No. They don’t owe us an explanation. But the buck doesn’t stop there. Now Molly is less of a psycho and now more of a tortured hero seeking redemption. How can a person who was deemed insane in the first film seek redemption for something she has no recollection of? Why turn Molly from a surprise killer to a heroine? It’s almost as sloppy and inconsistent as when Damien went from “evil and loving it” in “Omen”, to “I’m evil? Since when?” in “Omen 2”. But what’s most amusing is “Ripper 2” goes from a slasher to a pseudo-existential and utterly nonsensical story about dreams, the subconscious, and psychology.

I won’t go in to real specifics, but basically Molly’s brain was sapped of its evil mojo, she’s watching people she barely knows be killed, overacts like she’s known them for years, and then it ends on a very ridiculous note that had me in tears. “Ha ha” tears, not “Dear god what a piece of shit” tears. I’m saving that for later. Erin Karpluk gives a horrible performance taking over for the scrumptious AJ Cook as Molly and sadly has zero talent. My only thought for the logic behind casting a horrible actress as she is that she kinda, sorta, maybe looks like Cook if you look out of the corner of your eye while half asleep. She gives a terrible performance lacking any charisma or appeal that Cook brought to her role, and really just phones it in, screaming at the top of her lungs half the time and failing to add any dimensions to Molly. Richard Bremmer channels Rutger Hauer, Angus Scrimm, and Gene Wilder from “Young Frankenstein” giving quite possibly the most over the top performance I’ve seen in years.

This man does nothing but gaze wide-eyed and speak in stilted Romanian accents while attempting to do something with Molly involving her brain. This plot makes no fucking sense! Regardless, “Ripper 2” is unnecessary, ridiculous, and just criminal. To watch “Ripper 2” is like being in a doctor’s waiting room. It’s loud, drawn out, pointless, you lose patience quickly, you begin to read anything at some point, you wonder if the people behind the scenes are asleep at the wheel, and you just want the people in your general scope of vision to die so it can end. That last one was kind of  disturbing. “Ripper 2” is a bad movie because its derivative, horribly acted, and has one of the most nonsensical stories I’ve ever seen in a film.