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DEMENTIA PART II (2018)
Directed & written by Matt Mercer, Mike Testin.
Starring Matt Mercer, Suzanne Voss, Najarra Townsend, Graham Skipper
After watching the trailer for DEMENTIA PART II, I imagined the film was being cute by saying it was a sequel and that there wasn’t an original. Turns out I was wrong. This is a sequel to 2015’s DEMENTIA by Mike Testin, a much more somber look at the disorder as it effects an elderly person and a person who provides care for him. The 2015 film takes a horrifying turn, but is a much more serious take on the subject matter. So, if you saw DEMENTIA, one might expect a similar tone for thew sequel, especially with the director returning. DEMENTIA PART II turns out to be a completely different beast. Let’s take a look at that beast, shall we?
Wendell (Matt Mercer) is down on his luck and in need of a job and cash. When an agency sends him to work as a handyman for an elderly woman, he expects an easy job. Instead, he meets Suzanne (Suzanne Voss), a reclusive widow who seems to be suffering from dementia. Wendell is patient with Suzanne, though she loses her train of thought and needs to be reminded as to why Wendell is there. But as the visit continues, it is apparent something is definitely wrong with Suzanne and her dementia is the least of Wendell’s problems.
DEMENTIA PART II is a wild and wonky gorefest. While it doesn’t go so far to make fun of the elderly and the breakdown of one’s senses and personality through age, it does take the subject matter from a lighthearted angle. Sure you feel for Suzanne, as she does seem to be an innocent victim of her own age and health. But this isn’t a necessarily somber or morose sort of film. If dementia is a disease that you’ve had experience with, the boppy and bloody way this film takes it might prove to be too much for you.
That said, I had a blast with DEMENTIA PART II. It’s all kinds of wrong but entertained me in all the right ways. Matt Mercer has been in many, many films you’ve likely seen if you’ve paid attention to horror over the last few years. His biggest films most likely were the CONTRACTED series. Here he takes the lead and offers up a likable performance as an everyman in a bad situation. Sure, he takes advantage and doesn’t correct the old lady when she tips him in $100 bills thinking they are $10’s but given his desperate situation and the shit he has to endure while trying to get a simple job done, I’d say he puts in the time for the extra money. Those who follow my reviews will know I have experience as a therapist and counselor and seem various types of clients through the years. Early on, I realized working with the elderly was not for me as I found the whole experience to be something that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s my own fear of growing old. Maybe I had issues with the clients confusing me with their son or husband or whomever. Maybe the sexual advances I got ooked me out. Most likely, it was all three. But DENENTIA PART II does a pretty solid job of illustrating why I chose to work with adults, teens, and kids as a lot of what Wendell endures, I experienced myself in the short time I worked with the elderly.
The gore in DEMENTIA PART II is over the top and played for laughs. Guts are slid out of bodies like a clown hankerchief, all kinds of slimy goo is felt, splattered, and spread about the hands and mouth, and there is blood spurting about in all directions. You’ve got to admire the cast for really getting down and dirty here as some of these gore sequences would have had me losing my lunch. Though it is filmed in black and white, the gore is as vivid as it comes.
Right away, DEMENTIA PART II lets the viewer know this is not really a film to be taken seriously as it has the exact same title sequence as FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II, exploding title card and all. There is also a reference to SCHINDLER’S LIST that is downright brilliant and all sorts of wrong. I kind of admire what Mike Testin has done with his sequel to DEMENTIA. By pairing up with Matt Mercer, he delivers another tale of the slipping of the mind, but from a completely different and entertaining angle. Who knows where the next one will be? Maybe a drama in space? Or a musical? Mercer and Testin have proved that they can tell a similar tale from a totally different corner of genres with DEMENTIA PART II and made it a disturbingly wrong thrill-ride to boot. Clocking in at a little over an hour, DEMENTIA PART II manages to breezily poke fun and churn stomachs like few other films.