Jack’s back !in a premise that would have Pinhead looking on and thinking…”this seems a tad familiar”

A desperate woman plays with an old antique box which results in the release of a muderous creature from our nightmares, who demands a human sacrifice to restore a dying wish may seem like the plot from Clive Baker’s seminal 80’s classic Hellraiser, but instead its for this, a sequel to the 2019 surprisingly popular British slasher creature flick The Jack In The Box which delivers a more polished follow up, even though the plot stays the same.

While this lacks the charm, horror and the downright class or should that be dirtiness of Pinhead, returning director and writer Laurence Fowler at least goes for a “if it isn’t broke” approach for this sequel, even though he does play with the mythology a bit that was originally set out in the original.

Unlike before which was basically a straight slasher film, here we have a different set a rules as the film starts with the dying Olga Marsdale (Nicola Wright), a very rich collector who just happens to know the history of a certain Jack in the Box toy and buys it for hefty price. We are told now that the box can also grant a wish, in this instance for a second chance of a life and so she winds up the handle, turns the letters on the box from JACK to LIFE and soon the box is open and a freaky hands appear.

This Jack doesn’t just give a life for free, he needs something back and to achieve her wish, she has to sacrifice six lives for it to be granted and soon, thanks to help of her snivelling Mummy’s boy son Edgar (Matt McClure) those who live in the remote large mansion, where the gates are locked and there is a curfew at 9pm, are in huge danger!

As with every slasher there has to be a final girl and could she be the newly hired housemaid Amy (Mollie Hindle), who has just split up with her boyfriend and basically want’s to start afresh? Of course she is, but first we have to go through the obligatory death scenes of unimportant characters before we reach the final battle.

Any horror fan sitting down to watch a film based on a toy can’t have reason to moan at what is being offered. Fowler to his credit delivers a much better looking film than the previous, with the script a lot tighter even though the attempt to give this bogeyman a laughable backstory robs the mystique of the character much to the annoyance of us fans everywhere.

What he hasn’t learned is that once more for a slasher film is that they live or die (excuse the pun) by the death scenes and much like before the killings are lame, with the camera cutting away from the “kill-point” and while there is some lashings of gore, it won’t be enough to appease the gore-hounds who are looking for a bit of bite to make up for the lack of scares.

If you are a slasher fan you’ll never get bored watching a clown like creature stalking his prey and it will no doubt find a fanbase who appreciated the bloodbath the first time around, but those looking for a more serious horror or even a slasher that offers fun and some creative kills will no doubt watch and soon forget they did once the final credits roll and will only remember the franchise when a third film rears its ugly head in a years time.

For those who love their B horror cheap and easy…..

2 Hatchets out of 5