Shamelessly sausage-grinding sex and gore into an assembly-line, lady-in-peril thriller, INNER SANCTUM 2 is scripted and directed without evident inspiration. Yet, even if this low-ambition sequel merely revamps the OLD DARK HOUSE formula with the addition of heavy breathing, it doles out
a few surprises, and guessing the killer's identity is for once a challenge.
After surviving her husband's attempt on her life and killing him (see INNER SANCTUM), Jennifer Reed (Tracy Brooks Swope) now suffers from vivid fantasies in which her spouse, Baxter, returns from the dead. Could someone--either her shrink, Dr. Lamont (David Warner), her nurse Jane (Jennifer
Ciesar), or her handyman Mark (John E. Coleman)--be scheming to drive her crazy? As the unbalanced heroine grapples with reality, her brother-in-law Bill (Michael Nouri) and his contentious wife Sharon (Sandahl Bergman) become house guests. Together with the late Baxter's mistress, Anna Rollins
(Margaux Hemingway), Bill searches for the missing key to a safety deposit box in which Baxter stashed $500,000.
After Jennifer is nearly squashed by a falling flower pot, the suspect list dwindles, as we learn that Jane and Mark are actually insurance investigators. Dr. Lamont discovers that Jennifer's medication is being laced with hallucinogenic drugs, but he's slain with a hook outside the house. Mark
also gets the hook, and someone strangles Anna with a necktie, implicating Bill, who neverthless turns up headless in Jennifer's closet. Mad-as-a-hatter Sharon, who was also Baxter's lover, is the culprit. During a lethal cat fight, Sharon stabs Jane with the hook, but a surprisingly resilient
Jennifer hits Sharon with a vase and then manages to toss her out the window. As the cops arrive, the possibility surfaces that sole survivor Jennifer may be blamed for the massacre because of her recent psychiatric history.
A fairly good time can be had watching INNER SANCTUM 2 if your enjoyment of thrillers doesn't depend on plot logic, script tautness, or gimmick-free direction. What the film offers in their place is a grab bag of Grand Guignol gross-outs and soft core sexcapades. Suspense in this glandular
mystery is coitus interruptus: it gets in the way of Bill having sex with Sharon, Bill having sex with Anna, Mark having sex with Jane, and Jennifer having nightmares about having sex with her dead husband. There's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on, but it isn't from fear. Somehow, the whole gamut
of driving-me-crazy thriller cliches, deployed with reckless disregard for plausibility, can be fun. Yes, the heroine is helpless in her wheelchair. Yes, her tranquilizer is being Mickey-Finned. And, yes, her mooching relatives think relieving her of her fortune would be therapeutic. The
deliriously dumb INNER SANCTUM 2 may be thoroughly third-rate in cinematic and dramatic terms, but when a purely visceral thriller sets its sights so low, the pay-off needn't be all that high. (Extensive nudity, graphic violence, extreme profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Shamelessly sausage-grinding sex and gore into an assembly-line, lady-in-peril thriller, INNER SANCTUM 2 is scripted and directed without evident inspiration. Yet, even if this low-ambition sequel merely revamps the OLD DARK HOUSE formula with the addition… (more)