HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER PART II
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part II was greeted with a host of scathing reviews when it came out. Chuck Parello tries to approximate John McNaughtons raw violence but fails to come anywhere near the disturbing quality that the original held. In the first few minutes, Parello throws in a rape scene between two guys in a homeless shelter but this, while it feels like it should have shock value, is not convincingly presented and seems forced in the attempt to shock us. Other scenes like the confrontation between Rick Komenich and his neighbours seems far too banal as opposed to the rawness with which John McNaughton would have directed the scene, Chuck Parellos handling seems far too composed, consisting merely of measured reaction shots between the actors.
The film does pick up somewhat with the introduction of the torch element. Here Parello starts to take Henry into an interestingly new direction. And to be fair to Chuck Parello, there is the odd scene that does seem to touch upon something of John McNaughtons Henry like the snapping of the squeegee derelicts neck, which has a moderate brutality, although still lacks the rawness and blankness of the original. During the latter half when the character tensions emerge, the film at least settles in with some passable effect. On its own, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part II might have been an okay film but as a follow-up to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer it comes as a big disappointment.
A large part of the Henry Part IIs failure comes in Chuck Parello having recast the title role with Neil Giuntoli. In Neil Giuntolis Henry, there is little of the sullen and brooding violence that came in Michael Rookers performance in the original. There are a couple of moments where Giuntoli manages some of the grim monologues that Rooker did so memorably. Mostly though, the surprisingly short Giuntoli comes across as far too cleancut. He is more like a college kid who at most seems unhappy about life than the dangerously violent killer that we saw in Michael Rookers performance.
With the pairing of Neil Giuntoli and Rick Komenich, Chuck Parello tries to replicate the relationship between Henry and Otis in the original. However, the two actors have a different dynamic, Rick Kommenich being a much stronger personality than Tom Towles Otis. Tracy Arnolds Becky has been replaced by two different women the much more assured Kate Walsh as Rick Komenichs wife and Carri Levinson as the shy, socially introverted Louisa who becomes fixated on Henry and unbalanced after he rejects her. Both Rick Komenich and Kate Walsh, later a regular on Greys Anatomy (2005 ) and the lead in its spinoff Private Practice (2007 ), give strong performances.
It is also interesting to contrast the social backdrops of the two films. Henry was set in urban Chicago; on the other hand, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part II is set against the backdrop of small backwater towns. Henrys setting was an urban anonymity, Henry Part IIs setting is of American blue collar nowhere towns where homelessness is rife and where the working grit their teeth in unpitying labouring jobs and the major pastime seems to be drinking beer. The start of the film sees Henry in a homeless shelter, while much of his violence seems to target the homeless and urban underclass kids squatting in empty buildings, squeegee derelicts. Here Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part II seems to suggest something of the socially dissolute Nowheresville USA world of Rivers Edge (1986) where violence seemed a reaction against a hopeless future. Chuck Parello seems to be making the comment that outside the borderlines of middle-class society, the psychological norms that the rest of America operate by have broken down and the world of the disenfranchised is the perfect hunting ground for someone like Henry.
Buy this film from Dark Sky Films
Full film available online here:-