“Creepshow 2” is the rare sequel that’s better than the original in some ways, but is held back from greatness nevertheless. First, the good: Director Michael Gornick is a stronger director than George A. Romero (who directed the 1982 original), so the stories are tighter and more entertaining, while the shortened running time improves on the original’s pacing issues. Unfortunately, the acting here is so poor that it consistently takes the viewer out of the experience: In the first story “Ol’ Chief Wooden Head,” the viewer is treated to a supernatural revenge tale with an effective setting and a number of fascinating shots, but the tale’s entire cast is piss-poor (including George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour), and it just spoils the whole thing. “The Raft” is truly terrifying and hopeless (with a killer ending), but all four of its cast members seem like rank amateurs, and there’s no one to root for, which negates any stakes. Finally, “The Hitchhiker” rises above the others thanks to Lois Chiles’ strong performance, but her dialogue is forced and stiff, which hurts its overall effectiveness. So while the overall experience is stronger than the original, there are several drawbacks that hurt the narrative, and ultimately the movie is weakened by the sum of its parts.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)