Let’s see what’s happening in this new series.

Timo Tjahjanto’s sequel to the competent but nothing special ode to Evil Dead that is May the Devil Take You seems to double down on the issues of the first movie.

We once again fall Alfie and Nara who survived the first film and managed to (seemingly) break the curse over their family. However, Alfie is haunted still and seems to be taking an awful lot of medications. This time though, we don’t care about Alfie’s problems—we’ve got orphans to think about!

A group of orphans are being haunted by their long dead caretaker who abused them. They know something supernatural is happening and decide the best thing to do is to kidnap Alfie and Nara and force them to provide aid.

Let’s really think about that one for a minute. Alfie is obviously furious at being kidnapped but she gets over it quite quickly. She never chastises the idiots for putting her sister/adopted daughter in such danger. The whole thing is so remarkably stupid that I’m not sure the film recovers from this terrible writing decision. Everything that follows afterword, even the stuff that works, is tainted by this completely asinine setup.

After doing a ritual to help the orphans (for no reason—she has no reason to do any of this) the spirit gets stronger and now we’re basically in the same movie as the first one. Once again, the practical effects are fantastic, and the moment-to-moment tension works. Tjahjanto’s style is visceral and fast. There are a couple genuinely good scares here. Unfortunately, it is all marred by the complete stupidity of the characters and the script.

Sprinkle in some telegraphed twists and we basically watch to see how many of the orphans will die and which ones will end up being in the third installment. I’d talk more about the orphans, but they mostly run together. They’re all about equally unlikable, stupid, and since we give them all a uniform back story there’s not much point in distinguishing them.

The flaws of the writing overtake the good stuff, which sucks. If the script had been cleaned up we’d have a gory and derivative slab of horror that would at least be entertaining. I like Alfie and think Chelsea Islan does bring a lot of emotional heft to the character. I wish I wasn’t invested—these movies aren’t great, but I’ll watch the third one when it comes out sooner or later. Don’t want to, but I will.

For you though, I say skip it.

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