Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 6th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1988
Director: Chuck Parello
Cast: Neil Giuntoli, Rich Komenich, Kate Walsh, Carri Levinson, Daniel Aller
DVD released: September 26th, 2006
Approximate running time: 85 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Henry (Neil Giuntoli) after spending a night in a homeless shelter decides to get a job and better himself. He finds work at portable toilet company where he befriends a co-worker named Kai who by the end of their first day working together invites Henry to live with him tell Henry can get back on his feet again. Henry soon learns about Kai’s alter ego as an arsonist for hire. Kai needing help with his arson jobs asks Henry to help him. During one of their arson jobs they discover two junkies squatting in the building they are about to light up in flames. Henry knowing the importance of not leaving witness behind gets Kai to help him kill the two junkies. Kai now an accomplice is dragged into Henry’s world of depravity from which no one is safe.
Over the last twenty years no film has gained as much controversy as Director John McNaughton’s 1986 film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It was one of most realistic depiction of a serial killer ever committed to film. The film was also blessed by the brilliant performance of Michael Rooker in one of his first roles as the films lead Henry. Flash forward twelve years enter writer/director Chuck Parello with his take on what Henry is up too all these years later.
Making sequels is never an easy proposition. Many times they end up being just rehashes or bigger versions of what we had already seen before. Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer right off the bat had two key ingredients missing that were integral to the first films success. These being a new director instead of John McNaughton and most importantly the loss if Michael Rooker as Henry.
Chuck Parello screenplay for the film while being pretty straight forward even by horror film standards at least the Henry character retains the qualities that we have come to expect from this character. As good as Actor Neil Giuntoli is as Henry in the film he never totally embraces the character like Michael Rooker did. The film is greatly benefited from Chuck Parello’s solid direction. The rest of the cast are more then adequate. The deaths in the films are extremely gory and often sadistic in tone. This film also suffers from too much déjà vu as you can see most of what is going to happen a mile away and there is really nothing in this film that ever catches the viewer off guard.
Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Outside of some minor edge enhancement colors look strong and black levels remain solid through out.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital stereo surround. Both audio mixes are in English. The audio is in great shape and there are no problems with any audio defects or hiss.
Extras for this release include a still gallery and trailers for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Both films are currently available on DVD from Dark Sky Films. This release also comes with twenty eight minute of deleted scenes which help flesh out the characters and the story. Other extras include a fifteen minute featurette titled “H2: The Making of a Madman” which includes interviews with the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with the films director Chuck Parello who discusses a wide variety of subjects like the first Henry film and working on its sequel.
Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer gets a solid DVD release from Dark Sky Films. Outside of some shocking moments which contain excessive gore the film is a rather pedestrian affair which fails to replicate the magic created by its predecessor.
For more information about Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer and other titles released by Dark Sky Films visit their website.