Festival Coverage, Movie Interviews

The Soska Twins on See No Evil 2, feminism, and typecasting

Soska Twins

Apart from their striking beauty, apart from their tremendously open and genuine personalities, the Soska Twins are fans of movies. By that, they are hyper aware of what makes some films work and where some fail. Horror may be the medium in which they mold their art, but  their tools are the years of films before them. In between our in depth discussions about The Raid 2 and Lars Von Trier films (which I may post at a later date), we got got to discuss their latest film, See No Evil 2.

The Soska’s follow up to their 2013 surprise hit, American Mary, might not be exactly what the odds makers would have bet on. See No Evil 2 is the sequel – yeah, they made the sequel – to the WWE vehicle starring wrestler Kane about a man plucking out the eyes of anyone who comes to set foot in the abandoned hotel he has since called his home.

To the Soska Twins, it is no surprise that this is the next step in their career. Even though one believed there was a market for the genre they inadvertently created with American Mary - Medical Body-Horror – after it performed well and found a thriving audience, that genre was the only script Hollywood was sending them. But they had just made that film, they said what needed saying, and it was time for a change.

Sifting through script after script that was too close to their last film, their agent finally insisted they read the script to See No Evil 2. It was an easy sell for Sylvia & Jen Soska, who have been fans of the WWE back when it was still the WWF. They reminisce that they started watching around the time Kane was introduced. Coupled with the fact that they were fully immersed in the thriving slasher horror hey-day of the 80s, this was a chance to break out of the corner they were pigeon-holed in.

Soska Twins

See No Evil / Lions Gate Entertainment

The have a love for WWE’s Kane, and the character of Jacob Goodnight, yet feel that the first film “fell a little short of” creating a character that was closer to the legends like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers. For fans of the original film – or those who might not be – they insist that they evolved the starring-antagonist, Jacob Goodnight, to be more aligned with their dream of making him a horror icon. His look has changed, they had theme music created (as all the greats should), and came up with an array of weapons. They hope everyone will be surprised by the film.

The joy, they said, of making See No Evil 2 was the amount of room they were given to make the film they imagined. Where American Mary was ultra low budget and involved the producers declining many of their blue-sky requests, the producers of the WWE film gave them quite a lot of room to move. This allowed the Ladies (with a capital ‘L’) to create their own slasher film that might just bring the genre back up to its heights that it soared 30 years ago.

“A Kind of Love Letter to Slasher films,” and no slasher film is complete without the great Danielle Harris, arguably one of the most famous modern age scream queens, from the Halloween remake, and the Hatchet series. But you also will get to see Katharine Isabelle, of American Mary and Ginger Snaps fame, and Chelan Simmons, of Final Destination 3. With the hopes to change how the audience perceives women in horror, the Soska Twins tried to create smart women who will give Jacob a run for his money. The kind of characters, not just women, who wouldn’t investigate some forbidding sound just for the sake of propelling a weak story. Intelligent human beings reacting to abnormal, horrifying incidents.

Soska Twins

American Mary / IndustryWorks Pictures

Of course, that has been the ultimate crack in most horror films, the lack of credible characters, and more so, the lack of intelligent strong female characters. In many cases most women are either fall inside two characteristics: The virgin (innocent, demure, needs their strong boyfriend to save them, screams a lot), and the slut (foul-mouthed, aggressive, makes unintelligent decisions because they are the opposed of what the virgin would do, ends up dead every time). So these intelligent writer-directors making this cognizant decision, and for their producers to allow it, is certainly worth giving the film a looksee. Will they pass the Bechdel Test? Look for See No Evil 2 this fall.

Jen & Sylvia Soska will start filming this Summer on a yet to be announced project, which they claim will also be a departure for them. Look for that news in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can see the Soska Twins latest work in their ABC’s of Death 2 segment, “Writer.”

James C.

  • Jean-François Martel

    i am so excited for this movie. Though something i hope in the future would be the inclusion of well developed characters of color, which tends to be heavily missing from horror (and cinema in general).

    • http://www.tackercochrane.com James C

      You said it Jean-Francois, Of course, and unfortunately, most Producers treat horror like porn, the characters are not what, they think people are coming to see. Just throw in a bunch of stereotypes (not even archetypes) put words in their mouths, kill them… repeat. Curious, could you name movies in the horror genre when they had characters of colour did more than just fill a space? I was thinking Cabin in the Woods.