A powerful man, Marlo Stanfield of The Wire, once told a prison officer, “You want it to be one way. But it’s the other way.”
Now, of course he’s not in Coffin 2. But it might as well be the plot of the film. Rolling off of the rambunctious intrigue of Coffin, this sequel brings some major players back together to play with your expectations and kidnap a few folks along the way, again. There’s mutilation, pontification on poisonous “Jamaican ginger jake,” and even a thrilling scene involving a necklace. Trust me, it’s all there. I even wrote it down in my notes! A champion of being low budget and not caring about your bougie cinematic sensibilities, Coffin 2 walks down the runway serving you a little Saw and a lot more “we know it’s ridiculous, just enjoy the ride.”
“Sure, you can sit down and nitpick every flat line, sad-looking prop and painful exposition. But why would you?”
Picking up where Coffin left off: estranged husband-cum-murder-suspect Jack Samms (Patrick Barnitt) is in prison whilst conman Trick (Johnny Alonso) is still in the wind. Meanwhile, various supposedly unconnected people – including Trick – are kidnapped by Kid Rock’s older, more buff cousin, and apparent Deathstalker Killer, Buddy (Robert Allen Mukes). In a convoluted scheme, Buddy wants Samms released in exchange for the lives of his hostages. On the good guys’ side, two cops – one retired and one G-man fresh off a human trafficking investigation of young Beiber fans – try their bust to hunt Buddy down.
What follows is a series of mind games and varying jumps into subjective space.
On the latter: Coffin 2 enjoys camp but it also wants to be thrilling. So what better way to do this than with distorted sounds and various, scratchy footage scenes? In one case they serve an actual purpose. Buddy has flashbacks to two young blonde girls teasing him. It serves as a root of his potential psychosis…or maybe not? His backstory is irrelevant and is more about providing spooky vibes. Elsewhere, Coffin 2 provides these weird effects to add thematic weight to scenes involving Buddy’s stalking: a cop is kidnapped and paralyzed on a quiet train platform; a woman jogging on a trail, only to succumb to Buddy’s grasp.
“Coffin 2 enjoys camp but it also wants to be thrilling.”
As much as it screams “lazy!” and “corny!” to the less-forgiving viewer, I think these effects are all part of Coffin 2’s loving self-awareness. Director Kipp Tribble knows he’s making a dirt cheap melodramatic thriller knock off of Saw about seedy conmen, and he knows you know it too. So why not have fun? That mischievous wink, between director and audience, is what makes Coffin 2 enjoyable, if not a gem scrappy cinema. Sure, you can sit down and nitpick every flat line, sad-looking prop and painful exposition. But why would you? Coffin and Coffin 2 didn’t lie to you about what they are. So why belabor yourself with critiques that will only ruin your viewing?
Sometimes you just have to save your breath, press play, and pray you make it through without laughing until you cry. Which, honestly may be the best way to watch this movie.
Coffin 2 (2017) Directed by Kipp Tribble. Written by Kipp Tribble. Robert Allen Mukes, Michele Martin, Laura James, Johnny Alonso.
3.5 out of 5 Coffins