The stylized horror-comedy Dementia: Part II, written and directed by Matt Mercer and Mike Testin, pays homage to classic horror while showing off a unique voice. The film opens with a dramatic voice-over, an older man hammering out a confession on his typewriter. Then, with sarcastic gravitas, the man muses about returning to Canada and puts on his Mountie uniform with much flourish.
Wendell (Matt Mercer) is fresh out of prison and dodging aggressive calls from his parole officer. He gets a job as a handyman, and it isn’t long before, while making a house call, he meets the sweet, elderly Suzanne (Suzanne Voss). Unfortunately, her vibe is weird, as she forgets who Wendell is, mistakes him for her husband, and keeps over-tipping.
Dementia: Part II has the look of a low-budget indie movie, but the performances and dialogue were reason enough for me to enjoy it. Mercer and Voss are both natural, dry, goofy, unhinged at times, and sometimes all at once. Voss especially gives a performance that must have been a blast. She gets to run the gamut from sweet and welcoming to scared to seductive to… I can’t go further without ruining it. But, it’s the kind of flick that seemed like it must have been really fun to make, and that energy reaches the viewer.
“…her vibe is weird, she forgets who Wendell is, mistakes him for her husband…”
A personal love of mine is a great montage, and the handy work montage here is an absolute delight. I might have said, “Oh, this is great,” out loud. The sound design throughout is impressive too. The special effects add so much to the experience as well. The blood and gore don’t pay off in the way some may expect or hope for, but the effects are both retro and believable. Not sure how they worked that out, but hats off to the Mercer and Testin.
Using graphic special effects for things like drool or eating, or pulling something out of a drain, create a world where just about everything is disgusting. The retro gore effects and sound design really feel like the filmmakers are honoring their influences while making fun of them at the same time. Dementia: Part II successfully walks that line across the board.
The movie falls into some familiar traps, the story lacks urgency, and the characters don’t have much of an arc. But Dementia: Part II has noteworthy performances, amusing dialogue, fantastic effects, amazing sound, and a sense of humor that makes it worth a watch.
"…pays homage to classic horror while showing off a unique voice."