Stepfather II (1989) directed by Jeff Burr
Well, I think the Stepfather concept is probably best limited to one film. What else can you really do with it? Terry O'Quinn moves to a new town, finds a new single mom to woo and then goes crazy. It's probably not necessary to sit through such a story more than once, no matter how fun O'Quinn is to watch in the role.
I also have a theory that the Stepfather's organs are reversed. In the first film, he gets stabbed in the upper-left side of the chest. In the this one, he gets stabbed in that area twice, once with a wedding cake knife and a second time with the claw end of a hammer. There's no way his heart is on the left side. No way. He's definitely a reverse person. Maybe that's why he kills? (6/10)
Dance of the Dead (2008) directed by Gregg Bishop
The second Ghost House movie is a whole bunch of fun. I'm pretty confident this'll be one of those movies the high school-aged kids of today will get all nostalgic about twenty years from now. It has a feeling that reminds me of '80s horror movies from when I was a kid. Maybe this is partially because Dance of the Dead bears a little bit of similarity to The Return of the Living Dead. Both feature zombies -- and science class animals -- resurrected by some kind of toxic waste chemical, both are funny and both have the brains-eating type of zombies. This is also the first "fast zombie" movie where the speedy zombies didn't bother me. I especially liked the scene in which the dead literally fly out of their graves; it's quite beautiful. I'll be picking this one up. (8/10)
Saw IV (2007) directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
I'm so disappointed Jigsaw's really dead. That means the only way we get to see him in the next three movies is through conveniently discovered video and audio tapes. That's going to get had to buy by part VII. Weak. I'm sure there'll be more flashbacks featuring John Kramer as well, but I really can't imagine what else we need to know about the guy's past. This movie gives us his secret origin: a junkie killed his unborn son. I can't think of anything else we'd need know about him. Maybe the series will surprise me?
I do like that they're trying something new for every movie. It'd be very easy just to have Jigsaw teach a new set of people a lesson each movie as he did in the first. I suppose that's what he's still doing now, but at least it's from a different perspective. This time, he attempts to get Sgt. Rigg to help with his lessons. Which I found hard to swallow. Sure, Rigg is very motivated to avenge Kerry and find Det. Matthews. Sure, a guy who films himself raping and killing women is pure scum and deserves justice. But, strapping him into a Jigsaw device? Really, a policeman trying to stop Jigsaw is going to do that? I don't buy it. (6/10)