The second film of this planned trilogy doesn’t really change a significant amount as far as the style or story goes, but at the same time, it doesn’t set itself apart from the first one that much either, and toward the end, sort of goes a bit overboard on explaining some things.
Pretty much everything decent about the first movie is decent here – the multiple media forms (such as YouTube videos, a morning talk show, interviews, etc), the subtle creepy scenes, the setting itself – but there’s little here that wasn’t in the first movie, and the stuff that was added doesn’t much help the film a whole lot.
I think the biggest problem is toward the end, in which a sequence takes place that throws all subtly out the window, and instead makes obvious what could have mostly been inferred already. The scene felt unnecessary to our understanding of the story, and it was just too much. Instead of that, if they had thrown in some more creepy clown scenes, I think I would have been happy.
I do like all of the references to the characters from the first movie, and the fact that they expand a bit on one of the unanswered questions the first movie brought forth. Shining a light a bit on Alex’s motivations, both in the middle of the film and with the flashbacks at the conclusion, really add something that I thought was actually relevant.
Personally, I feel that if you’re a fan of the first movie, as I definitely was, this isn’t really all that different. True, I feel the first movie has a more mysterious and creepy, uneasy vibe to it, especially given that in this film, most people agree that the hotel isn’t the safest place to be, and it dampens the suspense. Still, it’s mostly a clone of the first film, which is both a good thing, as it does many of the same things right, but it also doesn’t seem to try and be more.
If you liked the first one, you’ll possibly like this one, as apart from the unnecessary sequence toward the end, there’s not a whole lot of differences.