Abducted 2: The Reunion

Director: Boon Collins               
Dan Haggerty, Jan Michael Vincent, Raquel Bianca

This Canadian made direct to video movie made the news in Canada several years after it was made, when American radio shock jock Howard Stern brought up the movie on his radio show. He said he liked it, admitting it wasn't great art or anything, but it did the job, and he gave it his ringing endorsement (which thrilled the producers, according to the news article I read.) While I don't think Abducted 2: The Reunion is deserving of a hearty rave like Stern's, I think there's enough sleaze and entertainment value to give it a recommendation. It may not be a movie to put first on your list, but it will more than do when you've seen all of your first choices

I haven't seen the original Abducted, though from what I've heard, it seems to have been inspired by the true life story from several years back of Olympic biathlon athlete Kari Swenson, who was kidnapped in a forest by mountain men who wanted a wife. The limited information in this sequel suggests that in the previous movie, crazed mountain man Vern (Lawrence King) kidnapped a woman runner in the forest, and in the end was killed by Joe (Haggerty), who happened to be his father. In this sequel, several years have gone by, and Joe has returned to the same area, as a guide for big game hunter Brad (Vincent), though I would have thought they would be going to a retreat for alcoholics, being deep in the wilderness. Brad's character is established early in the movie when he almost runs three women off the road when passing their car. "I just like to go fast," he explains to the women when they catch up to him later, eerily almost making a prophecy about the car accident Vincent would have several years later, when he tried to run his girlfriend off the road in real life during a drunken rage.

The three women are actually the main characters in the movie; since Haggerty and Vincent only appear sporadically throughout the movie, and don't really do a thing for the plot, I think we can safely assume they were just hired for their "star power". The story concerns those three women, who were friends during their schooling in Europe, and have come to the woods for a reunion. ("Why couldn't we have gone somewhere civilized like Geneva?" complains Maria in her impossibly thick accent. The acting by all three women, by the way, is pretty horrible, though fortunately it's mostly amusing.) They hike up to Harmony Lake National Park and camp down for the night. However, they don't know what we've already guessed - Vern is alive, and he's still one horny bastard. He comes upon the women's camp, and then grabs and ties up one women at a time, pausing only to kill the male hiker in the same general area, whose purpose of being in the movie seems only to have been so the movie could deliver a gratuitous murder for the audience.

Shortly after the women have been tied up, Lawrence King goes berserk with his character. For the next few minutes in front of the women, Vern shrieks "Haaaa!" noises, sticks out his tongue, does a ludicrous dance around a fire, humps the ground, and goes through the women's packs. "Ohhhhh, ya got nice things!!!!! I LIKE!!!!" The character of Vern is the best thing about the movie, and whenever he's allowed to do something, the results are always quite entertaining. Dressed in furs and deer antlers, screaming and rolling his eyes, King doesn't take his character or the movie the least bit seriously, which is a wise thing in this movie. Abducted 2 is filled with a number of things that are either silly or gratuitous - sometimes both. It turns out one of the women knows martial arts, so the next day, when Vern is taking the women through the woods (and gets one of the women to do a striptease during a break), the women then suddenly attacks him with a succession of karate kicks, then she escapes into the woods by doing multiple cartwheels. It's even sillier than it reads here. What's even sillier is what the movie does to show the characters in states of undress. A sex scene with nudity is accomplished by Vern forcing one of the women to tell about the first time she had sex, which brings in a flashback of her having sex with her boyfriend by a fire. This does nothing for the plot, by the way. Another scene has a woman hearing the sound of a helicopter, and yelling, "It's a plane"(!)*, and she runs into a clearing, taking off her shirt so she can wave to it. Even when the women are clothed, the director likes to place the women close together and get giggly, so they can provide some jiggle.

The screenwriting of Abducted 2 is wonderfully cheesy; one of the women actually asks the drooling Vern, "What's your sign?", and Vern at one point says, "I know every valley and every drop of bird s**t in it!" When the women decide to fight back, one growls, "I know what I have to do now - I have to think like him!" Someone even says at one point, "You die!" There's a character named "Jack Webster", which will bring chuckles to Canadians (sorry, Americans, and people of other nationalities.) There are some laughs also in the technical work; there is stock footage of animals and mountains that was obviously shot by someone else, from looking at the grain in the film and the different weather in these shots. It was also funny in one scene when the camera is supposed to be a P.O.V. shot from Vern's eyes (with the clichéd creepy "HA-ha-ha-ha-ha" sound on the soundtrack); the view is from an angle which would suggest Vern is crouched down, yet he's somehow able to move as fast as if he was standing up. Overall, though, the movie (which cost one million dollars - Canadian) isn't that badly shot; though it resembles Canadian TV dramas at times, it's nowhere as bad as in Act Of War. It's pretty easy to hide a low budget in a movie that take place in the wilderness, and director Collins generally does a good job, though occasionally there's an embarrassing sign of the low budget, such as an offscreen explosion, and a recently decapitated goat's head that seems to have been ripped off a plaque from someone's trophy room.

After a first half that pretty much zips along, the movie bogs down considerably. Haggerty and Vincent's characters start popping up in the useless subplot; nothing they say or do in their scenes is really that interesting - it seems they are not only there for their "star power", but to pad out the running time to 91 minutes. Seeing them bumble around and not doing much, I was strongly reminded of that boring subplot about those two feeble-minded cops in Last House On The Left. Without their scenes, the movie would be considerably shorter. A large chunk of the film is wasted with Vern holding one of the women captive in is hidden cave. It's a pretty boring sequence (maybe that's why the aforementioned sex scene was placed here.) I can understand why the climax of the movie leaves room for another sequel, but I would have preferred it if they had at least done it with more energy. Overall, though, I think there's enough energy elsewhere, and enough nonsense to make this worth a look when you can't find your top choices. I would think the same even if the movie wasn't filmed that far away from my city.

* Yes, yes, I know that technically, helicopters are considered airplanes (the rotors are the wings)....but do you immediately think "an airplane" when you hear a helicopter?

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See also: Rituals, Survival Quest, Skinheads