Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer | Chicago Reader

Henry 2: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Both a sequel to and a remake of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990), this horror drama is restrained and serious, shying away from tension-breaking laughter and avoiding many obvious opportunities for on-screen gore. The characterization of Henry (Neil Giuntoli), who's practiced killing with impunity for years, is based on genre stereotypes, yet his mechanistic behavior becomes as much a comment on the conventions as an exploitation of them; like him, the other characters are as persuasive as they are stereotypical. Kai (Rich Komenich), an arsonist for hire, is the moral center of the story—he's compelled to make sure Henry understands the difference between a mercenary interest in burning down buildings and the compulsions of thrill-seeking firebugs. As Kai methodically teaches Henry the arsonist's trade, he doesn't seem to realize that Henry's gradually teaching him the dark hobby of random violence. Kai's wife, Cricket (Kate Walsh), is in some ways the most disturbing character; her frustration, ennui, and misguided compassion are painfully evident in the way she keeps house, cares for her abandoned niece (Carri Levinson), and manages the portable-toilet service where Henry has found a job—and found friendship with people too quick to trust him. Written and directed by Chuck Parello.

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