Saturday, 28 January 2012

Poison Ivy II: Lily (1996)

I knew that I was risking seeing something awful by watching the sequels to Poison Ivy but I didn't think that the dip in quality would be so quick and so steep. I should have known, after my experience with the other films in the Wild Things series, but I remain ever the optimist.

Things were looking bad from the very beginning. The movie starts off with a bit of raunchiness. Now I like to see a bit of raunchiness and I'm all for plenty of nudity in the right context but when a movie opens with such shenanigans then it either goes one of two ways. A) You can have a movie chock full of sex and nudity and fun or B) You can have a movie that has very little going for it and puts a sex scene right at the start of the film to capture unwary, casual viewers. This movie definitely went with option B.

Alyssa Milano stars as Lily Leonetti, a reserved young girl who has arrived at a California college to study art. Her teacher (played by Xander Berkeley) takes quite a shine to her. Art is created, passions rise and Lily transforms herself, helped by a box that she finds containing the diary of a girl called Ivy. Other people are involved, there is some nudity here and there and everything is just so crushingly dull that I can barely stay awake to write the end of this review.

It's a horrible, inept movie that replaces the psychological tricks and dramas of the first film with poor character changes and a cast of folk that audiences will struggle to sympathise with. Sara Gilbert was the focus in the first movie, even as she was (and also BECAUSE she was) being overshadowed by Drew Barrymore. In this sequel, we just have Alyssa Milano acting quite foolishly, Xander Berkeley being pretty unpleasant and Johnathon Schaech being moody.

The script by Chloe King is dire, more in line with her work on "The Red Shoe Diaries" than the preceding movie, and the direction by Anne Goursaud shows the same attitude and approach to the material. An awful soundtrack is the cherry on top.

Undemanding viewers may enjoy watching this for the fleeting moments in which Alyssa Milano get partially nude but everyone else would do best to just avoid it altogether.


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