Just as Skinford: Death Sentence was shot simply as Skinford in 2017, Skinford 2: The Curse began life in Australia under the less sensational title Skinford: Chapter Two in 2018. Enter Black Mandala, who picked them up, dusted them off and gave them a new title for release outside their home country.
For those who haven’t seen the first film, Skinford 2: The Curse opens with a recap via footage from it, as well as various newspaper clippings under the credits. That gives way to Jimmy “Skinny” Skinford (Joshua Brennan, The Long Road Home, Bloody Hell) trying to get a place where he and Zophia (Charlotte Best, Dome House Six, Rising Wolf) can lie low after the events of the first film.
That’s because not only is his father Guy (Ric Herbert, Jungle Girl & the Lost Island of the Dinosaurs, Interceptor) still alive and desperate to steal Zophia’s immortality, so is Kovac (Coco Jack Gillies, Mad Max: Fury Road, Maya the Bee: The Honey Games) who wants revenge for having half her face blown off. In fact, a large portion of Sydney’s underworld are after them, and they need to stay alive long enough to figure out what to do about it.
Writer/director Nik Kacevski (Soulmate, Engineered) intercuts this with Zophia’s backstory. Posing as a maid in order to rob wealthy artist Helen (Jess Bush, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Playing For Keeps) of her jewellery. However, when she’s caught rather than be turned over to the police, she’s offered a contract to serve as Helen’s model. But of course, as with any kind of deal like this, there’s a catch.
Between Jimmy and Zophia’s current situation, the story of Zophia and Helen and all the various conflicts the events of the first film set into motion, Skinford 2: The Curse has a lot going on. Perhaps a bit too much, as the cutting between all of them keeps the film feeling a bit disjointed, especially where new characters like The Tailor (Barry Quin, Prisoner, Superman Returns), and Axton (Adam Saunders, Blue Water High, Hard Target 2) who turns up in Helen’s old house talking about Zophia’s portrait, are involved.
There’s also not nearly the same amount of manic action scenes as there were in the original. That’s probably because rather than being a reasonably self-contained sequel, Skinford 2: The Curse is very much the second film of what is meant to have been a trilogy and spends much of its time offering exposition and setting up the next chapter.
That ends up leaving most of the plot threads hanging, and the film ends on a cliffhanger with multiple stories unresolved, one of which is revealed during the credits. There hasn’t been a third film in the five years since Skinford 2 was filmed, whether the international release of the films will produce enough interest and revenue to get one made remains to be seen.
The result is an interesting, but frustrating and ultimately disappointing film that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The tone of the flashbacks with its beautiful pastoral setting is a direct contrast to the gritty urban locations of the present day story. And whatever kind of arcane arts are responsible for cursing the characters with immortality isn’t well integrated with the gangster elements. I assume that would have been handled in the third film, but as noted, it never happened.
If you liked Skinford: Death Sentence, then you’ll still probably want to see the sequel. It’s not a disaster, and it does have its moments. There’s just not nearly as many of them as there were in the first film. If you haven’t seen it, go and watch it first, then decide if you want to see Part 2.