The Bad Movie Report

Octopus 2: River of Fear

Guest Review by "The Foywonder"
Scott Foy

"When Animals Attack Week" is what I believe the USA Network hyped that week of movie debuts featuring a different man-eating, possibly super-sized animal each night. You want a surefire sign that a movie probably isn’t very good? When a movie made for the home video market debuts on either the USA Network or the Sci-Fi Channel before being released on home video then the odds of it sucking are very high. Such was the case of Octopus, Crocodile, Spiders, and Shark Attack 2 as they each made their broadcast debuts this particular week on the channel that gave us Pacific Blue. Much could be said about this cinematic quartet, but for the sake of time I am just going to focus on the one that ties into this review, Octopus. I swear I tried to watch it all the way through, but it was so crappy that it ended up being one of those movies that was just on while I did something else and occasionally I would look up when it seemed like something of note was happening. I didn’t look up very much. For the record though, it had something to do with terrorists, a cruise ship, and a gigantic killer octopus spawned by nuclear radiation. This movie was not franchise material, but we do live in a world where there have been eight Puppet Master movies so clearly anything is possible.

So it was a late Sunday evening when I was checking a website listing the upcoming video releases for the week and much to my shock and horror there was a listing for an Octopus 2 and a brief description about a giant octopus attacking Manhattan. God help us all - it exists.I immediately looked it up on IMDB to confirm that this wasn’t some sort of sick joke. Nope, it was for real. Despite every fiber of my being telling me that this movie was going to suck beyond any and all human comprehension, I was actually psyched about seeing it. Maybe I was just crossing my fingers in hope that someone had finally made an octopus version of Jaws that was actually worth watching? Maybe I was still in the mood for another goofy man-eating monster in the water movie? Heck, I actually enjoyed the hell out of the gloriously ludicrous Beneath Loch Ness which you can read about in my regular bad movie reviewing gig over at the New Orleans Worst Film Festival’s homepage. Or maybe, most likely, I am just a glutton for punishment? Whatever my motivation was, I was at my local video store bright an early to pick up a copy of Octopus 2: River Of Fear. Before the film there were previews for Crocodile 2 and Spiders 2. If what I saw in those trailers was any indication of the quality of the feature I was about to watch, let’s just say I already knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. I thought sequels were so supposed to look bigger and better not cheaper and crappier?

Octopus 2: River Of Fear opens with the logo for Nu Image Productions, who seem to have the same sort of fetish for big, killer animals that Full Moon Productions has for miniaturized murderers. We are then treated to the opening credits featuring the names of people I’ve never heard of and will probably never hear from again except for producers Avi Lerner and Boaz Davidson. This dynamic duo has brought us such cinematic works as Replicant, Ticker, the Cyborg Cop series, Miami Hustle, Crocodile, Spiders, and the immortal Alien From L.A. and Mr. Davidson himself can also take credit for being the writer/director of one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, American Cyborg: Steel Warrior. Well, here’s one more entry on their filmography from Hell as I begin the only Octopus 2 review you’ll ever need.

Yet another video box far more exciting than its contents.
Yet another video box far more exciting than its contents.
Yet another video box far more exciting than its contents.

Our story begins at night with a homeless man witnessing a couple on a pier on the East River being dragged to their watery graves by giant tentacles. Elsewhere on the East River, some Harbor Patrol officers are putting on their scuba gear and preparing to bust a big time drug dealer. It is here that we are introduced to our hero, Nick, who looks like he was created by some warped scientific experiment in which the DNA of Robert Forster, Greg Evigan, and David Hasselhoff was spliced together to create an altogether new lifeform. The druglord they are planning to bust is casually fishing on the deck of his motorboat while his bimbo girlfriend is lying out as if she’s hoping to get a tan from the moonbeams. Instead of simply driving their police boat over and busting the seemingly unarmed guy, our hero and his best friend/squad leader, Walter, perform this bust by scuba diving over to the boat just so they can jump out of the water and yell "Freeze!" You’d swear you were watching some early 80s cop show when you see this. Unfortunately, there are no guns and no drugs and even a quick dive below the boat to see what narcotics might be on the end of his fishing line turns up nothing so their big bust ends up being a big bust. On top of that, the guy starts screaming that he’s a big New York judge and all of them are in big trouble. Only in New York would a judge dress like a porno director and go fishing on the East River in the dead of night.

The next day, Nick and Walter are now in their captain’s office getting bitched out because that judge has been raising hell downtown. Nick still insists the guy is a major drug dealer while the captain tells them to go investigate a problem with some underwater power cables and then proceeds to throw them out of the office. If only the captain had placed Nick on suspension, the cliché would have been complete. Walter consoles Nick and tells him that he’s put in for a transfer to a cushy desk job and that he’s going to recommend Nick be made the new squad leader. Translation: Walter is too young to retire, but since he’s about to leave his life of danger behind and he’s the main character’s best friend/partner, he won’t live to see the closing credits. I see the clichés are already flying right and left in this movie and its not even 10 minutes old yet. Oh, some of Nick’s peers play a rib on him based on the failed bust. Hilarity ensues.

That routine dive to investigate the underwater power cable problem (Is this really something the cops would be called in for anyway?) turns up the remains of the woman killed by the octopus the night before. Police are now crawling everywhere and nobody knows what happened to this woman but the pier where whatever happened has been torn up so whatever happened wasn’t pretty. Speaking of pretty, the love interest has just arrived. Her name is Rachel. She works for the mayor’s office. She’s got questions. The Ally McBealish brunette immediately walks up to Nick and Walter and begins grilling them. When asked why the mayor of New York City would be so interested in this particular case, she informs us that the victims were Russian tourists and that the city is about to welcome two million visitors who will be attending the largest, greatest, grandest Fourth Of July celebration ever. They have no answers. She runs out of questions.

While leaving the scene, Nick spots an empty liquor bottle on the ground in an area adjacent to the pier, picks it up, and immediately declares that this proves that someone saw whatever happened last night. Sure, nobody would ever drop an empty booze bottle on the ground in New York City unless they had just witnessed a double homicide! In case I neglected to mention it, we’ve now learned that Nick’s last name is Hartfield. NICK HARTFIELD: SCUBA COP - this fall on the USA Network!

I’d watch.

And since we haven’t had a cliché in about 3 minutes, a young boy spots the octopus and runs to his mom screaming about a monster and of course she doesn’t believe him.

We now venture into C.H.U.D. territory as Nick and Walter venture into some abandoned underground tunnel system near the harbor where the local homeless seek refuge. Nick claims that whoever dropped that booze bottle and saw whatever happened last night is in there. Walter complains it smells bad. I think this movie smells bad. Nick, again using his psychic powers, zeros in on the very transient who dropped the bottle and a game of good cop/bad cop begins until the elderly homeless man, nicknamed Mad Dog for reasons that will forever remain a mystery, tells them of the giant octopus. They react by walking away in disgust.

Are we terrified yet?Cut to night again. The monster octopus suddenly attacks a tugboat for no reason in particular. Maybe it just got bored. Heck, I wouldn’t mind attacking a tugboat right now myself. Watching this scene I suddenly have a flashback to the opening scene of War of the Gargantuas. It’s ironic that I’m suddenly reminded of a Toho production because as the octopus’ tentacles puncture the hull of the ship we’re treated to stock footage from the first movie of the octopus doing just that. Watch in amazement as the interior of the tugboat changes before your very eyes! We’re also treated to new footage of a guy being strangled by a tentacle and a close-up shot of one of the octopus’ eyes. My what big, yellow, glowing eyes you have, Mr. Octopus. A fire breaks out, the poorly rendered CGI octopus submerges, and a toy boat explodes. This is really B-A-D!

Everyone’s watching the live news report about the boat explosion in the harbor including the mayor who sits grimfaced while Rachel babbles about the "International Children’s Coalition" he’s to meet with. Upon further exposition, we learn that 12 kids from all around the world are coming to New York for a July 4th peace festival in which they will promote peace, love, and unity with the America public. Oh, and they’ll also have a photo-op with the mayor. He tells her to rush down to the Harbor Patrol headquarters because "they’re having a lot of trouble down there."

Our insipid, I mean intrepid hero, Nick, is sitting at a monitor looking at nature footage of an ordinary octopus in action because, after all, it’s a credible hunch. After this, it’s now time for the typical "let me tell the superior my crazy theory so that he can scream at me and throw me out" scene. I now bring you the meat of this scene in all its glory.


I did some quick research, sir, and it’s not as crazy as it seems. That storm we had in June brought a lot of water south from Nova Scotia and its possible this creature was swept down in and its trapped or nesting out in the Hudson.



Let me get this straight. You’re telling me an octopus came up from the Hudson River, snatched a couple of tourists from a moonlit walk, and then came back the next night and deep-sixed a four ton tugboat? I’m uh... I’m blown away. When was the last time you had a physical, Nick?



Excuse me, sir?



A physical. You know. They take your pulse. Check your heartbeat.



I’m not sure, sir. Why?


'Cause I’m wondering when your brains fell out and how you’ve been functioning without them all this time?!

Two things here require discussion. First of all, when a scene like this usually occurs, the one stating the crazy theory either has either already encountered the creature first-hand or at least has enough circumstantial evidence to convince himself that he’s right. When a scene like the one above takes place, you’re not supposed to empathize with the non-believer. However, the makers of Octopus 2 have done just that. Nick’s evidence consists of the ramblings of a drunk that even he dismissed earlier, a few smashed beams of a pier, and a boat explosion to which there is no evidence or witnesses to support the octopus theory. I don’t buy that an intelligent police officer would believe such a thing with so little evidence, but then this movie hasn’t really gone out of its way to establish that Nick Hartfield is an intelligent police officer. If I were the captain, I’d toss him out and recommend a psych exam too. Secondly, is the giant, man-eating octopus a common marine animal found off the coast of Nova Scotia? In the first film, the octopus was enormous due to mutation by radiation. This time, we get no explanation as to why it is of gargantuan proportions. Even worse, there isn’t a single moment in the film where anyone asks why it’s gigantic or even reacts like this is really at all unusual.

After the captain finishes ripping Nick a new poop chute, Walter consoles him by telling Nick that while he doesn’t believe him, he still believes in him. Just then, Rachel sashays into the station and gives Nick and Walter the importance of July 4th harbor safety speech again adding that there will 20,000 boats on the water. He wisely opts not to tell her about his octopus theory and states that they believe the boat explosion was due to a faulty boiler.

I look away for a moment and its suddenly the next day because Nick and Walter are now patrolling the harbor Baywatch-style while Rachel is shown taking the 12 good-looking, young, international kids from all walks of life on a run through of tomorrow’s event. WE HAVE A HANDICAPPED CHILD ALERT! In movies like this, you don’t have a disabled character unless you plan to eventually put him or her in mortal danger and this scene is being built entirely around this young girl in a wheelchair. The well-being of this handicapped girl is now guaranteed to become a subplot sometime within the film’s third act.

Am I going crazy or are the freckles on Rachel’s face painted on? Maybe it’s just the lighting, but they seem to just come and go from scene to scene? I find this mystery more intriguing than all that octopus nonsense.

Suddenly its night again and Nick and Walter are now decked out in their wetsuits investigating a report of someone falling off one of the docks into the water. Nick begins rambling on about the octopus again which Walter laughs off and jokingly recites a little prayer asking God just to give him just one more week of peace before he transfers to his new desk job. Just kill him already! Walter then dives down alone to look for the missing person. Time to die!

And heeeeeeeeere coooooooooomes theeeeeeee octopus! It immediately nabs Walter. The effect of the octopus attacking is brought to life through a combination of rubber tentacles, a CGI octopus, and what appears to be a few split second shots of an actual octopus all mixed together to create an overall unconvincing and rather confusing effect. Apparently being grabbed by a gigantic, carnivorous octopus endows Walter with the strength of 50 men as he is underwater beneath one of the piers yet somehow manages to bust a hole up through its wooden beams with his bare hands just so he can pop out of the water for moment and scream before being dragged back down. Nick immediately dives into the water and begins frantically trying to rescue Walter. There’s that glowing yellow eye again. As Nick stabs the tentacles with a knife, the octopus begins emitting a high-pitched screech that sounds like a leftover sound effect from Inframan. After struggling to free Walter for several minutes, Nick finally resurfaces after remembering that humans need oxygen to live. He climbs onto the dock as the psycho cephalopod surfaces. The scenes in this movie of people thrashing about as the big rubber tentacles flail around them remind me of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood having to work the octopus tentacles himself because they forgot the motor. In several of the shots, the tentacles aren’t holding Nick, Nick’s holding the tentacles. Also, I’m not sure what’s up with the octopus’ head because it looks awfully bony and has a ton of ridges on it so I’m going to take a wild guess and say... I don’t know.

A giant octopus?!  Damn!  I was going for the Barry Bond Bobblehead!Well, get this. Nick runs over to a nearby crane on the dock and begins waging mortal combat with the octopus. It all looks like one of those arcade games where you lower the thing to grasp onto a stuffed animal or scoop up some candy. Now the rubber tentacles become computer generated and look downright cartoonish. The tentacles clasp the grabbing thing shut and the crane begins overheating. This is... this is really stupid. Good lord, even the shot of the crane’s engine short-circuiting is done via really bad computer animation. Octojaws has grown bored and submerges again and so our hero dives back into the water, but not before screaming, "Stop, you son of a bitch!" While all this has been going on, Walter has still been trying to escape the octopus’ grasp. Nick is underwater long enough to see Walter vanish into the murky abyss forever and this whole abysmal sequence finally comes to an end.

We’re then treated to some early morning stock footage of the Hudson and graphics informing us that it is in fact JULY 1, 2000. This movie is set two years ago? Why? It was made in 2001. So not only is it set 2 years ago, the movie is now going to begin counting down to the Fourth of July as if the octopus is some sort of terrorist who has a sinister plan to be carried out on that specific day. This film just keeps getting dumber by the minute.

In the one intentionally funny scene of the film, Nick is actually administered a psych exam in the captain’s office. This would have been even funnier if one of those inkblots had been shaped like an octopus. Seems nobody believes him about the octopus and the captain is grilling him hard about Walter’s disappearance. He then has another run-in with Rachel and she consoles him by telling him how much her job sucks too. Upon leaving the station, Nick is swamped by reporters asking him questions about the "East River Killer." Nick has no idea what they’re talking about. Neither do I. Just where the hell did this subplot come from?

C'mere, babe!  I'm your boyfriend now!That scene ends abruptly and suddenly we jump cut to a matte painting of the Statue of Liberty with fireworks going off around it. Nick himself is looking out from the deck in the Statue’s crown. Next thing you know, the octopus comes out of the water and begins climbing the Statue of Liberty, eventually wrapping two of its giant tentacles around the neck and trying to snap the head off, thus causing it to shake violently. The shaking effect is rendered via one of those great camera tricks where they shake the camera and the actors pretend they’re trying to keep their balance. The neck begins to crack and people start falling out of the crown. The head finally begins to break off and we’re then treated to a "You’ve got to be kidding me" f/x sequence, in which Nick is falling towards the camera in slow motion screaming his lungs out while the plummeting head of the Statue of Liberty rapidly gains on him in the background. Suddenly, Nick wakes up screaming. Yes, it was a dream sequence. Every filmgoer’s worst nightmare! I hate them! You hate them! We all hate them! How ironic is it that the only moment in the film that shows any sign of promise whatsoever and it turns out to be a friggin’ dream sequence. My contempt for this piece of*ahem* celluloid is growing.

I want to take a moment here to say something about special effects in motion pictures. I’m not one who demands state-of-the-art, flawless special effects. My philosophy on special effects has always been this: does it capture my imagination? Whether it’s a guy in a rubber monster suit smashing cardboard buildings or the awe-inspiring computer generated dragons of Reign of Fire, if it captures my imagination then it’s a good special effect in my book. Sometimes totally realistic effects stink because they’re totally lifeless. Sometimes cheesy effects have a goofy charm to it. That said, the f/x in this movie are really, really, really, really, really, really bad! This makes Zakorr! The Invader look like Jurassic Park by comparison. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad. Still, the effects are quite embarrassing and the film’s overall shoddiness does not inspire me to cut it any slack.

It is now JULY 2, 2000 as the graphics are superimposed over more random stock footage of New York City. We’re constantly being shown stock footage of various places and landmarks throughout the city which I guess is the director’s method of trying to convince us that this film is in fact taking place in New York City, which probably means it wasn’t even filmed in the United States. At the station, Nick has a run-in with Tony, who is the guy who the captain has temporarily put in charge of the squad. Tony decides that he and Nick need to bury the hatchet between the two of them even though the hatchet consisted of only one brief scene earlier where they exchanged some mild insults. I neglected to mention it earlier because, well, that’s how short and extraneous the scene was. Tony asks Nick to join him to check out a report that someone used the credit card of the woman who was killed back at the start of the movie. They arrive at a seedy motel where the suspect just used the credit card to check in. During this scene, the f-word is used twice and I can’t help but to suspect that these two uses of said profanity is the only reason why this film got an R rating because there has been no sex, no nudity, and virtually no gore other than the woman’s corpse and even that was tame. They bust into one of the rooms to find Mad Dog dressed in a new suit and arrest him.

Back at the station, the now rather dapper looking vagrant claims he just found the woman’s purse on the ground by the water and helped himself. Nick argues with his captain, "We’ve got the wrong guy! We’ve got the wrong species!" Captain tosses him out again then stages an impromptu press conference touting the capture of the man suspected to be the "East River Killer" and that the harbors are absolutely 100% super duper safe again.

We now cut to a character we’ve never seen before and who is never identified and exactly where he’s at we don’t really know, but was see him walking through a dank, narrow corridor when suddenly he gets attacked by the octopus’ tentacles that are coming from out of the ceiling as well as the walls without any explanation as to how exactly the octopus is getting its tentacles inside this passageway, but he is strangled to death none the less.

Yeah, we know just how he feels.It is now JULY 3, 2001 as the graphic informs us. Nick and Rachel are walking together in the park and he now decides to tell her about the octopus. She thinks he’s crazy. He theorizes that the reason the octopus has set up shop in New York is that octopi are territorial and it probably just likes the East River. I find the last part amusing because from all the jokes Letterman does, nobody likes the East River except for the mob. I think it would have been funny if the film had a scene where some mobsters were dumping the body of somebody they just whacked and the octopus ate them, but that would have required more imagination than the makers of this movie have. And again in this scene, they fail to treat the notion of a giant octopus as abnormal. We are then treated to another scene of the judge and his bimbo girlfriend in the motorboat fishing only this time during the day. Does this guy ever have to go to work? For that matter, does he ever change clothes? He’s still wearing the same outfit! We’re then shown a diver retrieving some bricks of cocaine off the judge’s line. Nick was right. He really is a drug trafficker.

Still reeling from this shocking revelation, we jump back to Nick and Rachel still walking and talking along the banks of the moonlit East River. So I guess they’ve been walking around for how many hours now? Rachel gives us her backstory, something about being a struggling artist whose daddy pulled some strings and got her a job in the mayor’s office. That’s about as much character development as this girl is going to get in this flick. They aren’t holding hands and have still yet to kiss. Come on, Nick, she’s a struggling artist in New York complaining about her crappy job and you’re emotionally wounded after the loss of your best friend. This should be an easy lay, but instead of putting the moves on the girl, he gets all excited because he saw a large shadow in the water. Nick must have super vision as well because I didn’t see anything out there. Next thing you know they’re skulking around inside the same place where that nameless individual got strangled. Nick identifies it as a sewage treatment plant. No wonder the waters in New York are so polluted, because there’s never anyone at the treatment plant to do their damn job! They stumble upon the corpse of the mystery man and right on cue the tentacles start dropping from the ceiling again. As one of the tentacles wraps around Rachel’s neck and starts trying to pull her up I get the urge to play Half-Life. And there’s that Inframan-ish sound effect again. To the relief of movie lovers everywhere, they manage to escape with their lives. I hate to nitpick, but octopus tentacles have these little hooks on the suckers so if one of those things grabbed you it would leave behind a little puncture wound. But why should I expect scientific accuracy from a movie that has yet to question the abnormality of a monstrous, man-eating cephalopod?

Next thing you know, they’re in the captain’s office and he has the mayor on speakerphone. The captain still doesn’t fully believe them, but too many weird things have happened for him to ignore it any longer. The mayor laughs it all off and thinks if he’s goes public with the monster octopus story he will become the laughing stock of the nation. It’s time to rip-off Jaws as the mayor of New York gives them a speech very similar to the mayor of Amity’s about why he won’t close the harbor and the whole scene ends.

Nick is now in Rachel’s apartment. Time for some major league whoopee making! He admires some of her crappy artwork and says some kind words in Walter’s memory. She says a few kind words about her crappy artwork and jokingly says that she’s actually looking forward to tomorrow just to see what will happen. They stare at one another and then the scene fades to black and we get more early morning New York stock footage. Wait! What? That’s it? No freestyle mattress wrestling? Not even a little tonsil hockey? Did I miss a scene where one of them declared their homosexuality or stated how they wanted to keep things strictly platonic and just be good friends? You’ve got to be kidding me! This movie has used about every other cliché in the book, but suddenly pulls back when it comes to the romantic subplot? My God, those two f-words really are the only reason for the film’s R rating, and quite frankly I’m about to start yelling the f-word myself.

Well, it’s now JULY 4, 2000 and Nick and Rachel are meeting with a scientist. They discuss something to do with water habitats and trying to predict where the octopus will strike next, but I am barely paying attention because I’m still stunned over what didn’t happen in the last scene. Now we get a graphic telling us its 5:00 PM. The movie is actually counting down the hours now. The hours until what exactly I don’t know? We know about the fireworks display and that deal with the children, but no specific time has ever been given as to when any of this begins, and as I stated earlier, its not like the octopus is plotting to strike at a specific time. This is all quite simply mind numbing! Our "True Love Waits" twosome now dare to head back to the treatment plant, which is still abandoned, and gather some ectoplasm for their scientist friend to examine. There is no sign of the octopus or the corpse. Wouldn’t the police have already combed this place thoroughly after they reported that incident to the captain. Nick is radioed about a report of an abandoned boat that he specifically should check out. Rachel says she has to go tend to those peace-luvin’ brats and they go their separate ways.

Rar! I'm a monsta!Nick and his new non-female best friend Tony pull up alongside the abandoned boat which wouldn’t you know it happens to be the judge’s boat. His bimbo comes running up from below deck screaming, "It got the judge." Nice to know they were on a first name basis. Then she starts on about Hector. Who the hell is Hector? Hector it turns out was the diver aiding in the drug trafficking. Boy, I’d be heartbroken if anything happened to him. Tony and Nick dive in armed only with flashlights and find a net full of drugs and Hector’s lifeless body. I want to know what killed this guy. Clearly the octopus didn’t eat him and he was still in one piece and he his oxygen gear was still in place so I doubt he drowned. We’ll never know for certain the cause of death because the octopus shows up and our scuba cops bravely shove Hector’s corpse into the beast’s mouth to distract it while they make their great escape. Maybe they should have shoved that net containing all those kilos of cocaine? The monster dying of a drug overdose would have been damn amusing!

Now that I think about it, either this giant octopus is on a diet or a really light eater because it seems to be satisfied after eating only one or two people at a time. You’d think a creature of its enormity would have a heartier appetite. I don’t see why they’re so worried about the July 4th celebrators because once he eats about three of them he’ll be full and go away.

The captain finally believes the octopus is for real because Tony wouldn’t lie about such things. Some scientific mumbo jumbo is discussed and it’s established that the octopus’ lair is smack dab in the middle of the Hudson Bay. Oh sure, now the movie wants to deal with things in a realistic scientific manner! The mayor of New York City continues to channel the mayor of Amity and refuses to close the harbor, get the boats off the water, call off the celebration, or even call in the Coast Guard. Instead, he orders the Harbor Patrol to deal with the "lowly octopus." One would hope that they would at least include a scene where the octopus kills the moronic mayor, but much like Mayor Ebert in Godzilla, this guy will live. In fact, we only see him one more time still in his office yelling at people on the phone.

The fate of New York City lies in the hands of Nick, Tony, and three other nameless Harbor Patrol divers (Wanna guess which 3 will die first?) armed with what looks like spearguns except they fire a small explosive charge. Rachel meanwhile is loading the kids on a bus. We’re shown far too much footage of this bus driving down the streets of Manhattan. I hope this is going somewhere and I mean that about both the bus and the subplot. We are now informed that it is 7:00 PM and we are still seeing waaaaaaaaaaaay too much footage of this school bus. We then briefly see the divers jump in as they begin their hunt for the octopus followed by still more bus footage.

It is a major miscarriage of justice that the schoolbus doesn't even get an "Also Appearing" credit.It’s now 8:00 PM, and the bus is still traveling through New York City and, even worse, we have to listen to the children sing such songs as "Old McDonald." These are supposed to be 12 kids from all across the globe yet they appear to be just 12 white kids from the US. Meanwhile underwater, the scuba cops encounter the octopus and I roll my eyes as we’re shown the exact same octopus f/x shots used in the first film. I won’t attempt to explain what exactly is going on because I have no idea myself. I cannot tell who’s who and the action is incoherently edited. But enough of that life or death struggle, what we really want is more bus footage! You just can’t get enough of that bus! Wait, we’re underwater again. I can now confirm one fatality. I don’t know whom, but he just got swallowed. In a nice bit of editing, we jump cut from a cop being eaten to fireworks going off in the sky. And more bus footage! It appears they are entering the Lincoln Tunnel.

As if this movie couldn’t get any worse, it appears we’re about to introduce a new character and she’s the stereotype of an elderly Jewish woman. She’s driving with her dog while talking to it in a really fake Brooklyn accent. You have to see this to believe it, but this elderly woman appears to just be a middle-aged woman with some bad make-up and a cheap gray wig all designed to make her look like a senior citizen. Words cannot accurately describe how laughably bad this is! She’s in front of the bus and the bus driver is honking his horn at her. They’ve been driving aimlessly for about an hour and now the bus driver is in a rush to get where he’s going?

Meanwhile, in a totally unrelated octopus battle, someone, I believe it was Nick but cannot confirm this, just fired his boomstick at the octopus. Did I say they had small explosive charges a little earlier? It seems what they actually have are miniaturized versions of the nukes from Starship Troopers. A massive underwater explosion blows the octopus back so hard and fast that it slams into the exterior of the tunnel causing part of it to collapse. Inside the tunnel, debris begins falling, a car flips over, and water begins seeping in. The kids are all screaming and Rachel is trying to calm them down. JESUS, MARY, & JOSEPH! THIS MOVIE IS ACTUALLY ABOUT TO BEGIN RIPPING OFF THE MOVIE DAYLIGHT!!! Is Daylight really a movie you want to rip-off? I cannot believe this awful movie is about to do a cheap recreation of scenes from another awful movie! In fact, the effects here look like they could have been the test footage for the effects in Daylight! It’s official - I HATE THIS MOVIE!

While all low budget-minded hell breaks loose inside the tunnel, the only two cops to survive the battle with the octopus surface and ironically its Nick and Tony. Tony is allegedly injured and so Nick orders him to head ashore while he goes back down to finish off the octopus. In another poorly shot scene, it appears the octopus is now humping the underwater exterior of the Lincoln Tunnel. The roster of characters trapped inside the collapsed section of the tunnel consists of Rachel, the kids, the bus driver, the old Jewish lady, and her dog. No mention is ever made of the people that were in the car that flipped over. While the octopus attempts to mate with some industrial infrastructure, Nick just swims right up next to it’s mouth and plants an explosive charge. Yes, he has planted a bomb on the monster and even manages to swim away unharmed with relative ease. It seems this octopus is all offense and no defense. Is this sort of explosive detonator something the N.Y.P.D. would normally have around and did Nick bring it with him because he had a plan of attack in mind that would have him get close enough to the creature to attach a bomb? 27...26...25... the countdown is on. Nick just surfaced inside... who knows... but he’s climbing up a ladder and bracing for the explosion. 3...2...1... KABOOM! Pieces of the octopus zoom past the screen in a very Jaws 3-D like manner. Tony glimpses the underwater explosion from up top and radios Nick to officially declare the octopus "vaporized." How would he know that? All he saw was a great disturbance in the water. Now in reality, this should be the end of the movie... but this movie simply will not die!

Mavis realizes that not only is she in Octopus 2, she's in a Daylight rip-off.Back inside the disaster zone, the old lady gets out of her car and begins screaming like a madwoman. If there’s an award for overacting terribly, we have this year’s winner. Nor am I kidding when I tell you that there is actually a minor sub-subplot about the bus driver having to rescue the dog from the old woman’s car. Fires burn, concrete collapses, water floods, exposed electrical wires spark, children scream, and I have a splitting headache. Nick tells Tony that he’s in a "tunnel exhaust station" and can hear screaming so he’s going in to investigate. Nick Hartfield to the rescue! Because I am now completely, utterly, totally disgusted by this piece of crap, I absolutely refuse to go into any details about what takes place over the course of the next 10+ minutes. I would have sworn I rented Octopus 2 and not Daylight 2. However, since I did say earlier that the handicapped girl would eventually come into play, I will tell you that Nick has to personally piggyback the crippled girl up the ladder to safety while being chased by a raging slow motion fireball.

The tribute to Irwin Allen concludes as everyone makes it to the surface looking relieved and Nick boldly declares, "It’s finally over," a sentiment that I too share. But it ain’t over yet because here comes the octopus again! Despite the fact that we saw pieces of the beast fly by after blowing up, the octopus is shown completely intact. That might have something to do with the fact that the octopus footage we’re being shown is once again recycled footage from the first film. Continuity was clearly a victim of budget constraints. The eight-armed freak surfaces and begins waving its tentacles in the air as everyone screams. Nick and Tony pick up their super nuke guns and blast it. We have one explosion... two explosions... three explosions... four explosions... five explosions... and finally a sixth explosion. They just spliced together split second bits of six separate unrelated explosion sequences. The first explosion was slowed down footage of an underwater explosion. The second explosion was probably taken from a whole other movie. The third explosion was just the same explosion from earlier with bits of the octopus flying. I recognized the fourth explosion as actually being the huge explosion from the end of the first movie and for a moment night suddenly turned to day. The fifth explosion was just a huge ball of fire. The sixth and final explosion was just the recycled footage taken from the first movie that was already used in the fourth explosion only with the backdrop changed to make it appear as if it was happening at night. Until the day I die, I don’t think I will ever forget the gross ineptness of this explosion sequence. Only thing missing from this Ed Wood moment was Bela Lugosi super-imposed into the shot yelling, "Pull the string!" over and over.

With the giant, man-eating octopus finally dead, the children begin cheering, the old lady hugs her dog, Rachel laughs, Nick stands there with a "job well done" look on his face, fireworks go off, the credits roll, and I seriously consider ramming my head through the television screen. Thus, Octopus 2: River Of Fear comes to an end. More like a mercy killing if you ask me. The closing credits read like the Russian phonebook. I think everyone who wasn’t actually a member of the cast was of Eastern European decent. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve never seen so many last names with the letter "v" in it.

Chances are good you'll be seeing this again in Octopus 3,too.In conclusion, I would have to say that Octopus 2: River Of Fear is quite possibly the best giant killer octopus ever made in the post-JAWS era. Considering its only competition is the first Octopus, which I couldn’t even pay attention to, and Tentacles, which is utterly unwatchable, this praise is hardly a compliment. I wonder how long it will be before this film is in heavy rotation on the USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel? I wonder if they’ll make an Octopus 3 and, if so, will it be set in 1999? If they do, I’ll probably be stupid enough to rent that one too. Octopus 2: River Of Fear, see it only if the Sci-Fi Channel isn’t running Komodo that day or watch it with someone you hate. Heck, see it just to be dumbfounded by that final six-part explosion. I wonder if Crocodile 2 and Spiders 2 will be any better? They can’t possibly be worse than this was...

Can they?


Don't Order The Congilli

- July 21, 2002