The Kingdom II (1998)

Genres - Horror, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror, Ensemble Film  |   Run Time - 289 min.  |   Countries - Denmark   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

All hell literally begins to break loose in The Kingdom II, the second absorbing installment of Lars von Trier's acclaimed Danish TV miniseries. Though The Kingdom II doesn't have quite the same evocatively foreboding atmosphere of The Kingdom (1994), von Trier picks up the pace, weaving together twice as many story lines and increasing the presence of previously minor characters. Everyone is nuttier, including Ernst-Hugo Jaregard's pompous Dr. Helmer, and the central conflict between mysticism and science is more melodramatic, comical, and grotesque; von Trier almost out-Lynches David Lynch with a giant baby akin to the mutant in Eraserhead (1978). The handheld camera still glides and skips through the sepia-toned hospital like the spirits that dog Mrs. Drusse, while a green, iris-like filter now creepily suggests the nearness of the ultimate demon. Upping the spiritual stakes, The Kingdom II ends with a cliffhanger pointing to a decisive Christmas Day showdown between Good and Evil, even though, as the director puckishly informs the audience, the two must always coexist. With The Kingdom II as well received as its predecessor, von Trier was set to shoot the final chapter in 1998, but Jaregard's death that same year left the project, and the fictional hospital, in limbo.