The only actor to return for the second From Dusk Till Dawn film was Danny Trejo, who has since become something of a cult star. Other than that, this film has very little in common with its delightful predecessor.
From Dusk Till Dawn 2 was co-written and directed by Scott Spiegel, who also made the slasher-in-a-grocery-store film, Intruder. Spiegel was a frequent collaborator with Sam Raimi and worked with him on Evil Dead 2 (there’s even a brief cameo by Bruce Campbell). This movie, unlike the director’s past work, kind of falls flat; but not without some effort.
I’m not sure if it was due to budget constraints, or just a strange joke; but the Mexican vampires rarely appear in the man-bat forms we’re familiar with from the first film. Instead; most of the attacks are perpetrated by vampires in full-on bat form; rendered with a very sad looking bat puppet on a stick or strings, which is shaken violently on the victims body as they scream.
Essentially, the movie is about a bunch of guys that get together to rob a bank. One of them is detoured on the way and ends up at the Titty Twister, the setting of the first film, though it’s much less lively this time around. He’s bitten and converted into a vampire, but decides to carry on with the robbery, and turn a few of his co-workers along the way.
Ex-Playboy playmate Maria Cheka plays Lupe, a maid at a motel the hoods stay in. Apparently, in 2008, she was charged with insider trading. That’s right, beautiful Mexican woman gets charged with financial misconduct in 2008, while the CEOs of the financial institutions whose systemic fraud destroyed the economy that same year got record-setting bonuses. Her big vampire scene is probably the best one of the film, and the only one that feels vaguely reminiscent of the original Dusk Till Dawn.
The action scenes are nearly as dynamic as they were in the first one, they consist mostly of poorly-shot shootouts in overly-dark settings. There’s also a really lame use of deus ex machina when a solar eclipse (which lasts far longer than it should) just happens to show up and give the vampires enough strength to make it to the climax. I do give Spiegel credit for the Evil Dead-style slow melting corpses, though.
The characters are not nearly as well-realized as those found in the Quintin Tarantino scripted original, which is to be expected. It’s your standard assortment of heist movie cliches; the leader, the coward, the tough-guy, the wizened old safe cracker, etc.
It’s sad when compared to the original; but taken on its own, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is an okay, if unremarkable, cheap horror movie.