If you're not familiar with the first film from 1988, it starred Stephen Geoffreys (had a notable role in 1985's Fright Night) as a bullied youth who dials 976-Evil and receives supernatural powers that turn him into a demon; Splendid 80's creature horror that couldn't have been better. This remake does not maintain substantial continuity nor does Geoffreys return to reprise his role. Patrick O'Bryan does return to fulfill his role of Spike, however - the cousin to the main character of the first film.
A college student by name of Robin discovers that her dean, Mr. Grubek, is accused of being the Slate River Killer - a deranged killer responsible for murdering other young females. By submitting his will to the mysterious voice over the phone, Grubek is given the power of astral projection (that is to say, he can leave his body at will and still perform certain tasks). After witnessing another girl's death at the hands of Grubek, Robin learns the secrets of the phone line with the aid of Spike - a man all-too-familiar with how powerful and dangerous it can be.
Whoever said this movie was better than the first installment was a lunatic. I should have known this sequel was going to fall flat on its face. It was a straight-to-VHS release and just based on visuals alone anyone can draw that conclusion. There's no charm to be found in its weak attempt at black humor either; it's just lame all-around. I can't think of one likable thing about this film - not one! The makeup is pitiful in comparison to the first and all of the actors do a lackluster job (specifically one of the police officers who's on watch duty - I hope someone wrote him after that performance and told him to quit forever, or else).
The cheapness that encompasses the production value speaks volumes. I'd only agree to watch this movie on the premise that it was background filler and I was pre-occupied with something more important. Being that it was only important for me to watch this once, I don't expect to view it ever again - but whenever I get that feeling of satisfaction within me, and I let a bad title remain in my past, it always manages to find a way creep back in. So, with that said, this probably won't be the last time I see you, 976-Evil II.
In passing, a scene delivers a glimpse of Joe Bob Briggs on a wall advertisement. This was obviously intentional, as Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater was shown regularly on television at the time - a show in which Joe Bob (John Bloom) would provide trivia and humorous critiques of B-rated movies. He later expanded upon this format and shifted his focus to straight-to-VHS horror movies. It was basically like giving permission to ridicule the film on account of how terrible it was.
I have no idea what to make of the ending. No idea at all. I'm all for nontraditional endings that don't have to end happily, but COME ON. Is that what you call a twist? I call that, "I tripped over something that was lying on the floor and fell against a wall, then proceeded to fall end-over-end down a long spiral staircase, rendering me unconscious upon impact." Don't waste your time with this one and heed my warning.