Return Of The Living Dead 2 (1988)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 58%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,535
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A group of kids discover one of the drums containing a rotting corpse and release the 2-4-5 Trioxin gas into the air, causing the dead to once again rise from the grave and seek out brains. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: October 11, 2004
Taking place a few months after the first one, we find the military giving up on using 245-Trioxin (the zombie-creating gas) and disposing of all of the canisters. While an army fellow is transporting some canisters to another military installation, he hits a bump on a bridge which causes a canister of the gas to fall into the river below. A couple of kids by the names of Jesse Wilson (Michael Kenworthy) and Billy (Thor Van Lingren) find this canister, and they see a zombie sitting inside of it. They run off, and we cut over to Ed (Jim Karen) and Joey (Thom Matthews), along with Joey's girlfriend Brenda (Suzanne Snyder). Ed is a grave-robber that specializes in selling human skulls, and also picks jewelry off of the corpses while getting the skulls. Joey is helping Ed out on this occasion, and of course, didn't tell Brenda what they would be up to. While they're getting to work on clearing out a crypt of its skulls and jewelry, Billy comes back to the graveyard with a friend of his in order to check out the canister, and in the process, open it up. Meanwhile, Jesse is being babysat by his older sister Lucy (Marsha Dietlein) while his parents are out of town. He wants to slip out and get the phone number off the canister in order to alert the army about the canister, but sister won't let him out of the house. However, when the cable guy Tom Essex (Dana Ashbrook) shows up, he provides more than enough distraction for Jesse to sneak out of the house. He finds the canister opened, and witnesses the zombies coming out of the ground. He also meets up with Ed and Joey, who have also found out about the zombie problem, and the trio also run into Brenda, who has come to check up on Joey. The foursome take off to Jesse's house where Lucy and Tom join the party, and they all head over to Doc Mandel's (Philip Bruns) house in order to use his car. A ton of zombies vs a party of seven... who'll win?!

Instead of being a horror film along the lines of the first or third movies in the series, this entry is almost a pure comedy throughout. With the exception of one person, there are zero non-zombie casualties in the battle, which was indeed a bit of a letdown. However, the humor part of the movie makes up for the lack of horror, as there's more than a couple of classic scenes to keep things moving along. Things such as the dancing Michael Jackson zombie, a zombified hand being tossed around and grabbing people and a swarm of zombies attacking a pet store were just some of the highlights to be found here. Some of the jokes, visual and verbal, were a bit dated and unfunny, but I suppose that should be expected from a movie that's about sixteen years old. Also, there's a fair number of references to previous horror films to be found here (Return Of The Living Dead, of course, along with Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead and Evil Dead 2 for starters). You'd have to be a true fan-boy to catch some of them, but they definitely added a little something to the viewing experience.

The makeup jobs were a huge step down in quality from the original. Whereas in the original we had plenty of gruesomely excellent cadavers, here we're treated to the typical face-paint and torn clothes zombies. There are a few exceptions, such as the brief return of Tarman from the original, but the exceptions are few and far between. With the exception of the one human kill that I mentioned above and one of the zombie killings, the gore is virtually non-existent here. I suppose that should have been expected from a comedy, but with the Return Of The Living Dead tag, I was expecting a bit more. I was also a bit letdown by the soundtrack here, as the first movie featured one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time. This one, made only three years after the original, fell victim to the eighties pop-music craze. While I'm sure it was hip and happening back when it was first released, it really didn't age very well with all that.

The acting was a bit hit or miss here. There were some great performances to be found, especially from Jim Karen (Ed) and Thom Matthews (Joey). Yes, those are the same two actors from the original, playing very similar roles here (with the "déjà vu" also being mentioned during the film). They were great in the original, and even though their characters are much more comedic here, the chemistry between them is still great. On the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of child actors (Billy and Jesse), and this movie did nothing to change my opinion on them. While Michael Kenworthy (Jesse) wasn't as bad as most kiddie actors, I was still finding myself annoyed with his presence more often than not. Thor Van Lingren (Billy) was your typical, overly-annoying child actor who has no business in a horror film, comedic-horror or not. The rest of the cast was average enough, with nobody being worthy of a point-out, but nothing worth bitching about either.

Overall, if you're looking for a pure horror zombie film, avoid this one. However, if you're a fan of horror-comedies that put almost one hundred percent of the emphasis on comedy, you might very well enjoy this film. 6/10 from myself.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added April 1, 2008 at 6:29pm
Wow... Amazon is selling a pack that has "Demons, "Demons 2" and the remake of "Psycho"?

Anyway, yeah, the gags in this one went from sorry to erid to irritating far too quickly... it may have been a sequal to a zomedy classic, but it sure didn't feel like its predecessor... not at all...
Crispy #2: Crispy - added January 7, 2011 at 7:21pm
Oh my God. HORRIBLE! And I have an undying need to hunt down that red head and stab her repeatedly.
Dollar Bill #3: Dollar Bill - added February 6, 2012 at 8:44am
I loved the first one and this one. But the rest of them sucked balls. The audio background was changed when they released part 2 on DVD and sounds cheap. They had the audio right the first time. The two guys that returned from the first one made part 2, good to me..
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