A sideways glance over Return of the Living Dead Part 2.
A dark night, a military truck transporting Trioxin through the rain, one of the barrels becomes loose falling off the truck.
The next morning a child named Jessie is out playing when he runs into a couple of bullies, they give chase and the trio run into the lost Trioxin barrel, the container ruptures soaking the two bullies in the toxin while Jessie manages to escape, but the bullies give chase once more and lock Jessie in a crypt and run off home.
Joey and Ed (these fellows look familiar!) arrive with Brenda in tow, Joey and Ed are grave robbers and have planned to steal from this very crypt! The release Jessie from his doom and he runs off home only to get grounded by his sister.
Jessie manages to use an opportunity later on in the evening to sneak out and see one of the bullies, only to see how terribly ill the brat is from all the toxic fumes, when he runs off (what is it with these kids always running? I never ran so much when I was a kid) Jessie makes his way back to the graveyard where the first signs of reanimation are occuring.
Ed and Joey are still hard at work and they too see the dead coming back (bad news for their chosen profession) and try to beat one of the monsterous beasties back into death but fail miserably (as was established previously).
Jessie returns home and locks himself away from the wrath of his sister, attempting to call the number for the military provided on the side of the Trioxin container, he finds his call disconnected suddenly.
Ed, Joey and a few other stragglers manage to head to Jessie’s house for protection from the walking nightmare, Jessie assures everyone that their attackers are Zombies and insists they can get help at the local hospital with the help of their neighbour.
The bullie’s (Billy) mother sees her husband being torn to shreds from her front porch, about to return to the safety of her house Billy proceeds to eat her brains.
The gang head to the hospital, where the Doctor/Jessie’s Neighbour pronounces Ed and Joey dead, Brenda finds the news hard to take and absconds with the two, when they run into a military trio Ed zombie’s out and kills one of the soliders allowing Brenda and Joey a chance to escape, during the drive Joey turns and asks Brenda if he can eat her brains, she manages to escape and heads for a church where Joey follows, inside the church Joey makes an empassioned plea and Brenda finally relents and allows him to munch on her cranium (true love!).
In the hospital the rest of the group come up with a plan to lure the undead into a deadly (and undeadly) trap using electricity to fry the zombie horde, with everyone else laying in wait as bait for the dead, Jessie is waiting to throw the switch when bully boy Billy appears, after a struggle and an unfortunate incident with a screwdriver, Billy dies.. again, the switch is thrown, the dead die and our heroes wander off just as the military appear to mop everything up with flame throwers.
Theme-wise, this movie is damn well identical to the previous, isolation, hopelessness and endless consumerism run rampant, focusing on such things I’d end up with a review identical to the previous, so instead I am going to encourage you to re-read the thoughts from the previous movie and I’ll tell you a few things that I found neat about Part 2.
Firstly, the throw-backs to the original, not only does it contain the same actors (some would consider this a continuity error, further in parts 4 and 5, the same trick is done with the new cast) but t is set within the immediate universe of the first, namely the main character Jessie (and his sister) appear to be blood relations to Burt from the original movie.
This is noted both in their respective surnames and when Jessie calls the phone number on the side of the Trioxin canister, the phonecall proceeds almost identically to that of the original.
Secondly, during the hospital scenes, one of the undead is torn in half, despite part 2 being aimed at a more teenage audience to the original, this scene was kept intact when a little editting would have secured a lower rating, I consider it good to see that “artistic integrity” is kept while pandering to the crowd is kept minimal, plus this scene is my favourite and creeps me out no end.
Third, the ending is more upbeat, the first movie ended in an atomic blast with the cycle happening again but this one shows that we all have a chance against the undead.
Final thoughts? Watch it, unless you disliked the first movie, you’ll enjoy this one.
It’s a little bit cheesy, it’s a little campy, but it’s wholly good.
Return of the Living Dead Part 2 scores seven point five undead bullies out of ten on the geekenscale.
Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.