Return of the Living Dead 4 + 5 (2005)

Washing my hands of the series after Return of the Living Dead 4 and 5.

Before I get into the movies, I’m just going to mention a something, there have been great discussions over the re-using the same actors from #4 in #5, many people consider it a continuity error but frankly if you’re going to pick as that in these movies then you’ve never seen the originals, as previously noted the main actors from the original were used in the second movie.

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis.
Set years after the third RotLD movie, we open on Charles Garrison travelling through Russia in search of the missing Trioxin canisters, but while being given a demonstration one of the russian agents gets infected Garrison shoots the zombies in the head
We then see Julian and Jake, Garrison’s nephews, Julian goes out motorbiking with his friends but one of them, Zeke, falls and is knocked out and whisked off by an ambulance but at the hospital a doctor tells Julian that Zeke had a reaction to the medication and was dead before he got to the hospital.
One of Julian’s friends, Katie notices Zeke being brought into her workplace, a lab called Hybra Tech, while investigating their website Julian discovers that Zeke is set up to be a test subject in an experiment and Julian decides to try to save him
Julian and friends manage to sneak into the Hybra Tech lab while Katie guides them over wireless communication, they navigate a maze of airvents finding themselves in an armoury, the group end up finding Garrison who proceeds to show them where Zeke is.
The group end up in a room full of zombies, to which Garrison explains he needs test subjects, he also tells Julian that his parents are alive before escaping.
Katie inadvertently releases the zombies from confinement, but zeke is bitten in the battle, everyone manages to make it back to the armoury and into the ventilation system.
Julian splits the group in an attempt to find his parents, with Zeke Becky and Jake going to the carpark to find a ride out, but Zeke changes and causes a crash when he tries eating everyone.
Julian manages to find the room his parents have been trapped within, finding their bodies in a containment tank with weapons attached turning them into super soldiers, but leaving the room in disgust shortly before Garrison arrives and unlocks them from their tanks.
Julian manages to escape as Katie arrives in a new truck running over zombies on her way, but while attempting to escape, Julian’s father arrives and stops the truck with his minigun, Becky manages to throw a grenade nearly destroying him.
Julian manages to destroy zombie-Zeke with a grenade and the swat team arrives, taking out the remaining undead all the while Garrison manages to escape with the Trioxin.

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave
It is a year later and while trying to sell a canister of Trioxin, Garrison is killed by one of the undead.
Julian and the survivors of Necropolis have moved on with their lives, going to university and trying to put everything at Hybra Tech behind them, Julian and his girlfriend Jenny finds two canisters of Trioxin hidden in a secret compartment in the attic, they manage to get to a friend, Cody and ask him to test the chemical inside.
Cody finds out that the content has a very similar chemical makeup to ecstasy and Jenny’s brother Jeremy rushes in to try some, Jeremy ends up spacing out in the middle of the lab.
Julian makes Cody promise not to run any more experiments with the Trioxin and he reluctantly agrees but once Julian has left Jeremy and Cody devise a plan to manufacture and sell the compound, renaming it “Z” and utilising a local unsavoury dealer as their delivery medium.
The drug becomes a hit with many users collecting amounts for the upcoming halloween rave, but just as many are taking too much Z in a single hit, the rate at which a user takes Z .
All the while, two shady Russian agents have been chasing down the remaining Trioxin canisters, stumbling upon the Rave,
Come the night of the rave, a dozen people are already infected and a good percentage of those dancing their night away are yet to turn….

So, that’s the basic plot lines of the two new RotLD movies, great eh?
Well, in all honesty they’re not entirely bad, they do lack something compared to the original two movies, but as a low budget sequel it does not do too badly, touching upon both the “Zombies as Weapons” theme which heavily influence the third movie, while showing the all too eager culture we have today, through both the action of breaking into a secure building and eagerly turning to drugs without knowing what the content actually consists of.
It is interesting to see the decision to make the undead vulnerable to the most common of zombie weaknesses, a single shot to the head is enough to take them down where as originally a member of the undead had to be taken down to nothing but ashes and even then those ashes could infect others and I find it almost cute (in a whimsical way) to see that they have a throwback or two to the originals (send more…).

All in all, it is cheap, but I like it, from the unscrupulous company trying to make their own army, to the suspicious Russian Government Agents who are working towards a positive end.
As a movie I like it, but part of me wonders if I like it more because of how bad it is as opposed to any quality content it actually has within itself and in the end, I consider this to be worth inclusion in the Return of the Living Dead saga and really feel that those who pick apart 4 and 5 are looking back upon the originals more fondly than they deserve as all criticisms I have seen of the newer films apply equally well to the originals.
But then, just because I like it does not mean it is an exceptionally good movie, the acting is sub-par and the content does little to support the established RotLD universe nore go so far as to reinvent the season.

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis earns a four undead buddies out of ten, while Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave scores a five dead dances out of ten.

Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.

Silent

I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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