It’s that time again to review another movie in the Return of the Living Dead series. I have been warning readers as these movies only get worse. Long time fans have already tuned this series out long before this made-for-TV crap fest could hit the air. The same sucking sound you heard in part 4 will follow all the way through part 5. When you film sequels back to back like this, the end is almost always the same. All suck, no satisfaction.
As the awesome subtitle would have you believe, this installment revolves around party drugs, zombies and high schoolers. The movie starts out with Charlie Garrison (Peter Coyote) attempting to sell a canister of Trioxin 245. For those who don’t know, this is the crap in every Return of the Living Dead movie that causes the dead to rise.
The sale goes sour and Uncle Charlie ends up a victim of his own creation, as a zombie chews him up. Julian Garrison (John Keefe), nephew of Charles, is tasked with cleaning out his Uncle’s place seeing as he is no longer with us. As Julian inspects the house he grew up in, prior to packing, a few additional containers of the chemical are discovered in a secret room. With his girlfriend Jenny (Jenny Mollen), they ask student scientist and all round cool dude Cody (Cory Hardrict) to analyze the contents before they contact authorities.
Cory finds out, using the school’s lab, that the chemical composition is close to that of ecstasy and proceeds to produce a drug called “Z”. This drug is peddled through a local dealer and soon the entire campus is high on “Z”. Before long Julian and Jenny discover the horrific side effects of this rave party treat as the entire campus is over run with zombies. All while Cody and Jenny’s DJ’ing bro set up for a massive Halloween rave party off campus.
Well here we are, at this series’ last vehicle for suckage. The redeeming qualities here are very few and even farther between. Viewers will be introduced to a deeper and more developed story. No wait, I am lying, but at least we have a few more shots of half naked women and the gore is decent. Outside of those very few things this bomb could easily bury a series that carried so much hope initially.
The effects were decent and there was some pretty gruesome scenes. Nothing to take away from this in the way of OMG gore moments, but seeing everything else is so blah the ok gore and effects stand out a bit.
Ok so, is it just me or is most of this cast a wee bit too old to play the general college populous? I hate to ask this question because so many people overlook physical age intentionally. I do not have this gift and it is also one of the reasons I cannot watch the Harry Potter movies. Daniel Radcliffe is a great actor but in the Potter series he looks way too old. Enough on my dwelling as we have oh so much to accomplish before this review’s complete.
So the movie is set in middle America on some local college campus? Oh ok, cool enough. How come the style and fashion seem off? Is it maybe because you shot this in a different country, namely Romania and hired a lot of locals to fill things out? So it is Halloween but looks to be summer in the good old USA. How come even the fake leaves on set don’t match the green foliage? The look and feel of this film are way off. Not one time do I buy into the supposed time line or set place for this film.
There are so many general plot holes this movie would be lucky to float past thirty seconds. Some of my favorites are: How is it Julian grew up in that house and never knew there was a secret lab upstairs? As kids we disrupted, destroyed and discovered as we pleased. What school lab allows a massive barrel of some unregistered chemical just to float in and be analyzed without anyone in charge noticing? What school allows students to hammer lab rats with syringes? The plot holes are fast and plenty. I actually plan to view this again when smashed off my ass and make a game of the plot’s shortcomings.
I did not come to this party looking for some killer acting. Really, we all know better then to expect even decent acting from a made-for-TV movie helmed by the almighty Sci-Fi Channel (Yes, as of 2005 when this turd formed it was still spelled Sci-Fi not Sy Fy). Julian (John Keefe) did ok as the lead here, no massive complaints. Cody (Cory Hardrict) was a decent character, want-to-be nerd turned drug mad scientist. Uncle Charlie (Peter Coyote) did as expected wearing some creepy ass grin throughout his tenure. It was almost as if he knew the level of movie he was in and could not help but smirk.
The most god awful delivery and all around presence was our DJ friend Jeremy. Each time his lanky rave looking ass grabbed the mic to “hype” the party I wanted to kick a baby. This only got worse when he attempted to rap. I seriously thought he had some type of a disease, and then realized any person with a disease would be better than this pump handle of an actor.
Being a zombie movie, at times I had to wonder if one directed the feature. The seat is actually taken by Ellory Elkayem who did an ok flick by the name of Eight Legged Freaks. The movie was kind of funny and decent overall. We are only left to wonder if he slept through the direction of this one or just ate some bad Romanian food and could not be on-set for filming.
Who the hell are the two bumbling fools meant to be Interpol agents hunting for the Trioxin barrels? The attempt at comic relief with these two is less than needed. At times the crack of a joke or wise ass comment comes off stale and forced. These two idiots are a big part of the plot that could have easily been left out. Each time they came on screen I was like, “Oh yeah, these two fools are still running around offending Europeans with their poorly acted stereotypes.”
I am going to keep this one short, well hopefully. The Tarman in this series is a precious thing. He is, to me, as iconic as Jason Vorhees is to the slasher genre. So why the hell do we have a slapped together 2 dollar production of him? There is no real acting involved here. Maybe some animatronics and a butt load of makeup. Rave to the Grave has the Tarman more or less tacked on and craptastic looking at best. Thanks but no thanks.
Bottom line, this movie should not have been made, even with the gratuitous 8 plus T&A shots. As long as we keep buying zombie movies they will keep making them. I am as guilty as the next fan, hoping for that one-off treat to transport me to a scary place of rotting flesh and abysmal fear. Return of the Living Dead is a pretty cool series that could go places in the right set of paws. Seeing that we now know how not to make the second half of a series, anyone want to take a crack at trying to do it right?
Take a shot: if a scene or characters seem off.
Drink a beer: anytime the DJ opens his god awful mouth.
Pound a mixer: when a T&A shot keeps you from turning this stinker off.