B Movie Night: The Return of the Living Dead 2

If you put a TV series into your LoveFilm list they’ll be very careful to make sure you get the disks in the correct order.  I believe this extends to chronological delivery of multiple series, not just box sets.  However, this careful management doesn’t apply to films and their sequels, which is how I came to see Return of the Living Dead 2 before the first film.  I doubt anything from the first movie’s been spoilt for me, but it would have been better to get that one first.

This is a very eighties film.  It’s not just the hair and the outfits.  Maybe it was a particular film stock which got used a lot during the decade, or perhaps the way it’s lit, but there is something about the texture of the image on screen that’s reminiscent of other low to mid budget films from the time.  I don’t know enough about the technical aspects of film stock etc. to be able to describe it more accurately.

I’m not giving any major plot points away by telling you that the story starts when containers of a super-secret gas fall off the back of an Army lorry.  One of them is found by a bunch of kids, who crack it open and….. well, you’ve seen the film title.  The dead are nigh on indestructable and display more sentience than the average zombie- they’re sympathetic enough, and many of the living so flat and annoying, that you can’t help but root for them some, if not all, of the time.

The film is played as comedy with gruesome effects, but the humour is too broad and tends toward bad slapstick, which lets it down a lot.  If they could just have resisted the temptation to ham it up- and had the characters do more intelligent stuff than just whining, running around and then whining some more- they could have had something creepy, with genuine scares and laughs.  Such a wasted opportunity.

Sadly, this was an unfunny, un-scary movie not redeemed by some quite good undead makeup and practical effects.  Just in case I haven’t put you off, you can buy Return of the Living Dead part 2 from Amazon

[B Movie Night is going to be an occasional series reviewing trashy, cheap, off-the-wall and downright bizarre movies.  I’m not going to seek out trash to make fun of- though there’s bound to be a fair amount of that- or expecting to unearth forgotten gems, just have some fun and tell you about the silly films I’m watching.]