House of the Dead 2 (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A special military/scientific expedition is sent into a college campus which has been infected with the dreaded zombism virus. Their mission: to find "zombie zero," because his or her blood can be used to created an antidote for the disease. Increasing their challenge: they have to move fast, because the military will strafe the entire contaminated campus with cruise missiles in just a few hours.

Many reviewers and IMDb members commented that this film was superior to the original House of the Dead. I can't disagree with that statement. Of course, it is both self-evident and at the same time an implied condemnation because it is praise so faint it can barely be detected by the human senses. If I say that Bill O'Reilly is a nicer guy than Stalin, do you think I am really praising him or using a literary trope to damn him with faint praise? It certainly doesn't imply that he's nice. If the statement is true, he could still be about the fifth-worst person in the history of the human race. In fact, unless I am being sarcastic, I would not mention it at all because the same statement is probably true about every living human being, even Kim Jong-Il. The original House of the Dead is the Stalin of Movies. It was made by schlockmeister Uwe Boll and is currently rated as the 15th worst film of all time at IMDb. The odds are pretty damned good that the successor would be better. Indeed, the distributors could have re-issued Gymkata, retitled it House of the Dead 2, and it still would have been an improvement over the original.

To be fair, the actual House of the Dead 2 is not a bad effort, given the limitations of its genre and budget. The script makes some sense, as these things go. It is not without a sense of humor, and it makes some attempt to individualize the characters beyond the usual genre stereotypes. The photography is clear and properly lighted. The performances are competent. Although there are no mainstream reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, four genre specialists weighed in on the film, and three of the four praised it!

The Arrow summed up the perspective of the genre critics:

"HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 showed off a winning sense of humor, a promising premise, a handful of decent actors and an easy-money pace. Too bad the low budget, the lack of true gore and the oh-hum directing played against it. Iím half, half on this one but I could see it playing well with brews and friends in tow. I saw it with a crowd and it sure helped make it more fun than it truly was. Your call!"

This isn't a masterpiece like 28 Days Later or Sean of the Dead, the kind of film that will make you re-think the automatic revulsion you feel for zombie films, but it does meet the minimum daily requirements for fans of the zombie genre.

 

DVD INFO

  • full-length audio commentary
  • "making of" featurette
  • deleted scenes
  • the widescreen transfer is anamorphically enhanced (16x9)

 

NUDITY REPORT

Paige Peterson does full-frontal nudity as a student-turned-zombie.

Cristin Michelle is topless as another student zombie.

Danielle Burgio is topless (possibly prosthetics) as "zombie zero."

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

  • Rotten Tomatoes - four reviews from internet sites specializing in genre films

 

The People Vote ...

  • Made for cable. The budget has been estimated to be six million dollars.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

 

Based on this description,call it a C-. Although it is a film to avoid if zombies aren't your thing, the people who do have a thing for zombies found it to be competent, if not particularly inspired.

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