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Night of the Living Dead Part 2 (1988) - Film Review

Return of the Living Dead (which I reviewed here) is not a bad film, it isn’t a particularly scary film, but it’s pretty entertaining - in the most part, because of its humour. Alas the sequel RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is not so entertaining.

Return of the Living Dead Part 2 is almost the same film as its predecessor; in fact it is trying so hard to be identical it’s ridiculous! James Karen and Thom Mathews return despite being killed in the first film!
This time, instead of playing Frank and Freddy they play Ed and Joey, however the characters are exactly the same. Ken Weiderhorn was obviously hoping that bringing this pair back together for the sequel would pay off dividends; after all, it was their comedic talents that made the first film work. Sadly, the screenwriting is nothing like as good as the first, and the film fails to be either frightening or funny.

The story is more of what we’re used to, a couple of canisters of the lethal Zombie creating ‘Trioxine’ are balanced precariously on the back of an army truck. One bump going over a bridge, and you guessed it; the trioxine canisters take a tumble. When they are discovered and broken by a couple of pesky kids, the chemicals escape and the dead begin to return to life.

A few adults and one kid are trapped inside the military road blocks and have to do battle with an ever increasing number of Zombies. The Zombies, once again are craving nothing but brains.

There are a few comedy moments, but these are forced - the real laughs are none existent and when the best joke is a zombie trying to climb out of his grave who keeps getting his head stood on by other zombies, it’s a poor show indeed.

Where James Karen was brilliant in the first as the almost camp, screaming Frank, as Ed the girly screams become annoying, this is because the writing does not do him justice and as a result his talent is wasted and he becomes nothing more than a parody.

Return of the Living Dead Part 2 is a lazy rip-off of the first, where the other was fresh and funny, this one plays out as stale and jaded.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART 2 (1988). Director/Writer: Ken Weiderhorn. Cast: James Karen, Thom Mathews, Michael Kenworthy, Jason Hogan, Suzanne Snyder

Buy on Region 1:

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