February 20, 2011

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (Review)

Return of the Living Dead:
Rave to the Grave (2005)

Director: Ellory Elkayem

1.5 / 5 zedheads


With Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, director Ellory Elkayem took a big shit in the Return of the Living Dead sandbox. Now, with Rave to the Grave, Elkayem takes Return of the Living Dead out to a party and pukes in the franchise's hair.

Rave to the Grave pulls out no stops in delivering a complete turd of a movie. Trying desperately to be a tongue-in-cheek comedy, Rave to the Grave is a flat, ridiculous, boring, and confusing sequel to Necropolis with only one redeeming value: the film stars the beautiful Jenny Mollen.

You see what I mean
Okay, I'm not being entirely fair. Rave to the Grave also features some topnotch zombie makeup work from Optic Nerve. But that's all the credit I'll give this dung pile. Let's move on to the synopsis and get this gong show on the road.

Not even the Tarman is saved from the indignity of Rave to the Grave
Set vaguely after the events of Necropolis, although the events of that film are never referenced and the characters seem to have zero recollection of surviving that zombie outbreak, we are re-introduced to Julian (John Keefe, still looking perplexed in all his scenes). He's now at College, dating a lovely science student named Jenny (Jenny Mollen), and surrounding himself with another gang of douche bag friends to replace the ones eaten in the last film. Fellow survivor Becky (Aimee-Lynn Chadwick) is around, but she's so inexplicably changed from a clumsy nerd girl into a skimpy party babe that you'd be forgiven for thinking she's playing a different character. Also, Cody (Cory Hardrict), the token black guy and hacker from Necropolis, has applied himself to the field of chemistry and narcotics production. Party drugs are his game, and Jenny's DJ brother Jeremy (duck-lipped Cain Manoli) provides the place to sell them: really wicked raves!

The zombie action begins when Julian learns that his Uncle (Peter Coyote), the villain of Necropolis, has died. Julian seems oddly sad about the news. In a surprising reveal, he seems to be still living at his Uncle's home despite the fact that in Necropolis his Uncle was an evil bastard who turned Julian's parents into machine-gun zombies that tried to kill Julian and his friends. Is Rave to the Grave even supposed to be a sequel? Anyways, while packing up the attic, Julian discovers some Trioxin canisters stashed away by his Uncle. Julian, oddly enough, has no idea what they could be. No idea at all. Not a clue.


Clueless, Julian takes the zombie-creating Trioxin canisters to his drug-peddling buddies and entrusts it to their care. Although they're college students, they act like veteran research scientists and discover that the fluid in the canister has properties similar to that of Ecstasy and other party drugs. Naturally, behind Julian's back, they turn the Trioxin into a new party pill called 'Z'. If you weren't turned off drugs by that freaky Snake anti-drug PSA from the 1980s, then let Rave to the Grave give you the straight dope: Homeboys that take 'Z' turn into brain hungry zombies, yo. That's whack. Just say, "No!"

Pretty soon, people are acting like idiots, and goofy plot contrivances (including the nonsense appearance of the Tarman) bring about a zombie epidemic during a neon rave. Two bumbling Interpol agents I first mistook for European gangsters enter the fray for no clear reason other than that they want to find the Trioxin so their bosses will give them Cristal and trips to Euro Disney (I'm not making that up).

"Brains!" This movie has little.
The acting (save from Mollen) is horrible. Like Necropolis, Rave to the Grave was filmed in Eastern Europe with a number of European actors who had to be dubbed in English. Therefore, some of the dialogue that could have been slightly funny tumbles out of the mouths of actors in a dull and stilted way. While Optic Nerve once again provides better zombie makeup than the film deserves, the film is just boring to look at. I certainly hope the cast and crew had fun making the picture, because it was tedious to watch.

Not only is it the worst film in the Return of the Living Dead franchise, Rave to the Grave somehow manages to be worse than Necropolis.

It's going to take a long time for the franchise to clean this party puke out of its hair.