Main cast: Emmanuelle Vaugier (Alexandra Morgan/Nightingale), Ed Quinn (Ellis), Sticky Fingaz (Dalton), Steve Monroe (O’Conner), Victoria Pratt (Henson), James Jean Parks (Bart), Billy Brown (Griffin), Nadine Velazques (Rodriguez), and Ellie Cornell (Jordan Casper)
Director: Michael Hurst
Surprise, House of the Dead 2 is a far more superior movie to the putrid House of the Dead, but that’s mostly because the director isn’t Uwe Boll and the cast of this movie can actually bring on the ham pretty effectively.
Despite being set shortly after the events of the previous movie, this one may as well be a separate movie of its own due to how different it is in terms of story direction and… everything, really. In this one, the surviving characters of the previous movie met a terrible end, but not before Alicia falls under the control of Rudy’s father (who turns out to be a mad scientist). The mad scientist kills his students and experiments on their bodies by injecting them with the zombie serum. One fine day, he succeeds, and predictably enough gets killed by the zombie, who proceeds to infect everyone in the university and beyond.
What do you know, America has a task force assembled to deal with such situation! No, it’s not called STARS – that’s a different video game. The AMC squad, comprising lots of disposable soldiers, including the token asshole Bart, and two scientists-agents from the “brain” division AMS, Nightingale and Ellis, team up. Nightingale and Ellis will try to locate “Subject Zero”, the original zombie that started the outbreak, to create an antidote to the infection, while the AMC guys will just shoot every shuffling rotting thing in sight. Hilarity ensues.
This movie shamelessly rips off elements from the Alien, Resident Evil, and various other zombie and space horror movie franchises, but it is nonetheless rather enjoyable to watch. A big reason for this is the tongue-in-cheek nature of the script that allows the main characters to poke fun at the absurdities of the movie itself. Emmanuelle Vaugier and Ed Quinn have an easy rapport going on here, like a low-rent version of Mulder and Scully, and they are actually fun to watch. There are is gore here and there, but nothing too scary. In fact, the gore is comically fake. But I’m too busy laughing to care.
It is in the last third or so of the movie that everything falls apart. The zombies forget that they are zombies, and our heroes manage to run through a huge hoard of them without even getting a scratch. And these zombies must be very stealthy too, as their victims can’t even hear them coming from behind! By this late stage, things become too absurd, and I’m now laughing at the movie instead of with them.
House of the Dead 2 is no great movie by any stretch of imagination, but for a long time it manages to deliver adequate cheese and horror-humor to make up for its many inadequacies. I won’t recommend seeking out this movie to watch, but if you do stumble upon it on cable one of these days, it’s worth a watch.