Main cast: Amanda Righetti (Ariel Wolfe), Cerina Vincent (Michelle), Erik Palladino (Desmond Niles), Tom Riley (Paul), Andrew Lee Potts (Kyle), Steven Pacey (Dr Richard Hammer), and Jeffrey Combs (Dr B Vannacutt)
Director: Victor Garcia
Unlike the 1999 flick House on Haunted Hill, this sequel is not a remake of an old cheesy horror movie. As the title would suggest, another group of idiots return to the haunted building that was once a former asylum ran by Dr B Vannacutt, who had his staff torture the inmates apparently for sport.
Sara Wolfe, who survived the previous movie, dies off-screen within the first few minutes of this movie. She and her sister Ariel had never talked since her escape, as Ariel never believes that the house was haunted. Ariel is especially guilt-ridden because she had been ignoring Sara’s persistent calls before Sara turned up dead, apparently by suicide. She and her colleague Paul (who really wants to be more than her friend) go to Sara’s place to see whether there are any clues leading to Sara’s suicide, only to bump into Dr Richard Hammer, a professor who claims that Sara had offered to help him recover a relic, the Baphomet statue, from the house. Ariel doesn’t believe him, but when the treasure hunter Desmond Niles and his armed entourage crash her place and force her and Paul to the haunted house to help him recover the relic (Desmond is convinced that Sara must have told Ariel something), it looks like Dr Hammer may be telling the truth after all.
As it happens, Dr Hammer, his girlfriend Michelle, and his assistant Kyle decide to break into the house to find the relic themselves. The whole party meet up and guns are waved at a few faces, but things are only get more happening as the ghosts join in the fun and take them out one by one. The black guy dies first, naturally.
Return to House on Haunted Hill retains its share of gore and bloody death scenes, with an unnecessary lesbian foreplay thing thrown in as well. While the idea of having an evil demon-tainted relic in the house being the driving force behind the nonsense going on is not entirely original, the whole thing fits the plot pretty well here. Erik Palladino makes an enjoyably smarmy and evil villain – or maybe I’m just a sucker for his smile. However, the characters here are even more shallow than those of the previous movie, so they are basically meat sticks waiting to be killed off. Amanda Righetti makes a pretty convincing tough chick heroine, but her character is so basic that she rarely makes an impression. Paul is such a bizarre beta male who would always agree with anything she says and even happily risks his life for her. Still, Kyle is a pretty amusing comic relief guy. The rest are just there.
I like that scene where the poor guy gets his guts ripped out of his body but on the whole, the movie is rather predictable and there is a “I’ve seen all of this” feeling to everything. It’s not a bad watch if there is nothing else on, but I won’t recommend going out of your way just to kill time on this one.