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House Of The Dead 2: Dead Aim (2005)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Movie Connections:
House Of The Dead
> House Of The Dead (2003)
> House Of The Dead 2: Dead Aim (2005)
Genres / Traits:
Horror, Zombie Film, Video Games
Director:
Michael Hurst Michael Hurst
Starring:
Emmanuelle Vaugier Emmanuelle Vaugier
Ed Quinn Ed Quinn
Sticky Fingaz Sticky Fingaz
Steve Monroe Steve Monroe
Victoria Pratt Victoria Pratt

4.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: March 24, 2006
Following the ever-so-successful masterpiece from Uwe Boll, House Of The Dead 2 picks up shortly after the first one left off. Rudy and Alicia, the two survivors from that fated island, have been brought back to the mainland and investigated by the AMS (a secret government agency that deals with, well, zombies). They're found to be perfectly fine and set free to resume their daily lives. Rudy disappears, but it appears that Alicia wasn't quite as fine as everyone thought. She's infected with the virus, but for some reason, it moves through her body a lot slower than everyone else. Rudy's scientist dad Dr. Curien (Sid Haig) decides to lock her up in his college science lab, believing that her blood holds the key to immortality. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out where we go from there; experiments take place, an outbreak occurs at this college, the students start to die off one by one, and the virus keeps on spreading with no end in sight.

Twenty-nine days later, we catch up with AMS agents Alex (Emmanuelle Vaugier) and Ellis (Ed Quinn), who have just heard about this latest zombie infestation. They get the orders from their leader, Casper (Ellie Cornell, the one who lost her legs and was blown up in the original), to both contain this virus and to attempt to recover some blood samples from a first-generation zombie; yes, the one that started the whole outbreak at this college. Apparently, if they can get some blood samples from said zombie, they'll be able to figure out how to make a vaccine for the virus, so that some day, it will all just be a small footnote in the history books, kind of like "AIDS and the black plague." Accompanying these AMS agents on their mission are a handful of soldier grunts, led by Sgt. Dalton (rapper Sticky Fingaz) and including Henson (Victoria Pratt) and Bart (James Parks) to name but a few. We now have plenty of high-powered guns, a campus full of zombies, a fair number of zombie-fodder humans, and ninety minutes to kill. Good times are ahead, or are they?

House of the Dead was not a very good movie, to put it lightly. As of this writing, it's ranked #16 in the worst 100 movies of all time on IMDb, and it's ranked #7 in a similar list according to our own little movie site. Needless to say, I'm not alone in my very low opinion of that film. This sequel, which premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel (which is known for horrendously bad movies), was not something that very many people looked forward to. With all of that in mind, I picked up a copy of this sequel with very low expectations, and I fully expected to be sitting down right about now to write a scathing review. Surprisingly, this movie was much better than the original; in fact, it was actually quite enjoyable. I know that saying it was "much better" isn't much of a compliment considering the series at hand, but in these days of sequelitis, I felt that I had to throw that out there.

Is this sequel a great movie? No. Is this sequel something that will redefine the zombie genre? Definitely not. However, it is entertaining if you're a fan of zombie films such as myself. There's plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor (along with plenty of jabs at the original and nods to other zombie films), a nice-sized swarm of zombies that actually look great, and on the DVD (I'm going to assume that the best parts were mostly cut from the Sci-Fi broadcast), there's more gore than you can shake a stick at. There's even some original ideas to be found here, ideas that work out nicely! Indeed, I'm as surprised as many of you viewers will be after reading this; I enjoyed this movie.

Sure, it's not perfect. There's plenty of silly things that happen as the movie moves along that made no sense whatsoever, with an example being that damned metal grate. Three soldiers, armed with high-powered firearms and barricaded inside a sports-equipment storage room, can not get a metal grate off of the wall so that they can escape through the air vent. You may be thinking, "Oh, well, stupid things happen, no big deal." The problem in this particular case is that this grate was a major point of the movie, and the attempts to get into it took up about ten minutes of the film. A well-placed kick would have saved them plenty of time, not to mention the shotguns, machine guns, pistols, and baseball bats that they had at their disposal.

Also, I should point out that there is some unintentional humor in this movie. Yes, there's plenty of one-liners and nods to other films that are placed there to pull a chuckle from the audience, but that's not what I'm referring to here. In one of the final scenes, for example, we see one of the main characters get bitten by a zombie, and we all know what happens to somebody who gets a chunk taken out of them by the undead. This character was one of the stars of the movie, and therefore, she delivered a nice speech before she bought the farm. You know the sort of speech I'm referring to: the old "Save yourselves, save the world, get out of here, I love you guys, blah blah blah" routine has been done countless times throughout cinematic history. What makes this scene so "special", however, is that while talking to one of the main actors, she calls him by the other female's name. That scene made me giggle, but it's nothing compared to the closing moments of the film...

<Slight Spoiler>
The military has sent a missile crashing into the college, which resulted in the obligatory "exploding building with the hero jumping out the front door just in time" scene. Presumedly, this has killed all of the zombies in this location, all is good, and the movie is over. The two heroes escape to the country-side, where they find a man on the ground who has been torn apart. "The virus must have spread outside of the college", says one hero to the other. In direct response to this (meaning, just seconds later), the other hero says "I wonder if the explosion contained the virus inside of the college?" Now, I don't normally point out things like this in my reviews, but this one was way too good to pass up. Some proofreading of the script would have worked wonders in this case, I believe.
</Slight Spoiler>

The acting is, well... it's decent enough for a movie of this nature. Nobody is down-right awful in their role, but with the exception of one man, nobody stands out either. That one man would be James Parks, who plays the perverted and unsympathetic Bart. His role was that of the asshole, the guy that would make the audience cheer when he finally got torn apart by the zombies, but personally, I thought he was the highlight of the film. Every scene that he was involved in was made that much better by both his lines and his line-delivery. While the stars of the film were decent enough, I can't help but wonder how much better this movie would have been had there been a few more actors of his ability running around. Sid Haig is also great in his role, but sadly, he only gets about four minutes of screen-time. His involvement with the film is a nice cameo, but nothing more.

So yes, the movie does have its share of problems. It's not perfect, and it won't go down in history as one of the best zombie movies ever, but it is an entertaining film for fans of zombies. In fact, this movie ends with a scene that perfectly sets up for another sequel... and if director Michael Hurst does indeed film that sequel as planned, I can't wait to see it. 6/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 03/27/2006, 07:06 PM
The only reason this sequel was better than the original was that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY it could be any worse. The original film was one of the worst films of all-time. I picked this one up for a look-see myself and found it to be 10,000,000 times better than the original, but still absolutely wretched. Even the cheerful Sid Haig was not enough to turn this piece of shit into a million dollar turd. It was so very very bad. 0/10.
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