Thursday, June 12, 2008


The second 2005 sequel to RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD that nobody asked for, RAVE TO THE GRAVE is ostensibly a direct follow-up to NECROPOLIS--it carries over the same production team--director Ellory Elkayem, screenwriters William Butler and Aaron Strongoni, and several members of the cast--and a few plot threads (well, a few barrels of Trioxin, maybe), yet still feels far removed from the previous installment. It's also a pretty crummy movie; this is the kind of crap I was expecting when I sat down to watch NECROPOLIS.

RAVE has many of the same problems as NECROPOLIS, and recent zombie films in general--pitiful stabs at humor (aggressively trying to be funny with a variety of misguided comic ploys from language-barrier malaprops to juvenile sight-gags), obnoxious and unlikable characters (I know that today's generation of young people--i.e. this film's target audience--can be an intolerable crowd, but just because you can relate to a protagonist's assholery, does that somehow make them more sympathetic that way?), and an general air of overfamiliarity. There's also too many inconsistencies from the last picture to this--such as reverting Aimee-Lynn Chadwick's character from action-babe awesomeness to a vapid co-ed who can't figure out why local fratboys are demanding brains--that don't make sense coming from the same filmmakers.

The film's overall storyline also has too many flaws, both in concept and execution. The premise--that the last of the last of the Trioxin finds its way into a Ecstasy-like drug--is rich material for metaphor and symbolism, but here remains just another gimmick to kick-start a zombie outbreak. Topics that could've worked as satire, like the campus vegans who get turned into zombies, are wasted for the easiest, most obvious joke possible. And when we finally get to the "rave" (again, I've never been in the loop on such things, but a huge crowd of people tripping to techno music isn't really a rave, is it?) it's more of the watered-down same, with the cornball humor offsetting any chance of creating some genuine excitement. RAVE manages to sneak in a quick "Tar Man" appearance, though he's so underutilized, except for a couple of stupid in-jokes, that it's damn near insulting.

Forget the corpses, it's this series itself that's in need of reanimation.

(You can watch the digression of the movies in this collection of trailers.)

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