By no means is House of the Dead 2 a good movie, but at least it’s one of the few sequels which is actually better than its predecessor.
How do you a make the direct sequel to one of the worst movies ever created? Maybe changing the director is a good start, especially when that director is the infamous Uwe Boll. To put it mildly, the original House of the Dead was one of the most lackluster films ever made, as a consequence, the fact that a direct sequel eventually came out is quite surprising in its own right.
The setting has been replaced this time around and instead of taking place in a remote island, this sequel is set in a university campus where a zombie infection breaks out. The introduction of the film shows a group of immature teenagers as they party and drink (notice any similarities to the original House of the Dead?) at the fictional Cuesta Verde University. After the college party, a professor runs over one of his female students, takes her corpse back to his lab and injects her with a powerful serum, hoping to bring her back to life. He kind of succeeds, as she does return to life… as a zombie
Immediately after that, the undead girl manages to escape the laboratory and starts attacking other people, turning them into zombies as well. All the “turning-into zombies” part takes place during the introductory credits sequence, so conveniently enough we get to see who the co-producer is at the same time we see the quarterback transform into a shambling creature. Soon enough, the military finds out about the incident and sends a group of highly trained soldiers to eliminate the zombie threat and a duo of medical researchers to retrieve a sample of the blood of the first infected. By doing that, the doctors may find a way to not only neutralize the disease, but also find a cure.
The military men are then sent to the university campus, but to get there they must go through the woods where they find (take a quick guess…) zombies. The soldiers kill most of them, but some of the soldiers get infected and die. Then this extremely mechanical process is repeated a couple of times only in different places. Chances are if you have watched a zombie film recently, you know exactly what’s going to happen in House of the Dead 2 as this film adds absolutely nothing meaningful to an overused formula.
As usual, each member of the group of main characters fulfills a stereotype, giving you the opportunity of guessing who’s going to get killed first. A clear example of this is the soldier who keeps accruing all the valuable items he finds in the dorms (rings, money, wallets and so on,) makes misogynist remarks and teases teammates. Come on, he’s so obnoxious that there’s no way he’s making it to the closing credits alive. Unfortunately, apart from being able to perceive who’s likeable and who isn’t, you don’t know anything else about these people. Consequently, they die one after the other and you don’t care.
Surprisingly enough, these scenes are mildly entertaining. And there lies one of the most interesting features of House of the Dead 2, its story may be mindless, acting poor, special effects terrible, music lackluster, but at least this is a watchable movie, which is more than I can say about its predecessor.
House of the Dead 2 does have multiple flaws though: dialogues are both predictable and ridiculous, performances are contemptible, the lack of tension is intoxicating and the plot is intensely forgettable. But even when it has some serious problems, it manages to do some things right when compared to its mediocre predecessor. For starters, House of the Dead 2 has no random references to the games (the few included are pretty mild and never intrusive.) Additionally, no weird directing techniques have been included (those who watched the original House of the Dead may remember the use of bullet time and clips taken from the games.)
In conclusion, House of the Dead 2, may be a subpar, monotonous, dull and formulaic film, but its predecessor had set the bar so low that this sequel feels better in comparison. Those looking for a movie in which they don’t have to think too much about the plot may find House of the Dead 2 appealing enough, even when it leaves a great deal to be desired.