Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (DVD)
Directed by Ellory Elkayem
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
My god, what have I done to deserve this? I closed my review of Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis by saying "...Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave, will be making its way home soon; and the title alone makes me cringe. Of course I'll be here giving you the straight dope on it. I have truly learned to suffer for my craft." Suffer I have. In fact, this one was even more unwatchable than the last. There's so very much wrong here it's hard to even know where to begin. Yet, try I shall. Let's start with the basic premise.
Charles Garrison (Coyote), the evil doctor from Hybra Tech continues to pursue his dreams of being rich by trying to sell yet another barrel full of zombie and infectious chemical to some foreign agents. The dead rise, the deal goes sour, a few head shots later everything is okay again. Turns out our foreign agents are actually the good guys. Their mission? Find every barrel and dispose of its contents. Anyways, Doctor Garrison is killed during the flubbed deal and his home is left to his nephew Julian (Keefe). Guess what Julian finds at his uncle's house! Hint: it makes the dead want brains. So what's a kid to do? Simple! Bring the barrel to his best friend (who also happens to be a chem major) and figure out what's inside of it.
After some quick testing it turns out that the chemical in the barrel can be used as a great party drug similar to "X". Against Julian's wishes his friends help to design and distribute this new drug called "Z" (how fucking clever) because it makes the user so high that they just stand around like zombies. And what better place to sell drugs? A rave that's being held on Halloween night at an abandoned factory of some sort. Of course everyone there who takes "Z" ends up becoming a real life zombie, and before you know it the cries for "BRAIIIINNNSSSSS" begin emanating from everywhere. Considering this is supposed to be a mindless and fun little zombie flick this should be a pretty decent set-up. Unfortunately everything, from top to bottom is executed so poorly that nothing works.
The jokes aren't funny. The acting is horrendous. The dubbing of foreign actors makes most of the film's dialogue sound worse than an old Godzilla movie. Even with an R rating the gore here is made up of a series of quick cutaways. I swear, part of me thinks that Lionsgate just threw the Sci-Fi TV version on to a DVD by accident instead of the real cut. Even if, this flick is so shitty I have to wonder if anyone would even care about seeing the F/X in their entirety. Good music, once a staple of the first three Return of the Living Dead films, is replaced here with a soundtrack full of generic techno and faux-angst rock tracks that are more annoying than anything else. And finally there is the ultimate sin ... the zombies themselves. In just about every other film in the franchise, including the fourth to some extent, they had personality. Here they do nothing. They could have had cardboard cutouts in each scene and I bet the effect would have been the same. Though there is one standout looking fellow. The prerequisite "Tar Man" looking zombie that comes out of the barrel. Now this thing looks cool, but just like the super zombies in Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, he's given nothing to do of any interest. Unless of course you consider the picture to your left interesting.
Thankfully, there was no supplemental material that I had to go through. I don't think I could stand it, yet I must admit, I'd love to hear what the folks involved with this stale mess have to say for themselves. Honestly, the only good thing in this entire package are the DVD menus. How's that for reaching for something positive to say? Yep, those menus! They're good!
This franchise, like many others, now has a Suck Curse™.
Please, anyone reading this, if you're a fan and happen to be a film-maker, don't even think about it. Just let this once gloriously fun franchise go. Save yourself! Make your own film. Tread this ground no further. Director Ellory Elkayem, and writer/genre star William Butler did, and as a result must have had the creative parts of their brains eaten by ghouls. That's the only explanation I have for just how painful an experience sitting through this has been. You don't want that to happen to you now do you?
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
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