Directed by Ken Wiederhorn [Other horror films: Shock Waves (1977), Eyes of a Stranger (1981), Dark Tower (1989)]
Having never seen this sequel before, I could imagine that it’d be a favorite if I had watched it when I was a kid. There might have been a chance for this to possess a lot of nostalgic charm if this had caught me when I was young. As it is, watching it for the first time now, I just found it regrettably more goofy than the first film, and nowhere near as good.
It’s not an utter waste of time, but almost everything that was great about the first film is somewhat muted here. The story itself is okay, and the setting is decent, but the music isn’t as memorable, the characters are nowhere near as good, and the fact that humor is more at the forefront was a choice that I sensed was coming but didn’t care for whatsoever.
For a young actor, Michael Kenworthy gave a pretty good performance, and it made it a bit easier to like his character when he was about the only one who knew what he was doing. This kid was pretty clever, and I appreciated his initiative. Playing his sister, Marsha Dietlein can yell at me anytime she wants, as she was foxy as fuck here. Dana Ashbrook was decent as an action-oriented guy, but he felt somewhat stereotypical come the conclusion.
James Karen and Thom Mathews (who played similar characters in the first film, which is even alluded to here) were okay, but seeing Mathews in the first movie was enough, as half his dialogue here once he falls ill is the same stuff from the first film. And playing his girlfriend, Suzanne Snyder was extraordinarily irksome. She wouldn’t shut up. Snyder played the character well, but what a terrible character.
With it’s focus more on the humor, Return of the Living Dead: Part II wasn’t near as enjoyable and (ironically) fun as the first movie. It has some okay scenes toward the end (even those terrible electrocution effects have their place), but it was an underwhelming experience throughout, and while I know some out there enjoy this one, I just couldn’t get into it.