Horror Movie Review: Return of the Living Dead: Rave To The Grave (2005)


Could Return of the Living Dead (5): Rave To The Grave be any worse than Necropolis? For my sanity thankfully the answer is no…I liken it to this:

Necropolis is like being told that the accident you were in means your leg has to be amputated, Rave to the Grave is the doctor apologising & telling you that actually it is just your foot that needs amputating. It’s still not great news but at least your jeans will still fit.

Shot back to back with Necropolis & using a lot of the same cast (as well as even more Eastern European kids pretending to be Americans poorly), Rave to the Grave attempts to correct a lot of the issues found in Necropolis by ramping up the humour factor.

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Let me make myself clear…Rave to the Grave is not a funny movie in anyway, if you laughed at bits of this movie go sit in a corner & think about what you’ve done. Its attempts at being funny mean the content is a bit more light-hearted & tongue in cheek, this is something I prefer. I also appreciated the ramping up of the gore but I’m getting ahead of myself…

So the story of Rave to the Grave is set a year after the events of Necropolis & sees Uncle Charles arriving at a mortuary with one of the canisters of Trioxin that he managed to salvage from the Hybra Tech incident. He is selling it to a couple of Russian government officials on a mission to destroy all the canisters. However they are not convinced it is the real deal so want to see it in action before they do the deal. Inside the mortuary they accidently revive 3 corpses rather than 1 & Charles is killed as well as 1 of the officials.

Julian & several characters from Necropolis are still at college with what seems to be little recollection of what took place a year before. When Julian is informed of his uncle’s death (Charles) he is upset & sets about investigating his house (with his new girlfriend, Jenny) to see if he can find out what he was involved in that got him killed. Seemingly he has forgotten about the whole ‘zombies & turning his parents into zombie weapons thing’ from Necropolis.

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Nosing around they uncover a secret room with the last few Trioxin barrels inside. Once again Julian is ignorant of what they are so takes it to Cody (hacker in Necropolis – science guy in rave to the Grave) who tests the chemical inside & likens it to Ecstasy, the drug.

Jenny’s idiot brother, Jeremy decides to taste the chemical & after having a mental trip he & Cody, against Julian’s wishes, set about creating a drug to sell to all the kids at school dubbed ‘Z’ (‘cause it makes you stand around acting like a zombie). Oh & did I mention Jeremy is a DJ at a huge rave in a few days?

…and there we have it. Turns out most of the kids at this school are into doing drugs & see no problem in taking several of these untested pills before heading off to the rave of all raves. Cue lots of topless girls, bad acting & rubbish zombies.

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It is impossible to not criticise this movie without first mentioning the terrible continuity with Necropolis. None of the returning characters (except Charles) seem to remember what took place in the previous one. I could forgive it if it was set up like the reoccurring characters in Return 1 & 2 but it is not. Make no mistake about it this movie is supposed to follow on from Necropolis, did they all get amnesia?

Now let’s talk zombies…unsurprisingly they are the same kind of zombies that Necro used. They die easily with shots to the head, are slow & stupid & now seem happy enough to bite necks & infect through scratches. Even worse is the inability of main characters to recognise when someone is a zombie. Rather they just keep wondering aloud about what is wrong with the person. It is face-palming stuff…

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There are far too many moments when a character taps a person on the shoulder & they turn around revealing themselves to be a zombie. This happens so many times that I started to wonder if I was in a sort of zombie groundhog day thing.

The whole build up is to led to a big payoff at the rave & I hoped it would be at least a violent & gory affair. Considering some of the effects used to that point I was sure it would step it up but it didn’t. The rave is 20 minutes of Romanian & Russian teenagers pretending to be Americans having a good time while the occasional zombie staggers about. When it does all kick off it focuses on far too much of Cody & his girlfriend’s dilemma. It is hard to care at all about them especially when he accidently shoots a raver rather then a zombie & says “oops”. Guy deserves to die….

Throw in the 2 hapless Russian agents who are now dressed up in female party clothes (for laughs, don’t you know?) & Rave to the Grave is suddenly looking way to long at 90 minutes.

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I won’t spoil the ending for you in case you decide to subject yourself to the movie suffice to say they missed a trick with the army coming in & the final line made me throw my shoe & my TV in disgust.

So what did I like? Well as I said above it is gorier then the last & that I enjoyed. There are a couple of nice deaths including a squeezed head with eyes popping out, drumsticks in the eyes, heads being knocked off & a zombie blowjob.

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A zombie lab rat, the best looking Tarman since Return 2 & some really good make-up helped me enjoy sections of the movie more then I should & the final shot of Tarman walking towards a city with his ‘rave or bust’ hitchhiker sign made me smile.

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…and that is it. That is all I enjoyed in 90 minutes of movie magic. The nudity is poorly placed & does that whole spring break thing I hate in movies. You know, the DJ says take your top off & the girls just do conveniently not wearing a bra. The 2 girls that the agents rob of clothes come back topless to say a terrible line before running off screaming, it was clearly just an opportunity to get more tits on screen.

Marginally better then the last but I didn’t feel any better for it afterwards.

That is it; don’t touch the Return name ever again. Leave it alone, it is dead & buried. Why you would set about destroying everything the original stood for to make a set of terrible zombie movies? I don’t get it, you couldn’t make it this bad accidently. It’s like the director & writers hated the original movies & wanted to fuck with them or that they just never watched them.

No more, please.


Return of the Living Dead: Rave To The Grave
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