Let me just say I thought it was an interesting experiment what Russo did with the 30th Anniversary Edition of the film he co-wrote with George Romero(for those who don’t know he co-wrote Night of the Living Dead and went on to the produce the first Return of the Living Dead, when he and Romero split ways), but taking out footage and adding into the film it allowed for him to show his own version that he can really call his own, was it successful, well not always, it is nice that he got the original cemetery zombie actor back, but being 30 years later you can tell he has aged and a lot of the scenes really make no sense, in my opinion he could have filmed scenes featuring some of what we hear the people talk about and find a way around showing them directly, but that is another review, this is for the film that came after it, which is much much worse.
I had heard about this film for quite a while and after getting the 30th Anniversary Edition(as well as the Millennium Edition)of the original film, I thought I’d at least find out what all the hate was about, I mean the film is so bad the director apologized for making it. What I found was that this film is just a disaster from start to finish, the make up FX on the zombies was terrible and looked like it was done by film students, the acting was horrendous, making you wonder if they were just plucked from the street and not even given lessons, the pacing of the film is the slowest, I mean its not even that long of a film, but it feels longer than Wes Craven’s New Nightmare’s credit sequence.
Tom Savini is put down as a star and while he is in this film, I’d say he is more of a nostalgia cameo, like in Land of the Dead(however that continued his character from Dawn of the Dead, this was new). The box cover says, “From the Executive Producer of A Nightmare on Elm Street” and while this is referring to Joseph Wolf (upon further looking he did work on Halloween 2 and 3),saying that doesn’t mean it’ll be good, it just means they got someone who was on a better film.
The other thing is what does this have to do with the previous film? I mean putting down “Living Dead” doesn’t make it a sequel, I mean if it did we have 5 films in the “Return” series, we have a film called “Flight of the Living Dead” and so on. Before you mention the Romero franchise, there is a common thread in those films, the zombie evolve in each film and in each film we get just a peek more of the reality of their evolution, this has none of that. Like I said before the acting is just horrible, the cinematography felt like it was done by a used camera from a library, a lot of night scenes making it hard to even see the characters, now I know in some films that’s useful to create suspense, but too much of anything is bad and its bad here.
I just don’t know anything good to say abut the film, its not worth owning and seeing as its not part of a collection, I don’t see a reason to even own it. You’d be happier doing what Ash does in Evil Dead II and sawing your hand off and letting it give the finger to it.