Zombie Movie Review: Return of the Living Dead 5 : Rave to the Grave

This film is showing on Netflix Instant US. Visit Blog of the Living Dead for details.

Vector image for zombie movie Return of the Living Dead 5

Vector image for zombie movie Return of the Living Dead 5

I’ve been a bit lax with the film viewing in my pad of late, well, regarding Zombie films at least. To get myself back into the swing of regular movie watching I figured I’d just get out of the way a film I was really not looking forward to watching. I had the place to myself so I didn’t need to feel guilty about inflicting some utter trash onto my long suffering flatmate and figured that this was the perfect time to give this film a go.

I sat down with absolutely no expectations for this film beyond ‘well, there is no way it can be worse that ROTLD4. Can it?’ I absolutely hated ROTLD4 : Necropolis, and may well have to position it on the podium of worst zombie films ever made. However, I must admit that having sat through this latest instalment I am totally confused as to my opinion on it. The gore is rather awesome, there are loads of quality nork shots all throughout the film and the storyline is genuinely original. Considering these are the criteria I judge zombie films by it should be the greatest one I own.

But it isn’t.

I remember the (loosely) interpreted Gestalt theory “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, and whatever the opposite is, that is what Rave to the Grave suffers from. It occurs to me that possibly what is missing is a good sense of direction, acting, character development or something else along these lines. This is shocking, as these are aspects of Zombie films that I am usually not interested in whatsoever. I just hope that it’s not because I am growing up and am looking for more artistic integrity in the films I watch. *Urgh*. Now that just isn’t worth thinking about! (Also, citing Gestalt theory in my review may also be an indication of my growing up, but hey at least I interpreted it incorrectly so I’m not that smart just yet.)

The film involves some kids from Necropolis who seem to have totally forgotten about their previous Zombie adventures (Well I’m not surprised. I’m trying to forget the last film myself!). They discover a canister of Trioxin 5 – which I am not sure if it is a liquid or a gas as it seems to change depending on who is using the contents – and by ‘thorough scientific investigation’ discover it to have hallucinogenic properties. (By ‘scientific investigation’ I mean one of the kids tastes some of it for a laugh). Having discovered this they then batch a load of it up into pills in their chemistry lab and start selling it to the students… Who then become Zombies just in time for the big rave that evening.

There are some ‘comedy’ Interpol officers, some vegan students (can you guess what happens to them?) and oh yes, Tarman is in this one. However he is used so appallingly that it is best to fast forward past his scenes to avoid tarnishing the memory of the once great Zombie. (He goes hitch-hiking in this one, for Christ sakes!)

Yes, it’s a nice idea for a film. Yes, the gore here is much better and more varied than in Necropolis (eye gouging, decapitations, axe wounds…) and yes, there are plenty of young ladies bearing cracking norks, but overall it’s just not right. The stench of a corporate, target-audience led film is less than before, but is still overwhelming and the defiling of the Tarman character is just appalling. Still, it kept me interested until the end I suppose, so it’s not all bad.

Gore B
Norks B
Originality B
Overall Score D

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