“It is what it is.” Sometimes that is the best description we can give a movie, a book, or even an album or a song. It is neither more nor less than what is presented for our entertainment. Is it good? Yeah, to a degree. Is it bad? Probably more so than it is good. Some things are considered so bad they are good. House of the Dead 2 does not fall into that category. It is what it is. A guilty pleasure B-movie. Nothing more, nothing less.
In 2003, director Uwe Boll unleashed House of the Dead upon the world, a cinematic adaptation of one of the coolest arcade games in history. In reference to Boll’s movie, “cinematic” may be stretching it, but I will say the movie is not without its merits, as sparse as they may be. I don’t think anyone was really wishing for a sequel except for producers who were hoping to get a little money for their film rights. Surprisingly, or maybe it’s no surprise at all, producer/writer Mark A. Altman delivered a sequel two years later that surpassed its predecessor. Granted, the bar was not set very high.
All the trouble in House of the Dead 2 begins at Cuesta Verde University. At a lab located at the school, Professor Roy Curien (the late great Sid Haig) is experimenting with zombies, or Hyper sapiens. One of the two is his son, and both survived the first movie (loose connection time). From his son and the other female zombie, Curien has developed a serum he hopes is the key to immortality. He is gravely in his calculations.
Curien doesn’t find the key to a long life unless one wants to live as a flesh eating member of the undead. The murderous professor’s serum mutates the zombie viral strain and the Hyper sapien hordes run rampant over campus.
Enter Lt. Jake Ellis and Dr. Alexandra Morgan. They work for a government agency that kills zombies, but, endearingly, also wants to find a cure for the zombie plague. Ellis and Morgan are sent to the university with a special forces team to retrieve a blood sample from the first generation zombies in order to develop a vaccine. But, as is the usual in life or death missions in zombie movies, there is a catch: Cuesta Verde University is set to be obliterated by missiles at midnight.
Will our intrepid heroes accomplish their mission and save the world? Will the special forces team become fine dining for nameless university students and faculty turned rotting, walking corpses? Will there be lithe, naked female zombies?
You probably know the answers to most of those questions already.
House of the Dead 2 is one of those movies best viewed when your brain doesn’t want any more chores added to its already heavy workload. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie.
It is what it is.