House 2: The Second Story (1987)

Review by Carson Hearne

Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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Written by: Ethan Wiley and Fred Dekker

Directed by: Ethan Wiley

Starring: Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Royal Dano, Lar Park Lincoln, and John Ratzenberger

Well…that was pretty wild. Uh… where to begin? What in the actual fuck am I supposed to say or feel about this travesty that’s surprisingly entertaining. The first House was honestly so disappointing to me that I had a blast with this one. Caterpillar dogs, a mummified great-great grandfather, a zombie cowboy, a baby pterodactyl, and a crystal skull (watch out Indiana) that gives eternal life. What a roller coaster of entertainment that’s really a technical train wreck.

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Jesse (Arye Gross) is digging up his past (quite literally) as he goes back to live in his childhood home where his parents were killed with his wife, Kate (Lar Park Lincoln). When his party animal best friend, Charlie (Jonathan Stark), pays a visit, they begin to uncover a dark past to the house that resides around the possession of a crystal skull. They dig up Jesse’s great-great grandfather who will do “everything” he can to keep the skull in his possession as multiple dimensions open up in the house and everything you can think of is after the skull. Most notably, a zombie cowboy that has some severe beef with the mummified grand-dad.

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I have to say that House 2 is some of the most cheesy fun that I’ve seen in the longest time. A completely dumb, turn your mind off type of movie. There’s many plot holes and very dumb decisions that are made numerous times, such as the skull constantly being left right out in the open. But, the film is interesting in that it is not a real sequel and works well as a stand alone film. The first House is very overrated, in my opinion. There just isn’t enough stuff for me to really get into the movie and really care at all about what is going on. So, when I put this one on, I really had the lowest expectations possible and was surprised that this movie actually lives up to the cheesy fun that I had originally expected from the first film.

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I can easily agree with most that this film is still wholly mediocre and doesn’t live up to the credentials surrounding the film, such as being under the production of Sean S. Cunningham of Friday the 13th fame. Plus, the ending is probably one of the worst endings to a horror movie that I’ve ever witnessed. This movie is really hard to call an actual horror film because it has some horror elements but it feels much more like a kiddie adventure-western film with a mummy and zombie cowboy, with a hint of a haunted house atmosphere. When compared to the other films in the large category of horror comedy, it definitely rests towards the bottom.

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All in all, if I was looking for some good films to get into the Halloween spirit, I would definitely skip this one. But, for some cheesy entertainment, definitely give it a try any of the other 11 months in the year. The first two House films are complete opposites in the way of atmosphere, scares, and overall enjoyment. I personally enjoyed this film much more due to the amount of in-your-face random occurrences that plague the entire film. I wouldn’t rush out to see this, but if you got some extra time and come across a cheap copy of it, definitely give it some mindless time.

Grade: B-

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