This is the fourth film in the Return of the Living Dead series, the first of which is a modern day classic. This one, by contrast, is at best ‘uninspired,’ and at worst cheap, amateurish garbage.
It feels like an ’80s kids movie. There’s this group of teens, a jock, a nerd, a computer guy, a hot girl, and some more who are all inexplicably friends (really, these people would never associate with each other in high school). And they all ride dirt bikes! Why? Cause dirt bikes are cool, dude!
There’s a medical research facility in town, whom we discover is using Trioxin (the gaseous toxin that makes the dead walk in the Return of the Living Dead universe) to create super-zombie-soldiers. We’ve seen this concept in a few other films, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Zombies can take more hits to the body, but they’ll still drop with a single headshot; and given that they’re so much slower that a living person, a headshot isn’t hard to achieve. And that’s not even touching the fact that the dead are stupid and can’t strategize or adapt.
Anyway, one of the teens gets in an accident. The doctors tell the other teens that he died; but one of the teens, the hot girl, sees the supposedly dead teen being wheeled into the medical research facility. By the way, hot girl has a part time job as a security guard at the facility; cause who better than a high school student to guard your dangerous super-soldier research program?
The teens mount a rescue, on dirt bikes, and in the ensuing chaos, an army of walking dead are released.
There’s nothing that needs to be said about the characters. They’re all base stereotypes with shallow motivation. The acting was competent, with no one standing out for either positive or negative reasons.
This was a made-for-TV production with a modest budget, so the makeup and gore effects are neither graphic nor particularly well-done; but they’re passable, and they aren’t bad enough to detract from the film.
It’s strange. I can’t point to any one thing in the movie that’s unforgivably bad; but nothing is good, either. It’s like the makers of this film managed to reach a perfect balance of minimally acceptable quality.
Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis is a huge let down for fans of the franchise. Judged on it’s own merits, it’s merely completely forgettable. There’s no reason to go out of your way to see it, but if you’re stuck in a room while it’s playing, you won’t have to gouge your eyes out, either.