Detective Lucas McCarthy finally apprehends "Meat Cleaver Max" and watches the electric chair execution from the audience. But killing Max Jenke only elevated him to another level of ... See full summary »
This non-related sequel is so sweet-natured, so tame and family orientated that to assume otherwise is completely ludicrous. There is nothing in this movie that could possibly rate it above a PG, max. I wouldn't even have reservations letting younger children watch House 2.
A new house has a 20-something yuppie called Jesse (Arye Gross) move in with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park-Lincoln). His friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark), a music agent, arrives with his new diva discovery Jana (Amy Yasbeck) to help him thru the unfamiliar first few days. The house is where Jesse's parents were killed when he was just a baby and it full of many curiosities.
Crafted in a bizarre Gothic-Aztec style the house itself is a marvellous set and the many rooms and passages are as mysterious to us as they are to Jesse. Sitting on one of his many mantelpieces is a crystal skull that fascinates him for some reason. He even misses his housewarming party while studying the skull's history.
His studies lead him to dig up the grave of his great, great grandfather, or Gramps (Royal Dano), where he discovers the old coot isn't dead just in limbo. The person who possesses the skull is granted eternal youth but it also warps the space-time continuum within the House.
Gramps comes home with Jesse, is more enthralled by Kleenex boxes and TV than the mysteries around him and ducks for cover whenever someone from another time comes to steal the skull. Just like the first movie different rooms lead into different time zones. Jesse and Charlie have many hilarious adventures battling caveman, dinosaurs, Aztecs an evil cowboy called Slim. The one that killed Jesse's parents and betrayed Gramps over a century ago.
House 2 has so much careless abandon and zany plot twists that it is totally impossible not to love this movie. The huge success of the first movie meant that this one was put into production literally and hour later and Ethan Wiley was given the budget and green light to do whatever he wanted. How often does happen today? Usually it would make for a bad movie considering this was the first movie Wiley directed. But it makes for an unusually cute and light-hearted supernatural romp.
One of the weaker aspects of this sequel is that it has more SFX and animation by Phil Tippet's stop-motion workshop and less by Dreamquest. The matte paintings are gorgeous but the dated dinosaurs look hokey in a few shots. If you can just squint during these moments you won't notice.
Bill Maher from TV's "Politically Incorrect" even manages to show up as a music producer who is interested in Yasbeck and mighty suspicious of Jesse's antics. John Ratzenberger (this makes both movies star one of the "Cheers" barflies) appears as a repairman/adventurer who assists Jesse and Charlie battle some Aztecs. Look out for Kane Hodder (Jason) in an ape costume. Jesse adopts a fluffy, little baby pterodactyl and a strange creature called a Caterpuppy, a cross between...well you know. You need an open mind and a suspension of disbelief to swallow the outrageous goings on in this movie.
The commentary is better than the one on the first movie. Ethan Wiley and Cunningham get on well and have no quibbles pointing out how crazy the film is. They discuss the budget, tell tales of the late Royal Dano and explain how many of the effects were pulled off within the constraints of the budget. One of the most interesting things they mention is that even tho the movie was stuck in between The Color Purple and Beverly Hills Cop II the kids still preferred House 2 as their fave movie of the summer. But because the movie didn't have it's own opening weekend, unlike the original, it wasn't as successful. Didn't stop 2 more sequels being made. A theatrical trailer is also included.
Much like the first film the picture has been brilliantly transferred onto DVD. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture looks super with very few glitches. Colors are rendered with pleasant accuracy and you wouldn't believe the low-budget origins when judging this picture. There is some grain during darker scenes but other than this the movie is looking great.
The Mono soundtrack is not terribly engaging and most of the film's sound is centre-channel biased. But there's no hiss or pop to worry about. It may be Mono but it's clean and fresh sounding to me.
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