The second Zombies movie sadly discards the original’s relentless worship of its color palette by bringing in werewolves, whose aesthetic seems to be “cheap Twilight knock-off via low budget Syfy special.” I mean, the colors were half the draw of the first… why abandon that?
Additionally, the film’s worldbuilding twists into incoherency… monsters are illegal but still running for school president, werewolves show up at school as new students and people barely shrug (are they enrolled in classes?), and there’s a magic moon crystal for some goddamned reason. The leads both seem a little bit checked out, too, adding to the aloofness.
Saving it from utter catastrophe are two things: First, the energy is still there, and the tunes still pretty hooky (which is, again, not the same as “good”). The choreography remains excellent. It thankfully never feels too draggy.
Second, Zombies 2 has significantly more interesting and nuanced politics on its mind. Instead of a simple “we’re all in this together” message, it ponders what happens when two minority groups each separately try to break down prejudices and find acceptance, and the various tensions that could arise. (Addison’s struggle to find her own identity in that scrum is actually kind of moving.)
Granted, it’s still fucking zombies and werewolves, so it’s not that deep, but it’s certainly more ambitious than the hilariously stupid racism metaphors of the original.
Nearly Good (4/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.