Director: Ethan Wiley
Writer: Ethan Wiley
Starring: Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Royal Dano, Lar Park Lincoln, and John Ratzenberger
After the financial success of the first House film, a sequel, House II: The Second Story, was soon in development and then released a little over a year later. While the first film toed the line between horror and comedy, this one takes the comedy up to another level. It’s a stretch to call this a horror film. Plot-wise it’s a completely stand alone film, with no relation to the original one.
Jesse (Arye Gross) and his partner Kate (Lar Park Lincoln) move into an old house that has been in Jesse’s family for generations. While in the house Jesse finds a picture of his great-great-grandfather, who he is also named after, holding a crystal skull that is said to have magical powers. As the skull is no where to be found, and believing it to be worth a fortune, Jesse and his friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) make the completely rational and not at all rushed decision to dig up Jesse’s ancestor to see if the skull in his coffin. They find the skill, but they also find that the elder Jesse is still alive and has been waiting seventy years for someone to dig him up.
All things considered; the elder Jesse adapts quickly to modern life. He’s bored with TV instantly, finding nothing worth watching, but pulling tissues out of a box is as exciting as anything could be. The skull is keeping him alive and the rest of the film is the younger Jesse and Charlie trying to stop others from taking it, from a pterodactyl to an old rival of the hundred and seventy year old who is back from the dead. There’s nothing even trying to be scary in the film, but it is quite funny. There’s some decent effects that have aged quite a bit, but it’s not distracting.
Following on from George Wendt’s appearance in the first film is his Cheers co-star John Ratzenberger (Cliff in Cheers). His appearance and that it’s set in a haunted house are pretty much the only links to the first film. Ratzenberger plays electrician and adventurer Bill Towner, who appears for one brief sequence towards the end of the film and is honestly the highlight of the entire thing. Up to that point it’s passable and fairly funny, but he’s brilliant in it and by far the best part of the film. He may not be a very good electrician, but he does know how to deal with alternative dimensions.
Silly fun is the best way to describe House II. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all and if you just go along for the ride, then it’s pretty fun. It’s not a memorable classic, but it’s funnier than the first entry to the series and has some good moments in it.
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