COMPANY: New Horizon
RUNTIME: 83 mins
PLOT: After the U.S. Government looses communication with a top secret plutonium facility out in the middle of the desert, they send in a team of technical specialists to find out what happened, but none of them are prepared for what they discover – surviving Carnosaurs from the events of the first movie had attacked and made the base their new nest.
REVIEW: After I was finally able to see the first Carnosaur way back in 2001, after a life-long journey of trying to obtain it, I ended up having to wait even longer to see Carnosaur 2. See, the small town I was living in at the time, the video store there had only the first Carnosaur and there was no such thing as Ebay or Amazon back then (or at least not popular and not on the mind of a 16 year old with no credit card), so it wasn't until 2005 that I was able to finally see the sequel, which was by way of ordering the VHS version off Ebay (which I had to get a friend to order for me as back in those days, you had to have a credit card to order on Ebay as there was no such thing as paypal). So how did I find it when compared to the first?
Whereas the first was a Monster-on-the-loose in a small town kind of movie, this one is much more of a cramped low-lighted enclosed-space survival horror along the likes of the video game Dino Crises. To start off, I want to make it clear that Aliens is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/horror movies, and this movie is Aliens. It's as if they took the exact same script but turned Ripley into a male, Newt into a male, set it at a facility in the desert instead of another planet, and replace the aliens with Raptors, and then you've got this movie. I am not kidding when I say it's the exact same movie as Aliens. Even some of the dialog is word for word the exact same. And you know what? I'm fine with that, because it ended up making for a damn entertaining movie. I always say that if you're going to rip something off, rip off something good.
The robotic effects and rubber man-in-suit props used for the Raptors in this movie, as well as the animatronic and model effects used for the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the end (filling the Queen Alien role) are quite different and much more advanced then the puppet and man-in-suits they used in the original. Sure, compared to something like Jurassic Park they may not look very good at all, but for low budget B-movie sequel of the early 90's, and especially when compared with the first movie, they look great. Adding to that are the new creepy-sounding clicking noises the Raptors make while they're hunting their prey. This movie actually used the sound of the Raptors to create some awesome tension that the first movie never even attempted to do. You know there's one or more Raptors around due to being able to hear the clicking noises they make, but the character can't see them anywhere...that is until they attack and take him out.
One of my main complaints I had about the first movie were the characters and the fact that every single one was totally unlikable and you couldn't get behind any of them. I'm proud to report that is not the case this time, as you tend to care for almost every character this time, though admittedly, that may be due to the fact that all of them are carbon copies of the characters from Aliens; there's the wise-cracking scaredy-cat, the tough-as-nails command-barking leader, the female pilot who ends up getting munched on as she tries to warm up the copter for their retreat early-on, the sketchy company man with his own agenda, the kid that survived the initial massacre (though why there are kids living at a top-secret Government facility, I'll never know), and of course our average everyman hero that becomes a kind of father figure to the kid. There are a few others, but you get the idea; far better then the first movie's mad scientist, law-breaking hippie, and always-drunk construction vehicle maintainer, that's for sure. This time, I never got tired or bored of any of these characters and it wasn't hard to actually root for them instead of the Carnosaurs. In the last movie when it came down to the drunk hero fighting off the Tyrannosaurus in a construction vehicle, you really didn't give a shit if he won or not, but this time when in the exact same scenario (yellow construction vehicle taking the place of the Aliens' load lifter in a throw-back nod scene to the first movie), you actually want the hero to win.
As for the gore factor, there is a bit less then the previous movie as most people are dragged away to be killed off-screen, however the things we do get remain quite faithful to the style of the original movie (an arm being ripped off, a stomach being gouged out, a head gorily detached from the body, mutilated body parts strewn around, and some good splashes of blood).
Now, after all that praise I suppose you're wondering if I have anything negative. Well the answer is Nope, not really. It's a bit slow at first and takes awhile to really get going, which may turn some people off, but it didn't bother me at all as it used that time to set up the characters well and set up some good tension, both things that the previous movie was lacking. And some people may not like the fact that the Tyrannosaurus only comes in for the final 10 minutes, and while it would have been nice to see more of it during the movie like in the first, I loved the build-up to its reveal and wouldn't trade that in for more screentime for anything. It was an excellent 'Oh...shit...' moment (though it does beg the unanswered question as to how exactly, it got down to where it was when the characters discovered it, and how exactly it got up to the surface again afterward).
The only thing that really struck me as odd was that there's a picture on the back of the VHS and DVD cases that isn't anywhere in the movie and consists of the Tyrannosaurus Rex eating a woman in a red dress that's nowhere to be seen in the movie. Not sure if it was a cut scene from towards the beginning of the film when the Carnosaurs first attack, or if it was made purely for advertising reasons, but neither that scene nor character is anywhere in the movie. I can't fault the contents of the actual movie itself though, just because the advertisers dropped the ball on one small picture on the back of the box.
There's not really a whole lot more I can say on this movie, as like I said above this movie IS Aliens, but with dinosaurs instead of aliens. You want to go into the specifics of the plot and the various character arcs? You already know them. Read a review on Aliens because anything I'd have to say on this would just be rehashing what you already know from that movie. Fans of Aliens should like this movie for the simple fact that it's the same movie, but with dinosaurs. Fans of the first should like this movie for the simple fact that it keeps what you like from that movie, and improves upon the rest. This is one of those rare movies that not only can I watch it over and over again whenever I so much as look at the cover art, but it's also one of those movies that as soon as the credits start rolling, I could easily go back to the beginning and start it over again right after. It's just that much fun for me.
While the first will always hold a special place in my heart due to my past history with it, this one is without a doubt the actual better movie.
10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward