Directed by: Howard J Ford, Jonathan Ford
Starring: Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal
Following the events of the previous film, set in Africa. Now, refugees from Somalia have reached India and some are showing signs of infection. Migrant workers have been bitten, unaware that they are slowly dying and transforming into the Walking Dead. Out in the countryside, Nicholas Burton, an American engineer working on the huge wind turbines, slowly becomes aware that something is amiss and tries to arrange to head back to Mumbai to be with his Indian girlfriend, Ishani. Soon everywhere is in a huge panic, the zombie infestation spreading. While Ishani and her parents barricade themselves inside their home, Nicholas picks up a young boy called Javed who helps him on his perilous journey.
The Ford Brother’s previous zombie movie, The Dead, was something of a breath of fresh air in the zombie genre, providing a new backdrop to set the zombie apocalypse in and drawing parallels with the dire atmosphere of the classic Fulci zombie movies. While The Dead 2 has a lot of strengths, there is definitely a feeling that they are retreading some of the same ground as before.
The setting though is exemplary. India is a country where modern technology sits side by side with strong religious beliefs and deep rooted superstitions. It is a country with isolated villages and dense, highly populated cities. The film makes the most of this in its opening scenes, showing how the epidemic would enter the country and how it might slowly spread. The scenes in the village are particularly chilling.
Watching everything unfold from Nicholas’s viewpoint is also very effective. From up on the wind-turbine, Nicholas has a huge vista to take in (some great cinematography here), watching people in the distance interact with each other. Of course, its unclear from his vantage point what he is actually seeing – that comes later.
There are a few contrivances here in the early stages. The local garage attendant just happens to be a keen paraglider, and Nicholas has been flying with him in the past, so when Nicholas finds himself under seige at the garage he’s able to use the paraglider to escape. That’s not to say the sequence isn’t thrilling however, nor that his plan goes off without a hitch. It’s quite amusing to watch him jump off the roof and immediately fall into the middle of a bunch of zombies, totally at the mercy of the wind catching his parachute!
The scenes with Nicholas’ girlfriend, Ishani, aren’t as strong, and play to certain cultural cliches (regardless if they’re accurate). For example, Ishani’s parents don’t know of her relationship with Nicholas, and Ishani’s mother is ill because someone bit her that morning. Its quite amusing however that Ishani’s father keeps snatching away her phone just in time to catch the worst part of the conversation (such as him mentioning Ishani being pregnant).
The introduction of Javed is a real mistep early on, as he is incredibly annoying and not exactly helpful. However he and Nicholas do share some poignant moments together and his presence in the film helps give the ending an emotional punch.
The makeup and special fx work is very good throughout with plenty of chunks of flesh being bitten and torn off. It does need to be said, however, that some of the actors being attacked really don’t know how to react to what is happening to them, and it does take you out of the film on occasion.
My main gripe with the film is the ending, which veers one way and then another, with a very rushed and muddled finish. It’s a shame, considering the good work which had gone into the film.
For the most part, the Ford Brothers' follow-up to The Dead is very good: the exotic locale gives the whole genre a fresh look while at the same time, the film manages to evoke the classics with some great atmospheric images. The film tends to stall however anytime it cuts to Ishani's plight, and some of the extras don't seem to know how to react in a zombie movie.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)