Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Bloody Violence/Gore and some Language
Directed by: Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford
Written by: Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford
Starring: Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Goyal & Sandip Datta Gupta
I was not a fan of THE DEAD. The best thing about that film was its beautiful location, but the story was as generic as a zombie movie can get. The style also reeked of a pretentious “look what I can do” attitude straight out of film school. Unneeded pieces of slow motion, quick editing and bad acting also contributed to making it a middle of the road experience. The Ford brothers have returned with another zombie flick in their universe and this time moved it to India. India has one of the biggest populations of any country in the world. Over 1.2 billion people live there. If a zombie outbreak were to get loose in that area, 1.2 billion zombies would be unleashed on the world. THE DEAD 2 is about the same quality as the first film, but also manages to get some aspects marginally better.
Nicolas is an engineer abroad in India. One morning, he learns that his girlfriend, Ishani, is pregnant with his child. Unfortunately, this news comes right as the zombie apocalypse has broken loose. Faced with 300 miles between him and Ishani, Nick decides to skip a safe ride out of the country to go save his loved one and unborn child. Along the way, he encounters plenty of different horrifying scenarios, tons of shambling corpses, and a young boy who might be his glimmer of hope in surviving this desert wasteland.
Joseph Millson comes off like a poor man’s Frank Grillo. Despite this connotation, Millson is far more likable and relatable as Nicholas than any of the characters in the first DEAD movie. The child actor (Anand Goyal) is remarkably good and actually the second-best performer in the film. There’s also a fair share of creepy moments in THE DEAD 2. These are mainly found in little touches that you don’t initially think about in the zombie apocalypse (e.g. military blockades shooting anyone who looks like they’ve been bitten or trying to sleep while you can hear zombies outside trying to get in). One of the better scenes in THE DEAD had the two leads attempting to drive at night and running into zombies with their car over and over. It was a creepy moment that is executed even better here, since the leads are riding a motorcycle and that’s makes them so much more vulnerable to being attacked. The locations are also stunning as well. India was a nice new setting considering how the first film took place in Africa. It was another daring change of scenery for a subgenre that has been overdone to death at this point.
The Ford brothers still use their unneeded style (slow motion, flashbacks, and quick editing), but they’re a lot more restrained this time around. The basic story is almost an exact duplicate of the original film with slight changes. The bland character from the first film was trying to make it across the country to rescue a friend’s son and Nicholas is trying to rescue his girlfriend. The sidekick who guides our protagonist has been taken down to a far younger age than the African military man in the original DEAD. For some reason, the zombies didn’t look nearly as scary this time around either. There were creepy make-up effects in the original on most of the walking dead, but it’s like a slather of scar make-up and white contacts were put on each zombie in this sequel. There’s no chemistry between Nicholas and Ishani as lovers. They didn’t make sense together and it seemed like the Ford brothers just needed a good excuse to send this guy across 300 miles of zombie country. The actress playing Ishani is the worst cast member here. Her delivery is stilted and she acts like she just glanced at the script once before each one of her scenes.
THE DEAD 2 is about on the same level of quality that the first DEAD was. It’s a standard, middle-of-the-road zombie flick that happens to be set in a country that’s never been hit by the zombie apocalypse before. The film does go into dark areas and legitimately creepy scenes. The problems with this sequel pretty much remain the same as its predecessor. The zombies don’t look nearly as cool this time around and the plot is like a slightly warped outline of the original, but the main character is far more likable this time around. If you liked THE DEAD, then you’ll probably enjoy THE DEAD 2.