THE DEAD 2 (2014)
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The Ford Brothers 2010 The Dead is, in my opinion, one of the best zombie flicks in recent years. It offered nothing new, save the exotic location of Africa, but, did deliver the traditional zombie goods and quite well. They finally have returned for a sequel and while it doesn’t quite have the impact of the original film, it is still a solid and quite gory zombie flick on it’s own.
Film follows the first movie’s plotline by having an American… also an engineer… in a foreign land trying to make it to loved ones once the flesh eating dead start to rise. This time it’s Nicolas Burton (Joseph Millson) who must cross 300 miles of zombie infested countryside to get to his pregnant girlfriend Oshani (Meenu Mishra) and a possible flight out in Mumbai. The film appears to take place at the same time as the original The Dead, as the film opens with a merchant ship returning from Somalia with news on the radio telling of sudden acts of violence and cannibalism on the African continent and, of course, one of the Indian merchant seaman was been bitten by a ‘crazy woman’, while in Africa. Soon the infection spreads through India’s overcrowded streets and thus sets our story in motion. Can Nicholas get back to Oshani and with a young boy, Javed (Anand Goyal) in tow?
While The Dead 2 is a solid zombie flick and entertaining, I do feel it didn’t quite have the intensity and impact of the original. The Fords gave the first The Dead a haunting quality that doesn’t quite emanate as well here, though it does have it’s moments. Maybe it’s because the film follows the structure of the first film so closely and with the familiarity of it’s traditional zombie film elements, that it just doesn’t grab us like the first film did. I also don’t think that writer/directors Howard and Jon Ford quite captured the desolation and hopelessness of the situation with their camera shots as they did so well in the first film, though Jon Ford’s cinematography does again make good use of the exotic setting quite well and the film does have many a chilling moment. There is more than enough zombie action and the film stretches it’s R-rating to the limit with plentiful and well-orchestrated blood and gore and make-up FX. There are some suspenseful tight spots and the Fords even add a spiritual element through the Hindu religion followed by many of the film’s characters.
The cast are all fine. Millson is a solid enough hero but, I don’t feel he was quite as strong or endearing as the first film’s Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman). The character is put through an emotional wringer though, and is give a little depth,with his drive to get to Ishani fueled by painful past experiences and, Millson does handle it well. Goyal is very likable as Javed who is wise and street-smart beyond his young years and avoids being the ‘annoying child character’ thankfully. Millson and Goyal have a nice chemistry though, I liked the first film’s dynamic between Murphy and African soldier Dembele (Prince David Osei) better. It was more interesting. Meenu Mishra doesn’t have much to do but, look scared and worried and argue with her father (a solid Sandip Datta Gupta) but, she is fine and plays her part in the plot adequately. I did have a little problem understanding some of the thick Indian accents at times but, I won’t hold that against the flick.
So, overall I liked The Dead 2… or The Dead 2:India depending on what it’s called in your corner of the world… it wasn’t as intense or engrossing as the first film but, it still has plenty of what fans of The Dead, or zombie films in general are looking for. The film does suffer a bit from the familiarity of it’s story and surrounding elements but, still presents them well and delivers zombie action in bloody abundance. An enjoyable sequel even if not quite an equal.