Saturday, September 6, 2014

THE DEAD 2 (2013)

THE DEAD 2 (2013 

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region Code: A
Duration: 98 Minutes
Rating: R
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: The Ford Brothers 
Cast:Joseph Millson, Niharika Singh, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal, Sandip Datta Gupta, Poonam Mathur, Coulsom Sujitabh, Madhu Rajesh 

THE DEAD 2 treads familiar territory for those of us who were fans of the first one, we have an American in a foreign land during a zombie outbreak. This time we have wind turbine engineer Nicholas (Joseph Millson,CASINO ROYALE) who learns that his local; girlfriend Ishani (Meenu Meenu) is pregnant. He's excited by the news but the news is tempered by the fact that the country is plagued by a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately for both of them he is 300 miles away and she's trapped in a Mumbai slum - one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. As the film plays out it serves as an apocalyptic travelogue through India as Nicholas must makes his way through hordes of flesh hungry zombies  across the blistering wastelands. Along the way he befriends an orphaned street kid Javed (Anand Goyal) who has a knowledge of the local area which proves useful to the engineer. 

Much as with the first film there are not a lot of new angles on the zombie apocalypse from the Ford Brothers but again the backdrop for the story is a thing of beauty - the arid desert landscapes are gorgeous and the zombie make-up is pretty decent, too. Not so much wasted zombies up from the grave but white-eyed creepers who have been freshly bitten wandering through the landscape, it's creepy stuff. I still have quite a fondness for the slower Romero-styled walkers and these are very much in that vein. 

Joseph Milson is a strong lead and puts across that his character is just a guy trying to do the right thing. Determined to get to his pregnant girlfriend no matter what the cost may be to his own being and without putting others at risk - he's a stand-up guy and gives the film an emotional resonance. On the other hand I found his girlfriend a bit irritating and overwrought. Thank goodness for the character of Javed whose dynamic with the engineer is the  emotional center of the film, I was stunned when I found out that this was his first acting gig, very impressive.

The gore is decent but not over-the-top, very restrained, but there's a fair amount of flesh-tearing and bite wounds for the zombie aficionados to enjoy - it's just not gore on the level of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE. The action is tight and quick-paced - more than once do we see our engineer in a tight spot and these scenes get the pulse racing, loved the scene of the engineer escaping via a para glider only to get snagged in a tree dangling just out of reach of the flesh-crazed undead. 

There's not much I didn't enjoy about the film, it's a solid sequel that ramps up everything I loved about the first film and has a good soundtrack that elevates it. The movie looks great with some mesmerizing vista and cinematography which look fantastic in HD. Extras includes a few minutes of deleted scenes and a making of featurette with some harrowing behind-the-scenes anecdotes that are worth a watch. 

The Ford Brothers seemed to have struck gold twice with another low budget zombie epic with a solid emotional core and some fantastic visuals with a gruesome horde of undead. Not sure where the Ford's plan to take the series next but I for cannot wait to see the next chapter. THE DEAD 2 is proof you don't need to reinvent the wheel when making an undead film, just give me a solid human arc and a compelling story, just keep it simple with some decent gore and tensionand that's what we have here, a very solid entry.