9 Sep 2014

Review - 'The Dead 2: India' is Much Better Than it Had Any Right To Be

In this ferocious sequel to the worldwide horror hit The Dead, an infectious epidemic spreads through India as an American turbine engineer (Joseph Millson) learns that his pregnant girlfriend is trapped near the slums of Mumbai. Now he must battle his way across a 300-mile wasteland of the ravenous undead.

The Ford Brothers introduced the horror nation to The Dead back in 2010, and somezombie fans may have call it an art-form, some may have said it was` inspiring, whilst I on the other hand found it both boring and tedious; as lifeless as the undead corpses themselves. The Dead was lacking the enthusiasm that is vital in making a decent zombie movie, and aside from beautiful imagery, The Dead proved to be nothing but a clunky, badly acted slow burn zombie flick that's choice of sticking close to the Romero blueprint resulted in an uninspired cliche of one-dimensional characters and gore. In other words, The Dead was a huge letdown considering how much hype it had gotten, so for me to not have been enthusiastic about The Dead 2: India was pretty much a given.

The Ford Brothers come back once again to deliver what only a select few asked for, another The Dead flick; but this time however, initiative might have been taken, because to my deepest surprise, The Dead 2 was actually a decent zombie sequel. Following along the same cliche narrative of a man travelling lengths to save the one he loves, The Dead 2 doesn't really differ much from its previous entry, and tends to tread along the same path the original set out, adding brownie points from new ideas as opposed to a new direction for the franchise. The setting is the only thing that has pretty much been changed as well as a few narrative adjustments, but aside from that it feels a lot like the first film; but The Dead 2 does more than just that. It almost feels like the Ford Brothers second shot; they take the first story, tweaks it enough to make it feel like a different experience without tampering with the emotional value, then adds a tone of wacky and interesting arks and ideas as if making up for wasted opportunity with the first. More or less that's how The Dead 2 plays, and given that the major issue I had with the first was the lack of excitement, it is refreshing for Dead 2 to build upon that, and one-up the original with more gore, more stunts and more excitement. Doesn't take a lot of excitement to outdo the first but some is better than none...

There is a lot at fault here, more than there should be, yet all the same mistakes the first suffered from, proving that the Ford Brothers haven't understood their mistakes as much as they should have; but to see a more developed build on the practical side of things means that they listened to what audiences wanted and not to how "the zombie sub-genre used to be". Romero's method has been dead and buried (whether you fans like it or not, it's true), so sticking to that same method proves thin, hence why The Dead (both the first and second) are one-dimensional in character and narrative development. Walking and shambling corpses are old news, and even though Romero's style will always be admired, it simply does not work in today's image of what a zombie is. The slow type can be scary of course, but when they walk about at a snails pace, arms at length, dead silent with a smirk on their face like they are in The Dead 2, then it simply is not scary and doesn't work aside from holding a slight comedic value.

The Dead 2 has a surprising amount of heart, and knows exactly when to deliver the hard hitting moments when it hurts the most. It isn't exactly unpredictable, but there is a moment here and there where shit does hit the fan in the most brutal and shocking of ways. There is a generous amount of jump scares that are matched by intense scenes that never failed to prove effective, albeit displayed in the most cliched of ways. What I do have to hate against however is the constant cliche of the faulty motor than dominates both films and becomes extremely annoying after a while. I couldn't could with my two hands how many times I have witnessed a motor not starting then taking off into the distance just as the zombies has come just centimeters away; it's all very very boring and all it does is highlight that the Ford Brothers may have been running out of ideas when writing it.

There are many bright ideas at use here and it highlights both the imagery and intensity that Dead 2 has to offer, but as I mentioned before, the premise continuously falls into the same treadmill, covering the same ground time after time never really moving from one act to the other with consistency. There is no denying that this is a vast improvement over the original, but this of course can be argued against, but what I do question about The Dead 2 is the following;

Why do none of the zombies make any noise? I mean should they not be moaning or gargling no? Why is 90% of the zombie population wearing white shirts without any blood and a splotch of mud? In saying this, why are the zombies not covered in blood? Why are they slow bloody slow?! Why do they have these silly looking gashes or bites that are dry as a bone? Why can no zombie get a proper grip on their dinner?! I don't know how many times someone has been crowded by a horde and manage to escape their grasp! Too many questions not enough time, and that's the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so.

Surprisingly more intact than the first and holds a hell of a lot more entertainment value; The Dead 2 still suffers from all the tedious cliches from the first, but adds a little something called "excitement" which the Ford Brothers clearly forgot about the first time around. Still a mediocre zombie horror but an improvement over its original.


2014 / 95 mins / Zombie, Drama / R

Director: Howard J. Ford, Jonathon Ford

Writer: Howard J. Ford, Jonathon Ford

Stars: Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal

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