Directed by Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford
As is usually the case, the book is better than the movie. What’s that? You didn’t know The Dead 2 is based on a book? Well, it is – sort of. You see, The Ford Brothers specialize in producing frightful flicks under very severe conditions. In Howard J. Ford’s memoir of the experience “Surviving The Dead”, he writes of the true horrors of making modern movies in third world countries.
The first one he did, with his brother Jon behind the 35mm camera, was (you guessed it) The Dead. It took place, and was actually shot in, Africa.
The Dead 2 is more of the same. While it’s every bit as accomplished, and shot just as beautifully digitally, the sequel lacks the awe-factor of the first.
This time around, our hero is migrant American worker Nicholas (Joseph Millson), who is desperately struggling to get from the barren boonies into Mumbai while everyone else is trying to run from the zombie plague in the opposite direction. Holed up in the city, with only a cell phone as her line of communication, is Nic’s pregnant girlfriend, Ishani (Meenu). Along the way, Nic meets an orphaned boy named Javed (Anand Gopal), who knows his way around the vast wilderness and is willing to fight the white-eyed undead masses.
While it’s an impressive feat – shooting a low-budget movie of this scope and scale, working with only one Western actor and packs of extras who really had no concept of zombie lore and didn’t speak any English – The Dead 2 just isn’t that compelling as a film. I’d really like to see team Ford take on something else, as their cinematic command seems better-suited to other kinds of storytelling.
We don’t learn much about the culture of India – the clichés of poverty, overpopulation, and chauvinism are there in full force, but nothing of its diversity and political complexities. Not that I expect, or even want that in a horror movie, but this flick could have been set anywhere.
Still — It’s worth a look, especially if you’re in the mood for mindless zombie hordes.
2 1/2 out of 5