Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bring Out Your Dead Again!

I was much impressed (as were many folks) by The Dead, a zombie movie by the Ford Brothers (one directs and one produces). You can see my review of the original here. So I was very interested to see the sequel when I stumbled across it on the SyFy Channel a while back. Where the first one was set in Africa, this one makes use of an underrepresented part of the world too, India.

The story is similar to the first, an engineer named Nicholas who is in the interior of India working on wind turbines by himself discovers that the plague he yet knows nothing of, which struck Africa (and the wider world) has arrived. He tries to get to the distant city of Mumbai where his pregnant girlfriend Ishani, an Indian native hides with her parents as the zombie plague spreads through the city. Along the way our hero meets a young boy named Javed, a "Huck Finn" type - very resilient and given the situation chipper, who tags along and guides him. Things happen along the way, but eventually Nicholas does get to the city. 

The movie does at times have a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles feel to it as Nicholas and Javed use various forms of locomotion along their trek - jeep, car, motorbike, and even paragliding. I know such devices were considered necessary to break up the visuals of the movie, but frankly it eventually seemed that transportation came to hand as needed regardless of the sense that made in the circumstances.

This movie is at its best by what it hints at and what it shows at a distance. These are the classic slow-moving zombies, and so any healthy human can avoid them if they remain wary. But staying awake, aware and nimble is the task. Often we only get glimpses of situations in the distance as our heroes travel across the landscape and that's when this movie is at its scariest. The idea that this is a horror which is ubiquitous is what makes it truly terrifying, there is not respite, no safe haven.

Doubtless because of the limits of budget, the extras who play zombies seem a tad too clean from time to time, especially since the method of transmission is biting. But it's a minor lapse in credibility. This is a movie that makes the most of what it has, using the limits of what we can see to maximize the confusion and the fear. The movie isn't always successful, but it never stops trying, like the zombies it shows us, it is relentless.

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