Review: The Dead 2 – India / Cert: 18 / Director: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford / Screenplay: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford / Starring: Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Goyal / Release Date: TBC
Another continent is taken by an undead storm as the plague of The Dead spreads to India, where it doesn't take long at all for the groaners to get going. American turbine engineer Nicholas Burton (Millson) is working in the Indian countryside when the dead make their presence known.
In terms of scale, The Dead 2 doesn't put a foot wrong. The Indian countryside looks incredible – a far cry from the deserted streets or boarded-up old houses we've become accustomed to seeing in zombie cinema. The story sends Nicholas battling through three hundred miles of zombie-cluttered desert to get to pregnant girlfriend Ishani (Mishra) who lives in the slums of Mumbai. It's like a man-eating version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles or Due Date. In the John Candy/Zach Galifianakis role we have young Javed (Goyal), a young street rat Burton meets on his travels. It's a striking concept, even if it isn't that far removed from the plot of the previous film.
Sadly, it absolutely crumbles under close scrutiny. The cinematography is incredible, the setting a great idea, but everything else repeatedly comes up lacking. The Ford brothers have collected a whole host of first-time actors for their film, and it shows. All three local leads are noticeably green. This isn't helped by the decision to have them act in English, even when they're interacting with their friends and family. This extends to Millson, with his needlessly put-on American accent. He's a fine enough actor, but the Yank-speak does him no favours. Many will claim that little Javed is the film's breakout star, but we found him to be the worst thing about it. Then again, we do have a low tolerance for children in horror films (Damien from The Omen aside).
Elsewhere, the film remains pretty but dull. Burton and his zombies shuffle from set piece to set piece, with only the odd gunfight and paraplane (by far the film's best moment) to liven things up. It feels interminably long; every step of Burton's trudge deeply felt. As the opening film at FrightFest, it was an odd choice, dampening the mood, and even putting one or two audience members to sleep (guilty) for a few moments. While technically beautiful, it lacks a sense of excitement or fun. A good idea spoiled by workmanlike direction and bad acting, The Dead 2 really puts the 'zzzz' into World War Z.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10