Day of the Dead 2: Contagium

DD1

In 1968 a virus capable of reanimating the dead almost got loose into the general public. The outbreak was controlled, but one vial of the virus was lost. Almost forty years later that same vial is found by a group of people at a psychiatric institute and quickly manages to infect some of the patients.

I can only imagine how furious people must be when they get tricked by the name of a film. Lord knows I’ve just about put a remote through a television a time of two when I’ve been tricked into watching some piece of shit flick that advertised itself as something it wasn’t. Because of that I’m going to tell you right off the bat that this movie has absolutely nothing to do with Day of the Dead and it sucks more than words can describe. Normally I save whether or not I liked a movie for after I’ve at least given the plot description, but I’m just getting it out of the way now. Fuck this movie. I was thankfully aware beforehand that this movie was only using the title to draw in people, but I know a few that, though wary, thought this was going to at least have something to do with the original Day of the Dead, maybe not a real sequel, but at least something connected to the movie it’s supposed to be a sequel of. That is not the case at all. This film has absolutely nothing to do with the original film. It’s a fucking piece of absolute garbage that used the title to cheat fans out of their money. This may just be one of the worst zombie films I’ve ever seen. The filmmakers knew they had a giant turd in their hands, that’s why they slapped the Day of the Dead 2 title on it and laughed all the way to the bank. Even the awful Day of the Dead remake was better than this thing. There was no effort put into it, no attempt to make even a half decent movie, just a title used to trick people. I hope how awful this film was and the fact that they were so willing to use such a cheap maneuver like hiding behind a title ruined everyone behind getting it made. I’m not one to ever wish misfortune on anyone, but this film actually managed to piss me the fuck off in a bad way. Let me explain why, first the plot.

We start out in 1968 at Ravenside Military Hospital in Pennsylvania. A Russian defector is screaming about how he brought “it” back for the Americans (“it” obviously being the zombie virus). The hospital is in absolute chaos as zombified patients and staff run amok. The army is called in to deal with the situation, but unbeknownst to them an orderly has gotten out of the hospital with a vial containing the virus hidden in his thermos. He doesn’t get very far though. A soldier shoots him as he runs, and the vial rolls into some nearby underbrush. Shortly thereafter the facility is blown up in what I can only describe as one of the worst looking explosions I have even seen, fire here apparently going right through walls without actually burning them. Fast forward forty years and a psychiatric facility called Ravenside Memorial Hospital has been built near where the old military facility was (the government seeming not to care if you put a bunch of mentally ill people right next to one of the greatest military fuck ups to date). A group of men from said facility are cleaning up a ravine nearby (death phobic Isaac, angry Jackie, not quite right Boris, fearful Sam, and their doctor Donwyn) when they find the old thermos, slightly tall grass being enough to hide a large thermos for forty goddamned years without anyone finding it (fuck I hate this movie). Isaac has a bad feeling for no fucking reason what so ever since it is literally nothing but a thermos. It’s like having a bad feeling every time you find discarded trash on the road. “Hey look, it’s an empty bag of Doritos.” “Leave it alone, I have a bad feeling about it.” Foreshadowing was not a strong suit for the filmmakers. Anyways, the thermos is brought back to the facility where it is of course opened. The hidden vial falls out and strange luminescent shapes float into the air while the group that first found it, plus Isaac’s girlfriend Emma, stand around dumbfounded. Why a virus is represented by glowing geometric shapes more reminiscent of rave party effects is beyond me. The next morning each person that was standing around the vial notices that they are changing, also that they are now mind linked together because why the fuck not. Worse yet, Emma is now pregnant, glowing geometric shapes apparently being incredibly horny. Though they can all think and act normal they are now among the living dead and when a restrained Emma is nearly sexually assaulted she bites one of the orderlies who quickly transforms into a hamburger looking version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Things spiral out of control when the orderly begins attacking others and some of the original infected realize that they can transform into stronger creatures if they themselves consume flesh. This is about the point when my head felt like it was going to explode and I had to stop myself from gouging out my eyes.

DD5

{Unfortunately I kept them in until the end}

I have no idea what this movie was going for or even if the filmmakers themselves knew what they wanted. This movie fumbles around more than a drunken quarterback. There is a constant rash of things that just make no sense like the above mentioned zombie telekinesis which is never explained and actually manages to get even worse as the movie goes on (at one point a member of the original infected gets shot and they all end up with the same wound like some kind of zombie stigmata), why the hell a virus would infect people via a weird acid trip of colors and shapes, or why a mental health facility was built so close to a failed experiment in turning people into zombies. Then there’s the bit about Emma becoming pregnant. Yeah, don’t expect that to ever be explained. They make a huge deal out of it but it never goes anywhere, much like the film itself. In fact, the best thing about the movie was seeing the original Day of the Dead trailer before the movie began.

DD4

{Producer One: Did we ever figure out that whole pregnancy thing?

Producer Two: What pregnancy thing?

Producer One: You know we got that one chick pregnant by the virus.

Producer Two: Did we? I’m sorry I was staring at my mountain of cocaine.

Producer One: You have cocaine still? What pregnancy?}

The effects are absolutely atrocious, easily some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a zombie film, especially one with a nine million dollar budget. I’m thinking most of that money went toward the mountains of cocaine they bought because no way in hell it went to the effects department. You know people were getting lazy in make a film when they didn’t bother adding any kind of muzzle flash to the firearms. They shoot a lot of bullets in this film, and they must all be magic because they don’t seem to require gunpowder of any kind. Not once did they use either blanks or CGI to make sure there were muzzle flashes. Then there’s the skin peeling. At one point early in their transformations their skin begins to peel off like they’ve gotten really bad sunburn and it looks exactly like peeling Elmer’s glue off of skin. The same thing we all did as kids only we didn’t need a nine million dollar budget to do it. The worst though is the hamburger man, the first orderly bitten. I cannot describe just how lame he looked, it was so bad.

DD3

{Where’s the beef}

The zombies were some of the worst I’ve seen as well, acting horrible and looking worse. It doesn’t seem like they tried at all. The original turned don’t look much different until they become super zombies by consuming human flesh, then they look more like reptile people. Every zombie bitten though looks more traditional (with the exception of hamburger man but I can’t discuss him anymore without going into a violent rage). I’m sorry, did I say traditional, I meant fucking stupid. Of course they don’t look as bad as they act, stumbling around as though in a drunken stupor, not really biting anyone so much as nuzzling them aggressively. Not to mention, why the fuck are they all breathing? There’s even a scene where one of the original zombies gets shot and comes back to life with a deep breath. Why? Again, I don’t think they really gave two shits about the zombies, or anything for that matter.

DD2

{Less zombie and more 80’s cartoon villain}

The movie does have one thing positive I should mention, the main actors. The extras are absolutely horrendous, but the main actors do a good job, portraying their particular mental illness rather well. I have to admit to enjoying their performances for the most part, especially Doctor Donwyn who came across as a likable, if somewhat misguided character. I’m not sure why they bothered to get great actors for a movie they obviously didn’t give a shit about, but they did.

DD6

{Not a still from the film, just a photo from the auditioning room}

Good actors aren’t going to save what is arguably one of the worst zombie movies made in recent years. Stay far, far away from this piece of garbage.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Ana Clavell (Chick Street Fighter, Horror 102: Endgame) and James Glenn Dudelson (Museum of the Dead, Horror 101)

Starring: Laurie Baranyay (Intoxicating, Walk Backwards), Justin Ipock (Grave Situation, Doughboys), and Stephan Wolfert (Back to Holding)

Released By: Taurus Entertainment Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment

Release Year: 2005

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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