The Dead 2: India

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American engineer Nicholas Burton was set to travel back home from India with the woman he’d come to love, but when the dead begin to rise, he’ll have to fight his way through both the living and the dead if he expects to reunite with her.

I don’t know why romantic partners are always so desperate to escape the undead. What’s more romantic than a zombie in love? I get that Hollywood hasn’t painted a pretty picture of Zombiekind, what with us always looking like braindead automatons and all, but even as a braindead automaton you’d still be spending a very long time with the person you love, longer than you would if you kept that fragile life thing. There’s always the chance one or both of you might meet your end at the hands of a jittery meal, but baring incident you can look forward to one hell of an extended honeymoon. You eat together, you decay together, and you add to the horde together. I can’t be the only one with a palpitating heart over that prospect, even if my palpitations are probably coming from something I should dig out.

Electrical engineer Nicholas Burton found more than employment when he took a contracting job in India, he found the love of his life Ishain, but his time in the country is almost up. While finishing his work at a job three hundred miles away, Ishain calls to tell Nicholas she’s pregnant with his child, but amid their conversation, Mumbai erupts into chaos. Though neither of them were aware, a zombie plague that was spreading throughout Africa has made its way to India and wave after wave of the undead are flooding the cities and countryside, and after the call is disconnected, it doesn’t take Nicholas long to figure out what’s happening. His immediate concern is getting back to Mumbai, and Ishain, but with no maps and no knowledge of the area, he’s unsure of where to head, for that he needs Javed, an orphaned boy whose path leads to Nicholas. Together the pair head towards a ruined city in the hope that Ishain can be located, and all three will find safety, but getting across the zombie infested landscape will be a difficult task, one made all the harder by the panicked population.

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{This is one of many such gorgeous shots you can expect to see}

It’s not an easy thing to live up to prior successes, and I would imagine this is doubly true for filmmakers. The Dead was released to high praise, quickly becoming an international hit, and this had to put a lot of pressure on the Ford Brothers for their sequel The Dead 2: India. I don’t envy that kind of pressure; I also don’t envy the inevitable feeling that you’re just repeating what you’ve already done, so I understand wanting to change things up. What I don’t understand is making a sequel to your successful movie and deciding to change everything that made it stand out while keeping the one thing people were upset over. The Dead had almost completely emotionless zombies, started after the undead outbreak was already in full swing, had relatively small groups of the living dead, and was nearly without both cheap pop scares and even cheaper CGI blood splatter. Its sequel is the opposite of all those things.

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{Don’t worry though, we’ll get to the good stuff in a second}

Some of the changes I understood. India has a much denser population, so it made sense that there would be more zombies, and with the first film beginning after zombies have already become a major threat, I could see the Ford Brothers wanting to change things up. The other changes I don’t understand as much. The zombies were perfect in The Dead; they were terrifyingly blank, showing only the briefest flashes of aggression even when they were attacking someone, and it made those attacks so much more disturbing. The zombies in The Dead 2: India bounce back and forth from blank slates to snarling beasts. Now to be fair, they’re great zombies for the most part; the aggression only comes out when they’re going after a victim, the way zombies are always meandering around in any background shot is creepy, and other than the undead all having glowing eyes, the makeup is excellent, but I miss the emotionless, empty inside undead from the first film. I also didn’t care for the speed increase the undead were given, they do still shamble for most of the film, but whenever a faster zombie is convenient for a pop scare or towards the narrative, you can expect them to suddenly gain greater speed and flexibility. That was another thing that bothered me, the amount of convenience in this film. Nicholas escapes being surrounded by the undead several times when it means instant death for anyone else, the time it takes to turn into a zombie is based entirely on if said zombie is needed for a pop scare, and the aforementioned speed differentials are all examples of things changing whenever it was needed for effect or story. Like I said, convenient.

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{Don’t look so surprised Nicholas, you knew that was coming}

Now that I’ve got my gripes out of the way, let me just say that I enjoyed The Dead 2: India, not as much as I enjoyed The Dead, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I had some major complaints, many of which come from what might be an unfair comparison to the first, but I’d still happily give this a second watch. Joseph Millson (Nicholas Burton) and Anand Gopal (Javed) are much of the reason why. Millson is an extremely talented actor, there is a scene where Burton must do something he doesn’t want to do, something heartbreaking, and Millson’s performance during this scene is gut wrenching. His co-star, and occasional scene stealer, Gopal does just as impressive a job, even more so considering the boy’s young age and his own heartbreaking scenes, but where they shine is when they’re paired together. They created a good balance for Javed, as an orphaned boy who ran away from his orphanage, he’s far more mature than a child his age should be, but he’s still a child, and sometimes a child needs an adult. This is where Nicholas comes in, a comforting presence for a terrified little boy, but Nicholas needs Javed as well, and if it weren’t for the very same child who cried into his arms over his joy of being found, Nicholas would be dead. They need each other, and the actors do a wonderful job of showing that without having to make it obvious. Besides the talented pair of actors, we also see a repeat of the same great work from the FX department. Yes, there were more than a few times I noticed CGI being used for the blood splatter, and yes, that did make me a sad zombie, but the effects are still very well done. It’s not quite as brutal, with one exception in what might be one of the goriest looking zombies I’ve come across, but it does look wonderful and realistic.

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{I can’t hate those contacts enough though, half expect a laser to come out of that glowing eye}

As for the one thing they kept from The Dead that everyone complained about, that would be the ending. Really, there’s two things, the story and the ending. The story is pretty much what we got in the first one, two people crossing dangerous, zombie covered terrain in search of loved ones and safety, but since it’s a story that still manages to avoid group drama (one of my compliments from the prior film), I didn’t mind it. Neither did I mind the ending, but I know people felt the ending to the first film was too ambiguous. I did too…at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they did end it, just maybe not the way I’d hoped (No Spoilers), and The Dead 2 is very much the same. Not a compliant from myself, but I know it was an issue with others.

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{This has nothing to do with the ending, I just really want to have one of these parachutes with a jetpack thingamabobs}

Minus the problems with overly convenient changes in behavior, most of my complaints come from comparing The Dead 2: India to the first film, and I don’t know if that’s fair, but it is what affected my viewing experience. Still, I’d recommend giving it a watch. Hell, if you hated the first one, this one might be more your cup of tea. Here’s hoping we get a third film at some point.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Howard J. Ford (The Dead, Never Let Go) and Jonathan Ford (The Dead, Offensive)

Starring: Joseph Millson (The Chameleon, Casino Royale), Anand Gopal (Rethink Afghanistan), Meenu Mishra, and Sandip Datta Gupta

Written By: Howard J. Ford (The Dead, Never Let Go) and Jonathan Ford (The Dead, Offensive)

Released By: Road Trip Pictures, Latitude Films, and Anchor Bay Entertainment

Release Year: 2013

Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

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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