Anchor Bay Entertainment will be releasing this much anticipated 2013 follow-up to the Ford Brothers’ 2011 film, “The Dead” on Blu-ray & DVD, September 16th. The following is a review of the film and not the blu-ray disc.
The Ford Brothers, the writing/directing team that brought us the African-set zombie flickThe Dead (2011), moves continents for their follow-up and takes their shambling flesh-eaters to India. The Dead 2: India follows the story of American electrical engineer Nicholas Burton (Joseph Millson), who is in a race against time to reach his pregnant girlfriend Ishani Sharma (Meenu Mishra) in Mumbia. Nicholas reluctantly teams up with an orphan street kid named Javed (Anand Krishna Goyal) after rescuing him. With Javed’s knowledge of the countryside, they make a perilous 300 mile journey across deadly landscapes as a zombie uprising spreads throughout the land.
The plot here is simple, as was the original. However, where The Dead was preoccupied with delivering a “message” more than drama — undermining the threat of chaos and making the film a long slog through zombified West Africa — The Dead 2 has little subtext and much drama. This is the story of the “everyman’s” struggle to survive and reunite with a loved one.
The Dead 2 is a film of stylish visuals. The cinematography is beautiful and confident and at times purposely blunted, turning what are normally spectacular vistas and stunning scenery stark and bleak, making it darkly atmospheric; punctuating the dangerous landscape the two traverse.
The undead are slow and ambling and easily out maneuvered, but they are every where and swarm quickly. Scenes of Nicholas and Javed riding a motorcycle through darkened, narrow outback paths as each of the undead they slowly pass makes a grab for them is frighteningly effective and emphasizes how grand and persistent the threat is. And although the special effects makeup isn’t spectacular, and many of the wandering dead at times don’t look dead at all — with the exception to the tinted contact lenses that are used — it is still aesthetically satisfying and effective; especially when interspersed with gore shots of flesh being torn away.
The film is occasionally slow, but the pacing contrasts the slow and perilous journey that Nicholas and Javed are making. The relationship between the two also a times feels awkward, especially during the exchanges between them. But it should. Nichols is a man, Javed a boy. They pretty much having nothing in common and have just met under trying circumstances. They also come from different backgrounds and are separated by age, therefore, when conversations arrive as they try to connect, it is as cumbersome as it is at times in real life.
Beyond the relationship and pregnancy, there is very little we are allowed to know about Nicholas and Ishani, with exception that her father (played by Sandip Datta Gupta) has forbidden it. Whether this was purposely plotted, or not, the separation of audience from knowing their personal struggle to be together in a country that does not embrace interracial relationships, effectively contrasts the distance between the lovers, and Nicholas’ longing, desire and strife to reunite with her. You simply accept that Nicholas loves Ishani, for he was given the opportunity to flee the country without her but chose the harder path to rescue her.
Though the film doesn’t deliver anything innovative, true fans of the living dead will find The Dead 2 a satisfactory experience. It’s a film that does everything right within its own budget constraints and still brings the Ford Brothers’ unique apocalyptic storytelling to a far bigger canvas in terms of visual scope and emotional content.
The Dead 2: India
Directed by Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford
Screenplay by Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford
Cast: Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal, Sandip Datta Gupta, Poonam Mathur
Run Time: 98 minutes
Release Date: Blu-ray & DVD on September 16.