Not Nearly as Entertaining as the Trailer
…and there’s no Nazi Zombies
by TS Alan
Set in WWII, Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead tells the story of a small team of American soldiers fighting against a horde of zombies created by the Nazis using prisoners from concentration camps. While filmmakers like Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow / Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead) and Marko Makilaakso (War of the Dead), use zombified Nazi soldiers as their antagonists, Italian directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori went in a different direction, having Doctor Mengele (Dan van Husen) use mentally ill concentration camp internees for testing his virus in an attempt to create an immortal Nazi army.
Boni and Ristori are known for two previous zombie flicks (Eaters and Apocalypse Z aka Zombie Massacre), both of which were poorly received — simply for the fact that they were horrible films, rife with bad acting, bad dialog, and bad production. With Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead, it is apparent by the film’s slow pacing, stylish cinematography (by Francesca Catalano) and its organic feel that the directors were looking to make a serious zombie film, one that would take them out of cult schlock status and more into the mainstream.
There are moments where the film shines and early on hints it will be something better than what Boni and Ristori have previously produced. The acting is impressively solid, especially that of Aaron Stielstra (The Scarlet Worm) and veteran actor Dan van Husen (Hart’s War / The Sea Wolves). The dialog is fluid and realistic, and many of the practical effects are very well done. Yes, it’s moody, gritty, stylish and well acted, but it’s also painfully slow and meanders aimlessly between war and horror film. There is also no characters you’ll become truly vested in and the undead don’t show up until thirty-two minutes into the eighty minute film. And then there’s the ending, which didn’t make sense.
Directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori have certainly accomplished a better zombie film then their first two, and it certainly shows how far they come as a film making team. However, Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead has far more weaknesses than strengths to make it a film to satisfy zombiephile aficionados or the casual viewer. Boni and Ristori are on the cusp of being excellent zombie film makers, let us hope that their next movie together will finally be their breakout.
Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead
Directed by Luca Boni, Marco Ristori
Screenplay by Luca Boni, Marco Ristori
Cast: Andrew Harwood Mills, Aaron Stielstra, Ally McClelland, Dan van Husen, and Lucy Drive.
Run Time: 80 minutes
Release Date: Out on DVD in UK. Blu-ray (uncut) in Germany, July 31, 2015.