The film world has seen its fair share of zombie apocalypse scenarios set in the western world. Ever since George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the fictional land of on screen America has been terrorised by the undead and the success of 2013’s blockbuster smash hit World War Z and prime time television show The Walking Dead have proven that the trend shows no signs of slowing down. The U.S. isn’t alone in having its land ravaged by the notorious brain munchers however; the U.K. has also seen its fair share of natively set zombie fare, from 28 Days Later to the politically charged T.V. series In The Flesh. But what if the undead were to attack a country already devastated by political turmoil and extreme poverty?
In 2010, The Dead explored this very situation and The Dead 2 – India picks up where that one left off, with the zombie virus having spread into India. The film follows Nicholas Burton, an American engineer with a hidden past who now lives in India where he plans to start a new life with his pregnant girlfriend, Ishani Sharma, a local Indian woman. However, her father has very traditional values and disapproves of the relationship, even when he finds himself trapped indoors with his daughter and their sick mother. Stranded and alone miles away from his love, Nicholas sets off to be reunited with her with the help of a young orphan boy he meets on the way.
The most immediately striking thing about The Dead 2 is the cinematography, which captures both the beauty and the desolation of the Indian region where the film is set. Vast open land clashes with overly populated shanty towns, both of which are equally as hostile. The zombies themselves are particularly vicious and evil looking, with stark white eyes and a lifeless autonomy straight out of a Romero zombie feature. When they attack, the results are bloody and violent and a palpable sense of chaos and disorder is revealed, which is heightened by a ruthless military presence.
I have always found that the best thing about zombie films is the sheer escapism they provide and this film, like its predecessor, does that exceptionally well. This is mainly due to the performances of the main actors, who draw you into their perilous world of fighting to survive. The young orphan boy Javed, played by Anand Gopal, is particularly captivating; his on screen persona oozes charisma so that we find ourselves caring deeply about his plight.
The pacing of the film is superb and the story progresses at a very natural feeling rate which balances moments of exhilarating tension with instances of thought provoking reflection. What we end up with is a very impressive sequel that takes the winning formula of the first film and manages to improve on it with the addition of a more human character-driven storyline. A must for dead heads everywhere.
4 / 5
THE DEAD 2: INDIA is directed by Howard J. Ford Jonathan Ford (The Ford Brothers) and stars Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal and Sandip Datta Gupta.