After AMC’s phenomenon The Walking Dead and this summer’s less than stellar adaptation of World War Z what more is there that can be done with the zombie genre? It is a likely question that filmmaker’s may ask of themselves when deciding to tackle another film in this oversaturated genre. What it really boils down to is how to present the material in an entertaining way. The Ford Brothers return with their latest entry in what appears to be a budding, international franchise The Dead 2: India.
After the African outbreak of the first film the plague finds its way to India. As all hell begins to break loose, Nicholas, an American engineer, must make a desperate attempt to get to his pregnant girlfriend, Ishani. While making his way through zombie-infested lands he manages to save a savvy young boy named Javed. Together they face the dangerous road ahead and hopefully they’ll find a way to Ishani and get out of the country before they become one of the undead themselves.
While elements of the genre are readily evident the Ford brothers’ new film has one refreshing aspect to it that sets itself apart from others films, its location. Sure you have the zombie horde, the traditional kind not the running ones, and the many near escapes from certain undeath but this time it has the country of India as its backdrop. The Fords utilize the opportunity to full affect and set numerous sequences in interesting and exotic locations. From clay huts to abandon palaces, from vast, empty deserts to crowded slums there is always something that captures the viewer’s attention. It really adds production value to the film and provides a more international flavor, no pun intended, which other films didn’t convey so successfully.
Other than the location the story is really what needs to draw people in otherwise you have just another run-of-the-mill zombie movie. The Fords focus on the themes of responsibility, philosophy and some Indian folklore for good measure. Nicholas’ journey is not just about survival but of growth. Over the course of the film he finds himself in situations that are reflective of his personal growth and often times he must make some very hard choices. The Fords bring eastern philosophy into the mix and raise some interesting questions about what the plague could possibly be. The film follows two story lines, Nicholas and Javed’s cross country journey and Ishani and her family. In between the human drama we are treated to the perfunctory zombie attacks and some of them are quite effective.
The performances are pretty good for the genre, in particular Joseph Millson as Nicholas and Anand Krishna Goyal as Javed. For a child actor Goyal is convincing and thankfully not annoying. Millson is very affective during a scene in the middle of the desert where he is forced to make a very difficult choice. It is their story that propels the film and it would have likely faltered had they not delivered. Meenu fairs well as Ishani as does Sandip Datta Gupta as Ishani’s father. They are limited by what their roles require but are fine when they really need to bring their A game.
This film is far better than one could have anticipated. It’s a decent zombie film that remains engaging throughout. It is certainly more relatable than World War Z. Featuring an exotic location, good makeup effects, decent acting and a serviceable storyline the Fords appear to have themselves an international zombie franchise on their hands. Wonder where they’ll be off to next?