World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2, 2011.
Directed by Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates.
Starring Philip Brodie, Alix Wilton Regan, Rob Oldfield and Vicky Araico.
Britain has been inexplicably overrun by zombies and a surviving platoon of TA soldiers fight their way through hordes of the undead and groups of hostile survivors to get out the country.
Now don’t get me wrong when I get my teeth into the entrails of this one: I am a fan of the zombie genre. I just feel that everything within it has been overdone. And then overdone again. And again and again. When Richard Methson originally wrote I Am Legend, I think he had little idea of how his theme of isolation and survival would be retold countless times in various formats. We’ve seen Romero’s work put social commentary into the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead as well. But really, I don’t think there’s much more to be done with introducing the shambling groans of the undead into an apocalypse story. I haven’t seen the original Zombie Diaries film, but I doubt this sequel would be an improvement.
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 immediately strikes me as a cheap cash in on the sub genre of zombie films where all you need a fairly decent camcorder and the props to go with it. It’s the zombie apocalypse, and as usual, we follow a group of survivors trying to get out of the country. Need I say more? Well apart from the fact that this group of survivors are the most two dimensional squad of Territorial Army soldiers you’ll ever see. Well, more two dimensional than the average TA squaddie, anyway. After their base is overrun by zombies (someone left the gate open, apparently) they find themselves on a journey yaddda yadda yadda. We’ve seen this story play out a dozen thousand times and in this occasion, nothing interesting is being done.
The approach of the film is through the eyes of the camcorder which they lug about with them with little explanation. It’s like a zombie film’s list of survival equipment nowadays has to include a camera. I think one of the last things I would bring with me in that kind of situation would be a camcorder, but that’s just me. My real life experience of these situations is zero, so who am I to judge? Anyway, back to the camcorder technique. Funnily enough, as cheap as it sounds, it doesn’t look too bad in terms of lightening and framing, but it’s not pushing out any boats or making a name for itself. They could have used a standard camera set up and left out the “why are we bringing a camcorder with us” element out entirely. But that’s just me.
The zombies themselves felt very non-threatening. It almost felt like they just organised a flash mob with blank firing weapons and left it at that. If you’re zombies aren’t running full pelt, then you’re going to need more than a small gaggle to really make them seem like an impossible wall of people. This was made clear when at one point during the film they are running into a, ahem, horde of zombies and seem to have no trouble in leisurely skipping up to them and shooting them in the head, as if it was more of an administrative procedure than a fight for survival. There are a couple of, frankly, unneeded rape scenes (one on a female zombie…) that just felt like Bartlett and Gates wanted to do some kind of rape revenge film, but gave up and worked zombies into it.
I have to say that World of the Dead: Zombie Diaries 2 just feels like a massive waste of time. Is it a rape revenge film with zombies? Is it a half hearted TA recruitment film? Or did someone find a camcorder and some fake blood and decide to just book the week off work for a bit of amateur filming fun? It’s a heavily saturated genre in terms of film and feels too much like a video game. If you’re faced with the choice of watching this shambling slumberfest or replaying a classic Resident Evil game, I would advise firing up the old Playstation and giving this unfun undead palaver a miss.
Will Preston is a student at the University of Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website), presents a weekly radio show on PURE FM and makes various short films.
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