Saturday, June 16, 2012

Horror Film Review

Zombie Diaries 2 (2011):  I honestly don't remember the first Zombie Diaries, although I must have seen it.  Five years after that, this comes along to give us another dose of zombie mayhem in jolly old England.  I wish I could say this is a kick-ass, action-packed, gore-fest.  I wish just one of those three adjectives applied to ZD2.  Instead, this movie is about as much fun as a colonoscopy.  Oh, and the poster?  One of the best examples of false advertising I've ever seen.

We follow a group of army reservists who are holed up in a compound somewhere in the U.K. countryside.  One of the guys has a video camera.  Yep.  The whole movie.  Anyway, zombies overrun the compound, and a handful of army dudes and one civilian woman escape.  Scuttlebutt has it that a town on the coast is a staging ground for survivors to cross the channel to Holland, where it's safe, so our heroes now have a goal.  Their journey is fraught with danger and stupidity.  They encounter a group of bandits (mostly murderers and rapists who follow a psycho leader) that are worse than the zombies.  After a couple of fatal run-ins with these guys, the protagonists make it to the coast only to find the military staging area in ruins and everybody dead.  I was shocked, shocked I say!  Then we finally learn that the U.K. is going to be burned to the ground so them boats from Holland better hurry up.  The last scene shows the army commander on the shore where he discovers a young couple.  The woman is pregnant.  They say Holland is burning and that they were told the U.K. was safe.  Cute, huh?  One other thing.  Throughout the film are periodic flashback scenes where people in white hazmat suits and gas masks systematically execute and burn civilians.  At the end of the picture, they take off their masks.  Three guesses who they are.  The intended moral, I suppose, is that our army reservist heroes don't deserve to survive.  Karma can sure be a bitch.

There are so many problems with ZD2 that I hardly know where to begin.  No, that's not true.  I know exactly where to begin.  The zombies. that an elderly sloth with bunions could outrun them.  Most of the time, they're just standing still.  Kind of takes away from the sense of danger when all you need to do to escape is walk around them.  In one forest scene, that's all the reservists have to do but instead they stop and shoot a few...and then just run past them anyway.  Dumb.  Then there's the single perspective of the hand-held camera that's now so unoriginal it's annoying, especially when over 50% of the action takes place in the dark and you can't tell what the hell is going on.  More annoying still is the stilted dialogue that is so drab and, pardon the pun, lifeless, that you could just as well watch it with the sound muted.  Ultimately, ZD2 is an uninspired cliche, and it tested my love of the genre.  Maybe it's best to think of it as a cautionary tale of how NOT to make a zombie flick. 


Acting:  The performances are stiff and uptight and worse, you simply don't care what happens to these people. 
Story:  You've seen it before and I'm sure you'll see it again.  It's a good plot line and works if executed properly.
Direction:  Like the zombies, it's sluggish to the point of not moving at all.  I actually started working on this blog entry 40 minutes in. 
Production Values:  I'm not sure what the budget was, but I can guarantee one episode of NCIS cost more.  Location shooting and one camera angle covers many sins, yet you never shake the "low budget feel" that oozes from the screen. 
Gore/FX:  As I mentioned earlier, this isn't a gore-fest, but it should have been.  There's some blood spatter and a few quick shots of zombies hunched over bodies munching on the viscera and that's about it. 
Scares:  To be fair, there was one or two; however, they were of the type inevitable in "mockumentary" style filmmaking.  You know, it's dark and the jerky camera pans back and forth...and suddenly there's a creepy-ass zombie filling the frame. 
Ending:  Like I said before, a too-cute twist on the beach you see coming miles away.  Almost gave me a Planet of the Apes flashback. 
Verdict:  Should you see Zombie Diaries 2?  Just...don't.  There are so many other zombie flicks from the U.K. that aren't a great big pile of suck.  Go watch one of them.  (See my list of reviewed films to find a good one.)

Rating:  1 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment