Monday, September 15, 2014

The Dead 2 Blu-ray Disc Review

The Dead 2 AKA The Dead 2: India is the new zombie horror film by The Ford Brothers, who impressed horror fans globally with their hit debut film, The Dead, which was set in and shot on location in West Africa using local talent and West African citizens as extras. This installment is kind of a prequel and certainly could take place concurrent to the events of the first film at least partially. The reason why I state this is because in the first film, it is pretty clear even from the flashback beginning of the story that a zombie apocalypse is in full swing and the lead characters enter already knowing what they are dealing with.

The new film, set in India, begins with a boat returning to Mumbai from Somalia where essentially patient zero for the subsequent outbreak in India peacefully returns to his home clutching his arm where he was bitten while working in Africa. Since the outbreak has only started in Africa and still somewhat unconfirmed, no one is expecting the horror that is about to unfold and as a result within one night, the streets of Mumbai are filled with citizens in panic, shot guns firing, zombies attacking and huge military helicopters flying over the city. A lone young Indian woman calls her secret American boyfriend to tell him she is pregnant with his child and her parents don't know. The American (Joseph Millson), a turbine engineer contracted by the military, is completing a wind-farm when he gets her call, which is shortly followed by a call to his partner, who informs him that he must abandon the assignment and return to Mumbai by the night to get the last plane out to the States. With his partner refusing to risk his life by picking up his girlfriend, the engineer battles his way across 300 miles of zombie infested wilderness. During his journey he rescues an orphan (Anand Goyal), who becomes his guide in return for protection from the undead.

Basically The Dead 2 does not cover much new ground with the main characters this time being an American Engineer and an Indian boy instead of an American and African soldier as seen in the first film. While there are some great fight sequences, a few legitimate scares, and moments of Hindu spirituality trying to explain why the zombie apocalypse has begun, there just is not enough for a grown man and a little boy to do in a zombie horror flick while in the first film, there were more sequences and encounters with varied adult characters and the two leads made for a more relatable team. Young Anand Goyal is a very likable child actor, but he is still a child and thus there is only so much that can be shared between the two lead characters. Ultimately the action parallels the action of the first film very closely with just some cosmetic changes that distinguish it from the first. Essentially The Dead 2 is more of a fable than the first film. It telegraphs what is to come with little subtlety, but while I liked the first film better, The Dead 2 is still a better than average zombie horror film. I hope if The Ford Brothers make a third installment, they will aim for a different kind of story that takes everything forward and in a new direction rather than what feels like a loose retread of the original that seems more like a prequel than a sequel. The character reactions are not consistent to what was shown in The Dead. Here it feels like it is just beginning while the other film clearly gives the impression that everyone is well aware of the problem and trying to deal with it.

Anchor Bay Entertainment's Blu-ray Disc edition presents The Dead 2 in a beautifully sharp high definition 1080p/24fps (1.78:1) widescreen aspect ratio that is quite colorful at times and uses the on location scenes shot in Rajasthan, Delhi, and Mumbai to create one of most visually impressive zombie horror films ever made. There was a scene in the film where the dialogue spoken between main characters sounded kind of hollow or had a kind of echo quality to it that I am unsure is due to bad ADR looping or some glitch in the disc itself. Outside of that, the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Soundtrack is just fine and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles encoded onto the Blu-ray Disc as options. 

Extra value features include an interview with the filmmakers from Frightfest TV (29:12), two deleted scenes (2:21) and trailers for The Dead (2:18) and Battle of the Damned (2:18), which precede the main menu. 

The Dead 2 will debut on Blu-ray Disc on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at retailers on and offline courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.