Three months have passed since a viral outbreak wiped out 99.9% of the world's population, turning its victims into flesh-eating living dead. In the UK, a surviving band of soldiers and civilians have taken refuge at a rural military barracks. Life in this new world is tough and brutal, but hope appears when a high level communication is received from a military base on the coast, telling of sanctuary elsewhere in Europe...
Directed by: Michael G. Bartlett
, Kevin Gates
. Starring: Philip Brodie
, Alix Wilton Regan
, Rob Oldfield
, Vicky Araico
, Toby Bowman
, Okorie Chukwu
, Russell Jones
, Hiram Bleetman
, Toby Nicholas
, Marshall Griffin
, Rufus Graham
, Josh Myers
, Aj Williams
. Music by: Pete Renton
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 just barely surpasses its predecessor, mainly because of the fact that it recognizes that more than walking around and verbally droning about the possibility of other lands being overtaken by zombies is not substantial enough for a feature film. Directors Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett actually thrown some plot-progression and some events into the sequel to their Dimension Extreme-distributed film to provide for not only some much-needed life in an undead environment but, thankfully, something to reminds us why we're still watching.
The horror genre is at such a treacherous time in its life, where studios have realized the go-to for quick cash comes in the form of remakes, sequels, or the constant ubiquity of ideas such as exorcism and the "found footage" method of filming that true fans must not simply "take what they can get" but look under rocks for films of the genre that will satisfy their needs effectively. The Zombie Diaries unfortunately failed to do that, and looking at World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2, it doesn't improve on too much worth noting. However, it takes considerable risks at being more than a throwaway release and dares to at least be occasionally vile and inexplicable which, at this point in the "franchise's" life, is kind of relieving that, unlike its main focus, is still alive and breathing.
This time around, the film takes place about three months after the viral outbreak in the first movie began, and has since wiped out almost all of the world's population, leaving its victims as mindless, literal zombies feeding off the reminisce of the human race. One of the largest surviving groups comes in the form of experienced, well-trained soldiers, whom have taken refuge at a military base in the rural lands of Europe. After months of not coming in contact with any survivors other than themselves and spending most of their time warding off persistent zombies, the base receives communication from another, coastal military base that informs of safety and refuge in a nicer part of Europe. Thank goodness because, in a rather unbelievable chain of events, somebody left the gate to the military base wide open and allowed it to be flooded with the undead, so the soldiers need to make a run for it. The film follows the tight-knit group of fighters as they cross Europe's snowy terrain in hopes of starting a new city or state in what looks to be a promising place of comfort and, at the very least, reliable solace from the undead.
The film plays like we're watching video of people playing a game of paintball or laser-tag using large areas of land as their massive playgrounds. The most exciting footage is when we see the gang of soldiers stealthily maneuvering through uncertain land and attempting to avoid potential run-ins with zombies. On top of that, writerco-director Gates fuels the film with some much-needed elements of excitement and peril, such as scenes of gang-rape, scenes of extreme violence, and Holocaust undertones. It's not that we are particularly gleeful that the characters now have the possibility of being raped in their minds, but it's the idea that something is finally occurring in this previously dead-on-arrival franchise that makes the film quietly remarkable.
However, the problems with The Zombie Diaries still exist in its sequel, which are the frequently agitating lack of steadiness in the camera, the occasionally bothersome and frequently interchangeable characters, and the fact that some scenes are way too poorly lit, even if the motive behind the film is to evoke suspense and fear. World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 is far from a good sequel, but as an improvement on its heavily-flawed predecessor, it does rise from the ashes in some regards to create at least a more watchable film than the first which, the more I think about it, should be the tagline for every sequel to a mediocre or downright awful film.
Starring: Philip Brodie, Alix Wilton Regan, Rob Oldfield, and Vicky Araico.
Review by Steve Pulaski from the Internet Movie Database.