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Day of the Dead 2: Contagium

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  103m  •    •  Directed by: Ana Clavell, James Glenn Dudelson.  •  Starring: Laurie Baranyay, Stan Klimecko, John F. Henry II, Justin Ipock, Julian Thomas, Stephan Wolfert, Samantha Clarke, Joe C. Marino, Jackeline Olivier, Andreas van Ray, April Wade, Kevin Wetmore Jr., Simon Burzynski.  •  Music by: Chris Anderson.
        While Doctor Donwin and his patients from Romero memorial hospital are cleaning a ravine, one of the patients find a canteen. When another patient opens the canteen, it releases glowing orbs which the group of patients are exposed to. Symptoms are apparent immediately, including unnatural skin shedding, black goo foaming at the mouth, dialated pupils, boils, and a special unisystem of the human senses which the selected group of patients share. They soon discover they have been infected with a "flesh eating virus", hence zombies.

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Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Image from: Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
I can't believe this movie was made. How could George A. Romero sell the rights to something this bad? "Day of the Dead 2: Contagium" is meant to be a prequel of sorts to Romero's immortal zombie classic, "Day of the Dead." But when you watch this film, you'll realize that there is NO comparison between it and Romero's original masterpiece of horror. The original "Day of the Dead" was a great film for horror film aficionados, made by a great writer-director. But find a paraplegic three-toed sloth with a very busy schedule and give him a camera for couple of hours and he'd come up with a better movie than this one.

"Day of the Dead 2: Contagium" is just one big mistake from start to finish, starting with its title. Exactly what is a "contagium," James and Ana? Might that be anything similar to a contagion? Is that what you meant? Hell, if you can afford to purchase the rights to Romero's films, then you can certainly invest in a dictionary.

It's second mistake is attempting to place an explanation on the cause of the dead rising and feeding on the flesh of the living in Romero's "Living Dead" series. It tries to pay homage to the original "Night of the Living Dead" by taking place in 1968 at the beginning, showing a mental hospital in Pennsylvania (complete with native "Pennsylvanian" palm trees) where a captured Russian pilot has accidentally unleashed a terrible virus from one of a series of vials he was carrying. We later learn that this pilot had crashed "out west in the desert." Where, the "western Pennsylvanian desert"? From there on, the carnage begins, and the military moves in to contain the situation. Here, we see the beginning of the atrocious makeup effects; instead of using exploding squibs to create the illusion of zombies getting shot in the head, they just start throwing stage blood onto the heads of certain zombies.

While survivors jog (yes, jog) for their lives, one soldier secures a vial filled with the virus inside a thermos and just walks right out of the facility; he doesn't try to sneak out past the military, he just WALKS RIGHT PAST THEM. Once he's gunned down by the military later on outside the facility, the thermos remains undiscovered amidst the foliage it falls in. It might have helped those soldiers if they actually FIRED ROUNDS at the zombies instead of just pointing the guns and tilting them as a gunshot sound is heard.

Some thirty odd years later, the thermos is discovered by some patients from another mental hospital, and the movie gets even worse. From there on out, we're treated to countless insulting stereotypes regarding the rest of the patients in the facility until the primary characters symbolically opens Pandora's box. Those infected by the atrocious digital effects which escape the thermos begin exhibiting a series of bizarre symptoms, including collectively feeling the same thing as the rest of the infected, the presence of dried Elmer's Glue on their skin, and vomiting chocolate syrup. The virus gradually effects others in various ways, including the transformation of one of the orderlies into an inexplicable zombie-vampire-meatloaf hybrid and, even more inexplicably, the first virgin conception since the Blessed Mother in one of the asylum's patients. All the while, the zombies who begin to stalk the facility take on personalities far removed from those of the classic Romero series, including the abilities of speech and rapid, coordinated movement. Also be sure to ask yourself how the Oliver Platt look-alike gets into the asylum to talk to one of the doctors when the place is under quarantine.

Of course, the idea in this film is that the zombie plague in Romero's films originated in this mental hospital and snowballed out of there to the rest of the world. In the meantime, those of us with a shred of dignity realize just how flawed this film is when compared with Romero's films. Number one, we're not supposed to know why the dead are rising and eating the living. Number two, in Romero's films, the recently deceased were rising all over the world at the same time; it wasn't a localized event that kept spreading out across the planet. Number three, a blood-borne plague spreading across North and South America would have virtually no way of reaching the rest of the world overseas unless carried by an infected traveler.

All in all, this movie is a complete insult to the masterpieces of horror made by George A. Romero. The sad thing is that the filmmakers who worked on this film actually believe that it's an homage to his works. It's perfectly evident in the way they speak about it in their commentaries, when they call this film "Day of the Dead" instead of actually calling it by its full name, almost as if to try to put it on the same level as the original "Day of the Dead." I can't emphasize enough how horrible this movie is, though I'll admit that it's great for laughs. If anything, this film may succeed where others have failed by living up to its name and actually making Richard Liberty and Ralph Marerro turn in their graves.

But you know what the biggest insult was with all of this? It wasn't the movie they made, nor was it even the fact they tried to put the Romero stamp on it with the title. When "Land of the Dead" was nearing its theatrical release, George A. Romero wanted scenes from the original "Day" in the trailer, together with scenes from "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead." What does Taurus "Entertainment" do? They threaten to sue him because they had bought the rights to "Day," even though it's still his movie.


Review by Htom_Sirveaux from the Internet Movie Database.