aka The Dead 2
Directors – Howard J. Ford & Jon Ford, Screenplay – The Ford Brothers, Producer – Howard J. Ford, Photography – Jon Ford, Music – Imran Ahmad, Visual Effects/Special Effects – Dan Rickard, Makeup Effects – Stuart Browne & Maxine Van De Banks, Art Direction – Sanjay Sujitabh. Production Company – Latitude Films/Road Trip Pictures
Joseph Millson (Nicholas Burton), Anand Goyal (Javed), Meenu (Ishani Sharma), Sandip Datta Gupta (Ishani’s Father), Poonham Mathur (Ishani’s Mother), Sonu Sonkar (Sanjeev)
Born by a ship from Africa, the zombie infection reaches India and starts to spread rapidly. Nicholas Burton is an American engineer who has come to India to build wind turbines. He receives a phonecall from his girlfriend Ishani to inform him that she is pregnant just as the zombie outbreak reaches where she is in Jaipur. However, her fiercely protective father cuts the call off and refuses to allow her to contact Nicholas. They huddle inside the house from the zombie onslaught outside their doors. With a young orphan boy Javed as guide, Nicholas sets out across the fifty-mile of hostile terrain to rescue Ishani as the zombies start overwhelming the entire country.
The Dead (2010) was one of the better films to come out amidst the late-2000s zombie revival. It never did anything to reinvent the zombie genre, it just did a solid and effective job of serving up the basics. The most original aspect was the fact that the Ford Brothers went to shoot in Africa (with locations shoots in Burkina Faso and Ghana) and turned the story into one that that took place as the entire African continent was succumbing to a zombie apocalypse. The Dead 2 is a sequel. The film goes out subtitled The Dead 2: India in some parts and, as this makes clear, the Ford Brothers have now gone to shoot in India and essentially tell the same story there.
Perhaps even more so than they did in The Dead, the Ford Brothers deliver a beautifully photographed film. From the opening montage of India’s slums on, they depict a great sense of place. There are shots in the film that shout out with a great visual splendour – Joseph Millson’s view down from halfway up a wind turbine as he witnesses the silent mime of a farmer being attacked by a zombie; the aerial shots circling the roof of the building where he prepares the propeller-driven backpack hang glider as the zombies surround him; a shot of him drifting across the land as the sun sets and a zombie feebly tries to reach up to him. The film also delivers tensions much more than the first film did, especially out of the scene where Joseph Millson struggles to get the hang glider to catch the wind from the rooftop as he is surrounded by zombies – only to take off and come back to the ground into the midst of the horde down below.
Eventually, The Dead 2: India settles for being a repeat of the first film – an American man’s struggle to make it across country to board the last flight out as the entire nation succumbs to zombie infection. This has the added element of hero Joseph Millson struggling to get to his girl (Meenu) who has just found that she is pregnant and is fearful of telling her strict father (Sandip Datta Gupta). This does lead to a strikingly original piece of writing where she confronts her father and tells him that the zombie horde proves that his religion must be false as Hinduism promises reincarnation, not the flesh resurrected. The grimmest piece of writing is the scene where Joseph Millson comes across a woman and child trapped in a car surrounded by zombies where he pulls his gun and we wonder for a long moment if he is going to do a mercy killing only for him to tell them he is just going to shoot loose the seat restraint that is trapping them – but to then turn and shoot the both of them in the head. The only negative point of the film is its abrupt and frustratingly downbeat ending.
The Ford Brothers subsequently went onto make the thriller Never Let Go (2015).