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ZOMBIE DIARIES 2 (aka WORLD OF THE DEAD, 2010)
Directed by Kevin Gates & Michael Bartlett
Written by Kevin Gates
Starring Alix Wilton Regan, Philip Brodie & Vicky Aracio
I was a fan of the original ZOMBIE DIARIES. I thought it was everything Romero’s DIARY OF THE DEAD tried to be and failed. Using the hand-held zombie apocalypse motif, the makers of the original ZOMBIE DIARIES attempted to tell an expansive story from multiple angles and for the most part succeeded.
With ZOMBIE DIARIES 2, the series continues to follow the more militaristic side of the war between the living and the dead. The film starts with an effective scene as a family, not knowing about the zombies, celebrate a birthday of a young girl during a power outage. When the father hears something going on outside, we know what it is because we read the title of the movie, but the family doesn’t. What plays out is a horrific scene with a nice payoff—a great intro into this world of ZOMBIE DIARIES.
Cut to a group of UK military types who are trying to deal with the plague themselves. With no contact with the world, the soldiers rely on rank and training (and of course firepower) to get them through the shambling masses. Unlike like the soldiers in DAY OF THE DEAD, these soldiers represent the good guys rather than the gun-happy monsters from Romero’s film. It’s the regular civilians that folks need to worry about as they rampage across the decimated land, killing and raping survivors (there’s even a disturbing zombie rape scene). Showing the humans in this light is not new, but the stance that it’s the soldiers that are the noble warriors while the civilians are the true monstrosities is a viewpoint I haven’t really seen before. This is an almost pro-military, patriotic film—sort of a SAVING PRIVATE RYAN of zombie films, though the scope is much smaller. Hell, one of the soldiers is even a teacher back home, like Tom Hanks was in PRIVATE RYAN.
The motif that this is a found footage film with a military cameraman documenting everything wears thin by the end. There’s some acknowledgment by the rest of the cast that the camera is on, but for the most part, once the zombies get in close, other than continuing to film so there’s a movie, there really is no reason for the cameraman to continue rolling. That said, ZOMBIE DIARIES 2, like its predecessor, is a higher quality of zombie film. The gore is top notch. There are quite a few scenes with true scares. And of course, it’s a nice homage to the original DEAD trilogy with an adherence to the classic Romero rules of the zombie.