By Sean Burton
Released in 2006, The Zombie Diaries was an independent, low-to-zero budget British film about a zombie apocalypse seen though the eyes and camera of a group of ‘average joes’. It went straight to DVD, garnering mainly negative reviews.
The unpopularity of the first Zombie Diaries raised questions regarding the need for a sequel and the predictable result confirms that being forced to watch this would result in a fate worse than, well, being chomped on by the living dead.
It’s been three months since the majority of the worlds’ population became the flesh hungry living dead and a small group of civilians and soldiers cowering in an abandoned army barracks must stave off multiple attacks to survive. When the refuge is overrun by zombies, the band of survivors have no choice but to flee to the coast in the hope of salvation, where apparently boats are waiting to take them to countries not yet affected. But in a landscape littered with the staggering dead, their journey is far from simple. They must make it: the fate of mankind rests in their hands. The leading female character, Leeann returns but this time actress Alix Winton Regan has replaced Victoria Nalder.
Believe me when I say there’s an incredible amount of hyperbole in that synopsis to make it sound even mildly entertaining. Let me break it down a little more; by ‘multiple attacks’ I mean one. When I said ‘overrun’, there’s about ten zombies. When I say ‘landscape’, a field would have been more accurate. This film is so devoid of life, it almost makes you wonder whether this was a deliberate nod to the subject matter.
I almost felt sympathetic towards the zombie extras, who were trying to do their undead best with an absolutely tragic excuse for makeup. Slightly blue in the face, minimal tears in their clothes and red splodges around the mouth, these flesh hungry beings look more like they’re returning from a particularly good night out. They pose no threat whatsoever and appear to be more of a minor irritation to the group, who delight in screaming every ‘trapped survivor’ cliché known to man and zombie.
The handheld camera effect is annoyingly inconsistent: one stand out scene for example shows the group trekking up a hill, cameraman in tow. Then it cuts to an extreme long shot, as if he’s filming them walking up the same hill.
The performances, unsurprisingly, are mostly dire, with the small exception of Philip Brodie as Maddox. Not only does he lead the team, he’s without a doubt the only character you hope won’t get eaten. The others are forgettable and disposable: I found myself wishing for their demise, a timely shredding by the living dead.
So the acting is as poor as the script, the zombies are ridiculous and the camerawork is shoddy. What else could possibly be negative about Zombie Diaries 2? Did I mention the multiple rape scenes, one involving a female zombie? I think that’s enough said about that. Granted, it’s pleasing to see some psychopaths get what they deserve, but the whole section doesn’t feel like it fits in this particular film and genre.
Put simply, World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 is a waste of your time, effort and (by the looks of it) about 25 quid of the producer’s money. Avoid.