I’m a big fan of zombie movies. Whether it’s more serious social commentaries, like 28 Days Later, or more humourous, like Shaun of the Dead, I’ve always found zombie movies to be a great source of entertainment. I wish I could say the same thing about World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 (TZD2).
TZD2 takes place three months after the events of the first movie. A group of army reservists and civilians are holed up in a remote military barracks. One day they receive a radio message telling survivors to head for a military stronghold on the coast of the UK. A fleet of ships is on the way to take them to a secure location; but before they can make a move, all hell breaks loose when a horde of zombies manages to break into the barracks. The majority of the barracks’ inhabitants are killed, but a small group manage to make it out alive. Surrounded by death, their only hope lies in making it to the military stronghold in time.
Zombie Diaries 2 uses an interesting concept that was first covered in the first film. Unfortunately, the novelty has worn off and the numerous other problems in this movie make it barely watchable.
The interesting idea that TZD2 works with is that it’s shot in the found footage style of movies. Found footage is a genre of movies which tell the story through footage that is shot by one of the characters in the film. The character recording events often narrates events from behind the camera. The footage uses shaky camera work to portray the events as more realistic. Popular movies that fall into this category include The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. While this style of movie definitely works for most horror movies, I found it to be a hindrance in TZD2.
The way the plot unfolds in TZD2 is extremely flat and predictable. TZD2 uses a few different types of scenes, and frequently recycles them. As a result the movie never offers anything new and becomes stale extremely fast.
Another problem with TZD2 is that we don’t have any time to bond with the main characters, who are borderline cardboard cutouts. There’s some exposition at the beginning of the movie to get us up to speed with the events of TZD1, but nothing that really makes us empathise with the characters when tragedy occurs. The protagonists spend so much time on the run or fighting that there’s barely any time for the audience to get to know them. It’s also hard to empathise with them since the main characters make so many stupid decisions.
The effects in this movie are another aspect that bring it down. While most zombie movies don’t have particularly complicated plots, at least they have interesting visual effects to compensate. The zombies in this movie have barely had any effects work done to them, appearing most of the time as ordinary people who maybe got a bit roughed up after a long night out. The various gory effects that you’d expect from zombie movies, like copious amounts of blood, exploding heads, and vicious bullet wounds, are also barely present.
The action scenes are also extremely flat since the zombies themselves pose little threat unless they’re close enough that you could reach out and give them a hug. Even then there are moments when the zombies don’t seem that interested in the survivors, choosing to walk past them or simply stand there so they can be shot or have the back of a rifle shoved in their face.
The Bottom Line
The Zombie Diaries 2 is a low budget horror, which tries to recreate the unique angle the first movie had. Unfortunately TZD2 has nothing new or interesting to offer beyond this idea.