Twitter Plot Summary: The world has gone to pot and it’s all the zombies’ fault. Thankfully somebody was on hand to film it all.
The good news is that The Zombie Diaries 2, with its odd prefix-not-suffix of World of the Dead, is a better film than the original. That film suffered because it used an anthology format and chose to follow various groups of mostly boring characters as the zombie apocalypse unfolded in the United Kingdom.
The opening sequence here features a family being attacked in their home by what appears to be a single zombie, and not only demonstrates how stupid people are in zombie films (here’s a suggestion – try closing the door) but also implies that we’re back in exactly the same, awkward found footage territory that made the original such a hard sell. That found footage method is still in use here, but the shift of focus to a group of soldiers trying to make their way to the coast, where they will board a boat heading for mainland Europe, is a positive one, as is the increased number of on-screen zombies which prove to be a constant threat. Their numbers are still quite low compared to the big American productions, but they make an impact and suggest that the survivor’s efforts are likely to be in vain.
Much like the first film, there is a heavy element of social commentary by highlighting just how nasty people can be when the world has ended, and all of the restrictions society places on us have been lifted. In this world men are apparently focused on killing and rape and not much else besides. It’s a nihilistic and bleak perspective on the world, not helped by the lack of characterisation given to its female characters. They might be able to fire weapons and get into their own fair share of scrapes, but ultimately the women are only here to act as objects of lust and, mostly, be rescued by the menfolk. Progressive writing this is sadly not.
It’s still very much a low budget affair, which is fine, however given the fact the characters are relying on generators for their power it does lead to the suspension of disbelief being completely ignored. In certain circumstances the found footage format works, but when civilisation has ended you can’t help but think their time would be better served doing something more productive than pointing an energy-wasting camcorder at people whilst the undead swarm around you.
With that said, the occasional conceit for the cinema format is made so certain moments (but not many) are seen from somewhere other than the perspective of the guy holding the camera, and it’s these sequences that work best. It would have been better if the found footage concept had been dropped completely and the whole film had been shot in a traditional style, at least then it wouldn’t be necessary to sit through scene after scene of low lighting and spotlight views of the action. Once or twice, fair enough, but using it this frequently detracts from the story. It might be an improvement over the first film, but The Zombie Diaries 2 still lacks the edge to make it an essential zombie movie.