Day of the Dead 2: Contagium Review
Written by: Dean Valent
Well, I'm flabbergasted, I expected this movie to be awful, with some nice gore. What more could I expect form a "prequel/sequel" to the great George A Romero film, the original Day.
Well, after seeing this I just have to say I was wrong, very wrong. The gore was crap.
So what do we have then? A film that tries to make it's money off of a thought provoking zombie film, and then actually makes itself look an idiot, obeying no principles of the original Day or of Night of the Living Dead, or Dawn of the Dead. And that means, it explains how the dead came to life. Not to say the idea itself is so bad, but Romero specifically left that open to interpretation so we could think.
Dawn 2004 fell down on that, but at least the quality was there, as well as great gore. Here we have a piece of junk, which promised us a decent character development, a faithful story which could intertwine with the other real Dead films, and a good splatering of blood. It failed on all of it's promise, just like most of the communtiy at Movies Online predicted.
There was one redeeming actress amongst this mish mash of awfulness, Laura Baranyay, who played Emma in this film. Just had to add a smidge of approval in this review. That actress alone cannot make me like Contagium though.
Where does the virus start though? Where better to tell you than the introdcution of the movie? Exactly. Apparently the directors had no clue on what pacing, planning, and thinking had to do with this film. Some may say this occured in 28 Days Later to, but that film got the idea done because it couldn't interrupt it's flow with that possibility.
Well, in 1968 (the time when Night of the Living Dead was released) a Russian plane, which is carrying six, or seven vials of a United States developed virus. Which is of cause Contagium, which turns people into flesh craving monsters. (Directors, do you realise you don't explain this in a Romero based film?). This Russian spy is defecting to the US side though...which is confusing...he is returning the vials, but he is exposed to the stuff, and turns.
So the facility he goes to gets practically everyone infected, surprise. Where they went wrong again though, the virus first gives you a cold like disease, then your skin starts to fall away, and then your pulse and breathing goes, but you can still speak, walk and act like a human...erm, I don't know how to convey the outrage Romero fans must be feeling reading this...
Ahem, anyway the military breaks this lab up, and cleans the area of all infected and none infected people. Skip to around 1985...the time of Day of the Dead folks. See they seemed to forget the films Romero had were suposed to happen wihtin two years of eachother (Night - one or tow days into outbreak, Dawn - a month or so into it, Day - anywhere between six months and two years of the zombie apocolypse).
Anyway, some people built an asylum over this area, and in this modern time some crazies find the vials. Dun dun dun...so they are skinless (they are supposed to be, the effects suck) and walking as normal. But the owner of this place tries to keep all those infected away, as he knows something about this virus. And that there is a cure...yes, all you fans should be kicking your desks.
The cure only works though, if you haven't tasted human flesh. Oh, by the way this guy is also infected. Confused yet?
All of the work put into the effects must have been burnt, as all we see here in this film is straight from the makeup box zombie appliances. Though the blood is fine, as long as you don't count the awful CGI, which looks like it's from my 1989 Amiga. What really bugged me though was when anyone was attacked by groups of zombies, they weren't pulled apart, the zombies just kind of pretended to bite and rip at them (which looked like stroking at some scenes). They hadn't put any money into appliances for the dying. They claimed to have spent half of the budget on the effects though, so 4.5 million gets you this? I suspect some money laundering guys...
One part of the film that made no sense was when some reporter centre attempted to go and INTERVIEW the dead, while they were feeding on flesh. Well done, for worst concieved television idea ever.
So they had 4.5 left to pay the actors and work on direction and film quality. So why they were suing low quality handheld cameras killed me, what about a dolly? Or tracking system? Something? No...imagine Blair Witch but a little better quality.
And the acting apart from the good Laura Baranyay, was something from a terrible community college. The less said the better. Though I do have to say something...
This film is nto worse than Raiders of the Living Dead, Children of the Living Dead or House of the Dead. This is still a piss poor effort though, and does not match Romero's universe at all. For the zombies run, talk and act like humans. All of them. Well when those dead folk are on screen, you see them for a bit at the start of the film, and they only come back at the end really, trying to match Romero's talky nature? Or just an excuse to hide the awful effects? You decide. Also tell some jokes, that's what these zombies do. I kid you not.
So what do I rate this film as? For the disgrace to George Romero and all other good zombie flicks, it gets a 14% If you want proof go and check it out. Be warned, it is dangerously offensive to GAR fans...