2007 witnessed two interesting entries into the bustling Zombie genre of Horror Cinema. George Romero’s enjoyable DIARY OF THE DEAD was coincidently complimented by a British movie from Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates entitled ZOMBIE DIARIES. The budgets were significantly different with the British effort unsurprisingly having the lesser resources. It may have been a sheer fluke, but when watched back to back it was conceivable that you were watching the same disaster play out on different sides of the ‘the pond’.

Due to the success of their first picture, Gates and Bartlett would now appear to have the taste of flesh, and have returned with a sequel - ZOMBIE DIARIES 2: WORLD OF THE DEAD

The scenario is pretty simply really. The world has been ravaged by an apparent plague that turns the living into the flesh chomping un-dead. The UK is the worst affected, mainly due to its status of being an island. An Army cameraman by the name of Jonesy is filming the predicament of a small group of British Territorial Army soldiers, Maddox, Carter, Kayne and Nicholson. Stationed at a secluded military base in Suffolk, the moral is low - but there is a glimmer of hope. By way of some information received from a military base on England’s coast, it transpires there is an intended mass evacuation out of the UK. Failure to be part of this will result in the group succumbing to the planned incineration of the entire UK.

Their mission receives an inevitable setback when their base is compromised by a Zombie attack. As a result Leanne, the sole survivor from the original Zombie Diaries, is rescued by the group from her hiding place. Having a civilian on tow is perceived by the military band as a surplus complication. But it soon becomes apparent that the brain dead monsters are not the biggest hindrance to their operation. When the streets are devoid of law, can the worst enemy faced be the one from within?

So here we go again with yet another Zombie yarn. Blatantly filmed as a ‘point of view’ movie it initially looked like it would descend into a hackneyed low budget territory. But stick with the movie and it does have a few interesting traits. Firstly, due to the remote setting and devastated state of the country, WotD has a very bleak feel to it. There is no place for quirky wise cracks and an element of realism is upheld at all times. I later learned that Gates and Bartlett recruited a military advisor in order to plan certain scenes and this certainly helps maintain a gritty tone.

The quandary of the players being in a race against time to leave the UK also gives the movie an expeditious pace. There is some nice character development to compliment the action, but the most interesting concept of the film is when the group face arguably their biggest challenge. A troupe of criminals, devoid of the shackles of law, is allowed to run amok. It is this element that gives the movie by far its nastiest sequence.

This is all well and good but I did get the feeling of déjà vu when an unfortunate lad with learning difficulties was forced into committing some heinous acts of depravity against his apparent will. (The words ‘Grave’ and ‘Spit’ spring to mind for starters!)

Overall, the ominous atmosphere of the movie makes this a watchable 90 minutes, even if it does rely on some unoriginal concepts. With an included commentary track from the aforementioned writer and director and some great behind the scenes footage, the disc is good value package. These guys are innovative, enthusiastic and honest about their work so I will be looking with interest to their future projects. I just hope they resist the temptation of producing a third chapter in a topic that is close to exhaustion.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Metrodome Distribution
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review