At times, “The Dead 2: India” (2013), seems like a carbon copy of its predecessor three years earlier. Both “The Dead” and “The Dead 2” portray American male protagonists on a lengthy overland trek to reach a wife or girlfriend. Both were shot on location in an overseas setting. (The original took place in Africa.) And both portray a second protagonist who is a native of the country. (In this case it’s a little boy portrayed by Anand Krishna Goyal. Even a curmudgeon like me has got to admit — that kid is adorable.)
I liked the first movie a bit better. This one feels a little hastily put together, in terms of its script and directing.
It does manage to succeed somewhat with the things that made the first film decent viewing. Its desert locations are beautifully shot, and the filmmakers bring back some of the original’s slow-burn horror elements. The zombies here are usually as slow as snails — slower even than the zombies of George A. Romero’s genre-defining early films. But they’re also quiet, and they converge en masse when our hero lets his guard down. And the occasional appearance of a rare feisty specimen leads to some genuine jump scares. The movie also effectively employs what appears to be a low-budget special effect — the monsters’ eyes are of an opal-white, otherworldly color. (I’m guessing those are colored contact lenses?) The trick works, the zombies are scary, and “The Dead 2” successfully provides a kind of “creeping horror” that is rare for today’s horror films.
That wasn’t enough, however, to rescue this movie entirely from feeling like a retread of the original. I’d describe this as an average viewing experience for a horror fan, and I’d rate it a 6 out of 10.