"Day of the Dead 2: Contagium"
Okay, when I put this
one into the player, I have to admit, I had my share of concerns.
Given "Dawn of the Dead's" fairly lackluster remake, and
even the less than stellar reemergence of the Grand Old Man himself,
anything having to do with George Romero hadn't been shaping up
all that well.
Compared to the original
stuff, in fact, it was all pretty lousy. And that hurts more than
anything to have to say.
But then I put "Day
of the Dead 2: Contagium" in. And it didn't turn out half bad.
We'll have a look at
just why a bit later, but let me sum up the plot for you. Basically,
back in 1968, Ravenside Military Installation started developing
this self-replicating virus tailor made to smoke DNA at the molecular
level--biowarfare on a previously unimaginable scale. So, as you
no doubt expected, something went wrong, and a whole bunch of people
got dead. Most of them came back for a while, and got dead once
again. Thirty seven years later, Ravenside Psychiatric Hospital
(wow, how's that for cover, folks?) is clearing up a ravine near
the hospital when they come across an old thermos containing one
of the last known samples of the self-replicating virus. Naturally,
something goes wrong again, and the whole process fires back up
with zombies aplenty.
Okay, sounds kinda pedestrian,
no? Sure it does. But it's in the execution that "Day of the
Dead 2: Contagium" shines.
First and foremost, the
zombies are almost exactly authentic. Head shots kill, and only
head shots kill. Most of the zombies plod rather than run. Almost
no zombies are talking. I have to make hedges on this, there are
visible examples to the contrary that happen every so often. Of
course, the plot does take care of this by saying that some people's
DNA will be affected in a different fashion by the virus. It's a
bit flimsy but it does work, so I?m okay with it.
Even better, they name
one of the buildings at Ravenside the "Romero Ward", so
that's a solid addition. It's good that they mostly used his physics,
and then gave him the nod besides. That's respect. The Grand Old
Man deserves respect.
It's not without flaws
here, though. The first half hour, indeed, the first half, is a
bit slow moving plot wise. And a movie like this shouldn't be slow
moving. Except it did that thing I always hate in my zombie movies.
It's been a big push lately, and I'm not happy about it. All the
zombie action was contained to one building, with the last ten minutes
showing the outbreak beginning as a horde of zombies pours out of
the hospital. I want the Apocalypse back in my zombie movies! The
last one I can recall that got that far with it was "Feeding
the Masses", and that at least managed to get a city going
up! I want to see people trying to survive in an entire world gone
mad, not in a building with a little zombie problem.
This needs to be a geopolitical
conflict, not a problem for the realtors.
The ending, redundantly,
is solid enough, but the content it held really needed featuring
more toward the front. I want to see the zombies expand, not just
bust out of a building.
The special features
included a making of featurette, cast and crew commentary, and trailers
for "Day of the Dead", "All Souls Day", "It
Waits", "The Evil Dead", and "Demon Hunter".
All in all, "Day
of the Dead 2: Contagium" is a solid entry into the zombie
movie genre. It's certainly not all it could have been, but what
was there was definitely worth watching. With a few changes, it
could have been the best zombie movie since the original "Dawn
of the Dead" hit. But I can definitely recommend seeing it
as it is.
of the Dead 2: Contagium
by James Dudelson, Ana Clavell
by Ana Clavell
Laurie Maria Baranyay, Simon Burzynski, Samantha Clarke, Mike Dalager
by James Dudelson
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