Oct 10, 2014

Review: World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries (2011)

Somehow, terrible British zombie film The Zombie Diaries got the green light for a sequel. Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates return to the helm, but for what I'm not quite sure. Is there really anyone asking for a second helping of bad acting and some of the most boring zombies to grace the screen?

I suppose I'm being harsh here. I mean maybe Bartlett and Gates have learned from their mistakes. Maybe they've learned how to properly take advantage of doing a movie in found footage style and maybe they've been able to get an injection of funds to cast some better actors as well as a proper makeup specialist to make those zombies at least a little more convincing. Let's hope the dialogue is a bit better too.


Genre: action, horror, sci-fi
Directed by: Michael Bartlett, Kevin Gates
Produced by: Rob Weston, Jonnie Hurn, Travis Stevens
Written by: Kevin Gates
Music by: Pete Renton
Running time: 88 minutes
Production company: Bleeding Edge Films, Metrodome Distribution, Off World Films, etc.
Distributed by: Blue Sky Media, Dimension Films, Metrodome Distribution, etc.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Philip Brodie, Alix Wilton Regan, Rob Oldfield, Vicky Araico, Toby Bowman, Okorie Chukwu, Russell Jones, Hiram Bleetman, Josh Myers, Marshall Griffin, Toby Nicholas, Rufus Graham, Craig Stovin, Criselda Cabitac, Aj Williams



It's been three months since the world was first hit by a mysterious virus that turns people into walking dead corpses with a hunger for living flesh. The UK has been reduced to small groups of people fighting for survival, even against each other. One of those groups is a military outpost that has managed to stave off the never ending stream of zombies. Disaster strikes one night and the camp is quickly overtaken, leaving Maddox (Philip Brodie), Leeann (Alix Wilton Regan), Jonesy (Rob Oldfield) and two more soldiers as the only survivors.


It doesn't take long to realize that Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates have not improved their zombies at all. They're the slow-moving type that look like regular people hastily covered up with bits of makeup. As a viewer you never feel tense when they're around and it doesn't really look like the actors do a very good job at appearing to be scared of them either. As a zombie movie, World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries falls flat. There's nothing good about the zombies in this movie and they don't bring anything new into the equation.

Besides zombies, other humans are a threat as well. We get treated to a group of comically evil bandits that show off their inability to act in any sort of convincing manner. Initially especially, since they do sort of get better later on. At first you'd think that our heroes are mixing it up with some clowns that probably don't have much in terms of brains. They have no motivation to speak of and are just there to be bullies pretty much.

World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries is also a found footage movie like its predecessor but does an even worse job at it. The whole effort feels unnatural and distracting actually. The entire movie is even interspersed with flashbacks which goes against the entire point of found footage. I guess I'm a purist or whatever, but a found footage movie is supposed to be like someone has found a really scary tape and is nice enough to let you see it. That's not what WotD: TZD is at all.That's not to mention that there's also score and a complete style shift at the end that terminates the found footage style and films the scene as a traditional movie. 

You also have to wonder why Jonesy is able to film everything that he does. During fighting scenes with his superior close by, why isn't he firing a gun as well? Why isn't his superior getting on his case? Why doesn't he shoot a gun at all during the whole movie? Why isn't he raising a hand to help his friends who are in life threatening situations? It's honestly like that story I heard where someone had a car accident and was burning alive in their car while a bystander just filmed the whole thing. 

The film just does a bad job at explaining why Jonesy is documenting everything and why everyone is letting him do so. It seems to me that if I were in a group with him, I'd yank that camera out of his hands and give him a gun. A better way to have done this would be to have a civilian who gets mixed up in the military outpost be that person filming everything. Maybe they don't trust him/her or something so they're too afraid to give him a gun. Anything!

The Zombie Diaries is just a little bit better than its sequel only because of its promising beginning. It also handles the found footage style a little but better, but that's not so difficult when World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries botches things up so severely. There are zero scares throughout its entire 88 minutes that at least is more like 80 minutes thankfully. Nothing has improved and all I can say is that I hope this puts an end to any more sequels to this series. 



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