The sequel to the outstanding Zombi (Zombie flesh eaters) also directed by Lucio Fulci was this going to be a worthy sequel or a cheaply made cash-in?
It’s a bit of both actually (that probably won’t surprise you!).
The films plot is not very original or complex. A virus is stolen from a military test facility on an island one thing leads to another and the virus is released into the atmosphere and contaminates the surrounding area turning everyone into… Zombies!
The plot follows a groups of 3 soldiers as they struggle to survive against the flesh eating hordes linking up and loosing various ‘lucky;’ survivors. As the military attempted to cover up and ‘fix’ the situation eventually the group are stuck with zombies on one side and trigger happy soldiers on the other. Balls!
Now I am going to admit, that despite my love for films such as this I actually had to watch this twice after me and J actually gave up on it the first time, but having borrowed it from the Hironator for around 6 months I thought it prudent to actually watch it before giving it back. I’m glad I did cause whilst it’s not great it’s not shit by any standards.
What put me off initially (and to some extent I never made my peace with) is that the zombies in this film can both run and even talk; the heresy, tut tut Mr Fulci.
I guess that as with Romero’s Night and Dawn of the dead, on which Fulci themed his ‘Zombi’ series, the first was slightly slower paced and subtle whereas the second ‘Dawn’ was slightly more action orientated. The same is true of ZFE2. This is both a positive and a negative point of the film. Positive in the fact that the film is never really boring, and that lets be honest if he hadn’t changed it a little it would be pretty much the same as the first but negative because it doesn’t feel as gory or as brutal.
As it’s a Fulci film there is some gore (thank god - I thought he had proper sold out). The gore actually is quite strong and the effects look as good as ever. There are many scenes, but some particularly memorable ones include a woman getting her legs torn off and various head impalements. The problem is, that everything is happening so fast and frequent that they fail to make as much as an impression as they could do. From this point of view, it’s nicely gory but perhaps not as good as the first in this context.
What really lets this film down is that, as the zombies can now run and grapple, a lot of the fight scenes tend to look like ‘stage combat’ practice sessions, and it gets a bit silly in the end. It’s a little inconsistent in that sometimes someone can be cornered and WWE their way out and others they get torn to shreds. Naturally too, the version we get in the UK, although uncut, is horribly dubbed and this does not help things.
Overall ZFE2 is pretty much what you would expect. Naturally it’s a cash-in but with a plot so thin it could be so much worse. Thankfully Fulci has some respect for himself and the little detailed and some pretty good gore carry this film through. It’s not a patch on the original but taken by for its own merits it’s not a bad film and worthy of a watch or two.