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Film Review: The Plague 2: Biohazard Blood (2017)

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SYNOPSIS:

After Tom’s and Jack’s death, Becky and Jill continue their journey in the zombie apocalypse. Their goal is only to survive, until they see the mysterious signs for a sanctuary.

REVIEW:

There are a lot of responsibilities that a filmmaker takes on when they venture into the wild world of sequels. We don’t really expect it to be better than the first film (okay, Godfather 2 and The Empire Strikes Back are pretty damn good, and so is Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), but we do expect at least a little bit from the next chapter. We hope that it moves the story forward, at least a little bit, rather than just rehashing the same story with different characters (or the same story with the same characters… I’m looking your way, Return of the Living Dead 2). Then again, the Friday the 13th series has been successful and entertaining while essentially giving the same story over and over, just with different kills and different boobs. We’ll at least expect new and improved enemies then, right? Or a new character(s) to keep us excited about the story. Dawn of the Dead and Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors are examples of films that do well in this category. Then again, maybe if we just send the killer into space, or the ghetto, or back in time, everything will work out just fine. Lucky for us, when Emir Skalonja decided to follow up his 2016 zombie film, The Plague, he opted to take what he had established and continue it directly with The Plague 2: Biohazard Blood.

We open with a reminder of what happened in part one: about six and a half minutes of flashbacks quickly summarizing the first film. If you’re watching these back to back, which I highly recommend (they’re each a little short of 90 minutes, so combined we’re still talking shorter than one of these long, CGI-fest superhero movies), you can skip forward, as there’s nothing new in there. If you’ve never seen part one, the brief summary is almost enough to catch you up. Then we get to the new stuff, and again follow Jill (Devon Metzger) and Becky (Nicole Skalonja) as they trek onward in hopes of finding even a sliver of hope. (*Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t seen part one, some of this will give away plot points.) Their loved ones, Jack and Tom, are dead, they are finding more zombies and corpses along the way than survivors, and they’re getting tired. Then they hear about a “safe zone” where survivors are meeting up and working together against the undead, and so they set out to see if the rumors are true. But like they always say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Meanwhile, we see another side of the story, and meet a whole bunch of new characters. We first meet Jim (Damien Keeton) and his young daughter Alissa (Amira Keeton) as they are running through the woods. You might assume that they are trying to escape a horde of the undead, but not so this time around. We also meet Dermot (Michael Balch) and his group of survivors. They’ve managed to find a large, fortified building and are in process of fixing it up to accommodate more survivors. They have even been so kind as to put out word that all non-zombies are welcome, going so far as to paint arrows on trees to help people find them easier. Unfortunately, at least some of them might have more in common with Major Henry West (28 Days Later…) or The Governor (The Walking Dead) than our survivors would prefer.

With The Plague 2: Biohazard Blood, Emir Skalonja brings his characters into the full-on zombie takeover. This film delivers more of the undead preying on the living, more blood and gore, and lots more action. We get to continue following characters that we became attached to and rooted for in the first film as they find themselves up against a new enemy in addition to the old ones. What’s nice is that Jill and Becky, aside from Jill’s new hair color (which, if you listened carefully in part one, said she wanted to do), are the same characters. They do what we’d expect them to, as opposed to changing drastically or having different personalities to fit in with the new storyline. Credit to the writing of Skalonja, not to mention the portrayal by the actresses, for staying consistent when it would have been easy not to.

The Plague 2: Biohazard Blood is a fun, indie zombie movie with improved effects and triple the intensity and action of its predecessor. Again, filmmaker Emir Skalonja is able to make the most of a very limited budget, putting together a successful film that delivers not only some good kills (both zombie and human) but also, like the first one, has a bit of social commentary to it. And there is without a doubt room for more story in the future; I don’t know what the director’s plans are, as he is an extremely busy guy, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another sequel in the near future. In fact, I really hope there is a part three in the works – the first two have been enjoyable films, and I don’t see any reason why Becky, Jill, and the zombies shouldn’t find a way to battle in space.

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