Aka Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead
Directors: Luca Boni, Marco Ristori
Writers: Luca Boni, Marco Ristori
Stars: Andrew Harwood Mills, Dan van Husen, Aaron Stielstra
During the course of World War 2, about 18 million people fought in the assorted branches of the German army. If you believe the secret history of the world as delineated by low budget genre cinema, then just about every one of these unfortunate soldiers was turned into a zombie before the conflict reached its end. Nazi zombies, it has to be said, have now ascended to become the second most boring trope of the modern day horror film (although they still have some distance to go before they manage to reach the heights of tedium which is the found footage film).
Reich of the Dead is an Italian take on the format directed by zombie specialists Luca Boni & Marco Ristori (their previous credits include Eaters and Zombie Massacre, to which this is sometimes marketed as a sequel despite having nothing to do with it at all). The narrative, such as it is, involves a small squad of allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines who stumble across a deserted hospital, in which they take refuge hoping to avoid the assorted SS units on their tail. Unfortunately, the place turns out to be full of the living dead, the result of horrible experiments conducted by Doctor Mengele (Dan Van Husen). And so on and so on.
This is desperate stuff, on the whole. The script is simplistic to the point of idiocy and frequently borders on the ridiculous (not least when a completely inexplicable female protagonist (Lucy Drive) turns up for neither rhyme nor reason). The dialogue is stilted, the characters unconvincing and the whole thing so profoundly unoriginal that it’s hard to raise any kind of interest in the events that are occurring on the screen. The acting is basic, with the possible exception of Andrew Harwood Mills (who was also in War Games (2011), featuring a selection of accents that seem to change within a single line of dialogue.
Boni and Ristori have to be applauded for their dedication to the cause: they’re making films that actually get finished, get released and somehow make a little bit of money. And, in their defense, the direction isn’t bad; it all looks decent enough and they obviously know how to use a camera. But maybe they should look at finding another collaborator, a writer who has some decent ideas… because with scripts as bad as this they simply haven’t got a chance.