Cast: Luke Kenny, Kirti Kulhari, Ashwin Mushran, Benjamin Gilani
Directors: Devaki Singh, Luke Kenny
Being a zombie means reaching a state where the sub-conscious starts ruling the body in a way in which the living being turns into a walking dead. The body doesn't die which gives weapons like gun, dagger and sometimes tanks a chance to kill the zombie.
Luke Kenny and Devaki Singh's 'Rise of the Zombie' accepts the universal meaning of being a zombie but they have Indianised the concept.
Neil Parker (Luke Kenny) is a passionate wildlife photographer who doesn't know how to strike a balance between his personal and professional life. As expected, it starts taking a toll on his romantic relationship with Vinny (Kirti), his father (Benjamin Gilani) feels his indifference towards Neil has prompted the situation. The only person who has accepted Neil in his original form is his friend Anish (Ashwin Mushran).
One day, after getting too much irritated with Neil's attitude towards a stable life, Vinny decides to move on in life. A devastated soul, Neil goes back to his wildlife photography in the Kumaon region where his fate is going to be re-written.
Hollywood zombie films follow a pattern and they don't delve much into the origin of zombies. Films such as 'Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things' and 'Plague of the Zombies' have given a description of the possible germination of the idea but Indian films have shied away from any such things in the past.
'Rise of the Zombie' is not the first Indian film to feature zombies but we as a film watching community have always remained confused about the difference between zombies and vampires. The popular Indian horror filmmakers followed the trend of Dracula style monsters who wouldn't be killed. In due course of time, religious symbols evolved as weapons of mass destruction against lifeless corpses, but somehow we refrained from giving zombies a different identity than usual ghost in our typical 'bhoot-pret wale films'.
'Rise of the Zombie' is new in this regard as it tries to give zombies uniqueness in the Indian context but some loopholes in screenplay hinder the story from being fluid. The makers don't give answers to questions like 'why nobody searched the missing girl,' 'why didn't Neil leave a telephonic message,' 'why didn't Neil return after being seriously ill,' etc etc...
Apart from this, 'Rise of the Zombie' has the potential to appear monotonous as things become repetitive in the second half, and here the directors lose the grip on the premise they set in the first half. The viewer's first encounter with the jungle is thrilling but then the story restricts itself from piercing deep into it.
The narrative strategy is full of split flashbacks and they work well, especially when a zombie is in the making. This linearity helps the drama but unfortunately there is no one to help Luke, who is the only person responsible to take the story forward. His acting is satisfactory, in fact he is the one who holds the story from going wayward, but recurring of the events hampers the film's chances. Luke should be credited for making the film watchable even when an incredibly hot lady is not on the hunting spree.
The crudeness of gore hasn't been compromised and here the film surpasses most of its predecessors. There are scenes where weak hearts would prefer to go to the restroom.
'Rise of the Zombie' needed more attention in the screenplay department because the tempo remains constant throughout the film. It becomes glaring when we can more or less predict the climax.
'Rise of the Zombie' could have become a better film if the makers would have devised a way of showing a connection between the gloomy environment of the mountains and the mystical origin of the zombie, still it has moments where the hard labour on part of the crew is visible.
Watch 'Rise of the Zombie' if you are a die hard zombie fan and possess an appetite for blood and gore.
Rating: 2 out of 5.