I’ve always loved Romero’s zombie films (see my George Romero Zombie Legacy post
) long before the recent Zombie boom, as I call it. The emptiness, the foreboding atmosphere the beat of the dull tones of the score, the lumbering dead.
I missed that cult feel that Romero’s zombie incarnations had. I’m not a big fan of jokes and references that DTV
zombie films make to Romero’s earlier Dead films or films like Return of the Living Dead (1985) and Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead (1992). Each to their own. That said I enjoyed Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004). Resident Evil were enjoyable enough and follow ups passable (see my Resident Dead blog
So what I’ve laid out below are my thoughts on some of the virus flicks, [Rec] (2007), 28 Days Later… (2002) etc and alternative zombie films, that include likes of Cemetery Man (1994) and Zombie Creeping Flesh (1980) that I rate both good and bad.
Will I ever find that old flame for zombies, I’m not sure – Dead Pulsemy zombie novel is out now, and stays true to Romero. It’s feedback may ignite that lost spark, or Romero may still pull that rabbit out of the hat… In the meantime…World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 (2011)
A surviving band of UK soldiers and civilians try to survive the flesh- eating living dead.
Opening with a creepy don’t go out there moment – followed by a shock jump scare World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 is off to a good start despite the laps in logic of the mother holding the camera.
Zombies in the shadows, zombies in night-vision, men in white bio-hazard suits, soldiers on the move going from one death trap from the other. Kevin Gates dialogue is written well but you can’t hep feel that the characters wouldn’t insist on using the military language under the circumstances. In addition, there’s a few lines that feel they’ve been lifted right of from Saving Private Ryan or the Dawn of the Dead remake.
Like its predecessor most of the performances are naturalistic which adds to the tension and believability. Philip Brodie as Maddox is particularly notable and Alix Wilton stands out as Leeann.
There’s Zombie assaults, rape and cleansing kills – it puts the dark side of humanity on display. It’s grim. With the shaky camera, POV galore you can’t but help think directors Michael Bartlett and Gates should have tried and shoot it in a conventual manner. As one of the characters state, “stop f*cking filming and help me.” Bartlett, Gates and cinematographer George Carpenter shine late in the closing when the film switches to the traditional style of filming.
The zombies/ infected are slow and lurking which gives it a foreboding air. This coupled with Pete Renton’s melodic subtle score and the sound effects of whistling wind, eerie moans and groans of the dead add to the creepy experience.
Overall, it’s worth watching especially if you liked the first.
Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010)
An everyday man Michael is forced to take refuge with a teenage a boy in a room of a flat in Germany after a viral infection spreads rapidly turning the citizens into crazed zombie-like people.
The title Rammbock probably refers to the battering ram that features briefly in one scene. Spain had REC, France Le Horde and UK 28 Days Later – this is a German take on a virus epidemic in which we see the population of Berlin turn rabid.
There’s a crazy old woman that goes nuts within a similar setting as REC. Just as everything seems all to familiar director Marvin Kren throws in a little curve ball, a suicide, a new character or adds a little relationship drama amongst the mayhem to keep things on track.
However, even with it’s very short running time there’s a too much shaky camera work, this aside the performances and gritty look of the characters feel authentic. Actor Michael Fuith gives a first rate anti- gloss performance which complements the on location shoot. The flats looking down onto one courtyard take a leaf from Hitchcock’s very own Rear Window.The music has a dream like melodic quality reminiscent of 28 Days Later and is used sparingly.
When Benjamin Hessler screenplay moves from the one room to another there is some fine suspense created. Although how they repel the infected in closing act is a little anticlimactic – yet it’s quickly redeemed by an effective a poignant closing.
Overall, it’s grim grey and efficiently made but with the virus angle already feeling worn you may find yourself wanting to see a film with some shambling dead instead.
The Dead (2010)
The dead are returning to life and attacking the living. After surviving a plane crash American Air Force Engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy teams up with a local army Sgt. Daniel Dembele and they try to stay alive in dead infested war-torn Africa.
The zombie market has been saturated with countless sub-par films. There have been a few welcomed additions- the Dawn of the Dead remake, cross genre Australian film Undead, 28 Days virus flicks, comedies including Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and actioner Le Horde. I personally I like sober zombie films and The Dead is probably the most grounded undead film since Romero’s original trilogy. Director and writer team Howard and Jonathan Ford manage to give their zombie offering scope, emotion and anxiety that arguably lacked in Land and Survival of the Dead respectively.
With the competent naturalistic visual style reminiscent of Monsters, less is also more in The Dead’s case. Imran Ahmad’s music score complements the on screen deeds and while not particularly memorable it is subtle and effective enough.
The African setting is a welcomed change, the on location shoot gives it an eerie real feel. The costume design appears authentic. Dan Rickard’s special effects and Max Van De Banks’ makeup are first rate, bones sticking out of legs, wounds, bites and the dead getting hit and shot at are executed perfectly. The traditional shambling sluggish dead are creepy enough and retain an air of menace.
Due to the constraints of the story there’s little dialogue. That said, what there is rings true and the characters are given time to develop. The acting all round is of a high standard, with fitting performances from both Rob Freeman and Prince David Oseia.
My only grumble is that there’s been so many zombie films lately it mars the freshness that The Dead delivers. Intentional or unintentional as with Romero’s films there is indeed a social commentary running though The Dead and the African setting is debatably no accident. The Dead may lack comradely wordplay but it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Overall, The Dead gives the viewer a much needed solid piece of realistic zombie entertainment. Recommend.
Nightmare City (Incubo Sulla Cittá Contaminata) (1980)
On an airfield a plane’s door opens and bloodthirsty zombies burst out and begin to overrun the city. TV news reporter Dean Miller must find his wife and escape the city’s crazed killers. Nightmare City (Incubo Sulla Cittá Contaminata)is a crude mix of the Crazies, Let Sleeping Corpse Lie to name a few. It also has a slight ambiance of Shivers and Rabid.
As you’d expect it’s suffers from the failings of most Italian gore pictures of the time, bad dialogue etc. Nightmare City is certainly a product of its time. Nevertheless, while the makeup is terrible, the leads are more than effective. Umberto Lenzi’s camera work, direction and starkness of the city setting are appealing. It’s fast paced – packed with comic –like violence of stabbings, biting, hacking and shootings as the zombie maniacs cause blood soaked havoc in the city and surrounding areas.
The ending twist is quiet refreshing and although a cliché you don’t see the device used these days. While not a zombie film in the truest sense, they move fast, can weld machetes and fire guns it’s a competent splatter film that is far better constructed and executed than Bruno Mattei’s Zombie Creeping Flesh (1980) made the same year.
Overall, it’s one of the better trash horrors out there.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
George A. Romero has readily admitted that Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls influenced in his making of Night Of The Living Dead (NOTLD). For me, they’re both low budget, both filmed in black and white and both are chilling creepy in places.
Both went onto be get ‘lost’ but unlike Carnival of Souls, NOLD was haled by critics abroad, who saw it not just as another horror movie, but a film that reflects society. Romero has gone on to define a genre, a feat that very few have accomplished. Many films have been influenced and have imitated George’s creation but few successfully.
NOLD is seeped in history and has become as intriguing as the chiller its self. There’s really not too much to comment on that hasn’t already been said before. The dead are played mindlessly well. Duane Jones is a fantastic lead actor and stands out, an actor ahead of his time but the others are less convincing. The stock music is bold, and the sound is an adequate mix but all these things with their faults add to the charm of this little horror classic.
It’s dark, gloomy and entertaining but more importantly it was a turning point in horror history.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
Dawn of the dead, there’s loads of reviews on the net. I’ll start with the bad, make-up consistency, poorly edited, poor sound, intrusive score music and a pie fight. Sounds horrid eh? Like a bad B-movie? Well Dawn of the Dead through all it’s faults is still a classic sub-genre film. I wont go into all the under tones, subtext of consumerism, mass hysteria, social commentary and satire yada, yada.
This is possibly George A. Romero’s most balanced and satisfying of all his zombie films. What it boils down to is film has dated. Even so, the script is very well written and the film oozes atmosphere, the emptiness, notably the basement, and airfield scenes.
Tom Savini provides some fantastic gore effects, many of which stand up effectively today. While it’s gory, bloody, violent and disturbing, I would think today’s film viewer has hardened up to it, but this is not fault of the film, it is an amazing product of it’s time.
Many horror buffs think it’s overrated, but it’s more that just a straight horror, the character interaction, even down to the priest speech is understated. Should they have had a bigger budget and more time, maybe the faults I mentioned wouldn’t have been made. However, made they were and Dawn of the Dead is still the finest zombie film to date, a must see.
DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)
A small group of military officers and scientists reach breaking point in the confines of a bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.
The first two scenes set precedence that the rest of the film can’t equal. The jumpy dream sequence is followed by and eerie deserted city during the day that soon comes to ‘life’ with the walking dead. The city scene creates tension, the howling wind and echoing voices.
Lori Cardille acting is excellent as Sarah, as too is Terry Alexander, as realist pilot, John. Jarlath Conroy is the alcoholic radioman William McDermott, however, after this strong introduction and the movie looses it lustre and wider audience as it goes into the underground bunker.
From here on in, we’re treated with a great performance from Sherman Howard as the ‘thinking’ zombie Bub and a fantastic monologue from Alexander, this is where the film finds it feet. There are fantastic special effects by Tom Savini, who fine-tunes what he did in Dawn’ and adds some more gore into the mix. Over the years the score by John Harrison has really grown on me and given the film a memorable lost hope feel.
There are other fine moments in Romero’s script, Miguel Salazar’s break down, Sarah’s struggle and some memorable on liners mostly from Richard Liberty’s Logan and Joseph Pilato’s Rhodes. However, what lets this film down slightly is some uneven acting. That said, John Amplas underrated and overlooked subtle performance as Dr.Fisher is a hidden gem and Johns monologue at the ‘Ritz’ is Oscar worthy.
Day of the dead is a tight zombie film, and debatably a classic but even if you disagree it’s worthy enough to enjoy time and time again.
LAND OF THE DEAD (2005)
Panned by fans and critics, I feel Romero’s grander scale zombie instalment has got a rough ride. It’s true it lacked that roughness of the previous zombie outbreaks, I’m talking about zombie grit but truth be known it was only really Dawn that had this (as it was a 70’s product film of it’s time). That said, Diary’s shaky cam didn’t do the job either.
What Land’ does have is an ominous tone, story and great performances notably from Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper, who delivers some great one liners. The music score is fitting. In honesty aside from some CGI blood there’s nothing really wrong with George A. Romero’s movie. Although some of the themes, like ‘putting out the trash’ could have been explored there’s some visual striking set pieces, great zombie ideas and more.
Either way George can’t win, every time he panders to ‘fans’ whims he shoots himself in the foot. Let the guy just make his movies, watch Land’, it’s dead good.
DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007)
Actress Michelle Morgan, an Eliza-Dushku-a-like thankfully holds this film together. It was said to be a George A. Romero goes back to basics after the studio look of Land of the Dead. However, the filming while commendable is unnecessarily complicated as the story is told through the lens of a cameras (but that’s been done to death).
My gut feeling is that if this film were to have been filmed in the ‘traditional’ manner with some tweaks on the dialogue, it may well have been more satisfying as the characters journey is quiet interesting. The effects are also executed sleekly and the acting, bar a few dodgy moments, is above average for this type of horror.
It tries to be to clever for it’s own good, all in all watchable zombie film but lacks Romero’s secret magic formula.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
Zombie heads on sticks, underwater zombies, zombie children, soldiers, horse back zombie, Irish accents, yeap, is it’s Romero’s latest dead flick. In George A. Romero’s 2009 zombie instalment there is anisland off the coast of North America where local residents try tocontrol and fight a zombie epidemic.
The ferry scene covers a lot of exposition ground and there’s a flash back to diary. One jumpy scene stands out but the whole story feels like a forced rehash of ‘For A Few Dollar More’ or ‘Last man Standing’with a few zombies thrown in. Every living character is borderline stereotype, there’s no one to root for, the dead are not menacing and just set up to be killed (on occasion with poorly executed CGI).
The acting is a lot better than in Day, the script is not bad, however,there’s a little too much humour in it for my liking but there are plenty of rotten zombies. The female characters are underdeveloped but the actresses do their best. Athena Karkanis rightly grabs some attention. Adam Swica’s cinematography deserves a mention great Autumn-like backdrops and moonlit sky’s. Romero’s direction is fine as too is the editing, with plenty of cuts and gone is the shaky point of view of Diary.
It’s a shame that George hasn’t found that balanced zombie diet of Dawn’s eerie, foreboding and empty feel…
Dead and Buried (1981)
There are a handful of horror films that I can say are underrated and exude atmosphere, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) Dead People (1973) and Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) rank as some unsung cult sleepers. Dead and Buried while better known sits fittingly with the above for sheer eeriness, as director Gary Sherman takes you to the odd, clicky, fishing town of Potters Bluff where visiting tourists and passer through are killed only for their corpses to be brought back to life to serve the town.
Reminiscent of Jaws 2 (no one believes the sheriff), The Wickerman (1973) (plotting towns people) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (they are not who they clam to be) to name a few, Dead and Buried still manages to remain fresh and intriguing until the shocking end.
James Farentino wonderfully plays sheriff Dan Gillis who must solve the case and wrap up the mystery, dynamic Melody Anderson is perfect as his wife. Jack Albertson gives a fine performance as the mortician and Robert Englund has a small role, the rest of the cast are all on horror form with some quirky small town characters.
Dead and Buried is only hankered by some choppy editing and despite the amount of writers on board, Sherman’s well crafted film benefits from ‘too many fingers in the pie’, including Alien scribe Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The film is enhanced from a shot on location look which adds to the genuine creepiness of the goings ons and Joe Renzetti’s music is fitting. There’s some notable blood and gore effects by the late great Stan Winston which even though are a by product of the story they are excellently executed.
Overall, a must see excellent underrated chiller.
Zombie Flesheaters (1979) a.ka. Zombi 2
After an incident in New York bay a reporter and a scientist’s daughter travel to an Island aided by two locals. However, the dead are returning to life on the Island… The zombies long for human flesh and the pair find themselves in hopeless situation.
Not to be confused with Bruno Mattei’s Zombie Creeping Flesh (1980) (a.k.a Virus, Hell of the Living Dead to name a few) Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesheaters (1979) is far superior. Written prior to Dawn of the Dead (a.ka. Zombi) most horror fans are aware that the name Flesheaters was changed to Zombi 2 and a new ending was tagged on to cash in on Romero success. You could argue that the talked about soundtrack is as intrusive as Dawn of the Dead music themes and that the eye scene is better than Argento’s vocational displays.
Comparisons to other movies aside Zombie Flesheaters (1979) suffers from Lucio Fulci’s own trappings – including badly written dialogue, choppy editing and bad dubbing. That said, there are very few directors that capture atmosphere you can taste. Fulci’s cinematic look is heightened by Giorgio Cascio and Fabio Frizzi’s excellent eerie and foreboding score.
The cast are almost sufficient, Tisa Farrow and Ian McCulloch are adequate, note worthy is Richard Johnson as Dr. David Menard. Notorious for the shark/zombie scene Flesheaters is so much more, Fulci creates some unmatched ambiance, the visuals are as lingering as the dead, dusty paths, an old Spanish cemetery, darkness lit up by Molotov cocktails and so on.
Zombi 3 (1988) a.k.a Zombie Flesheaters 2
Not really linked to its predecessor zombi 2, a virus outbreak (similar to Return of the Living Dead) causes the dead to rise and the military must stop the contaminated. Trapped in the zone are a few soldiers and civilians that must fight to survive.
Although billed as directed by Italian directing maestro Lucio Fulci who supposedly shot approximately 70 minutes of footage, second unit director Bruno Mattei and writer Claudio Fragasso took over and only used 50 minutes of Fulci’s footage. On viewing this lovable travesty it is very debatable how much of Fulic’s footage really appears. There only appears smudging of the Italians magic as it feels more like Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead/Night of the Zombies/Zombie Creeping Flesh.
Like its follow up, zombi 4 there’s talking zombies, jumping undead and zombies that want to fight rather than attack and eat flesh. Also there’s two crazy standout scenes, a flying head and a baby zombie birth. It may all sound like fun but it’s zombie scenes with the civilians and regular soldiers fighting the government’s hazardous white suit army that stand out, sadly not the wacky ones.
The zombie gore, blood, make-up and effects are inconsistent, sometimes effective and at other time revealing poor. There’s overuse of a fog machine, laughable dialogue especially from the scientists and military personnel. The synthesised soundtrack is great but like the broadcasting DJ ill-fitting at times. As a sequel to Zombie Flesheaters it’s below average, meandering from one silly setup to the next.
Zombi 3/Zombie Flesheaters 2 at times is more virus flick, imitating and sharing more with The Crazies or Nightmare City than Fulics cult film Zombi 2.
Zombi 4 : After Death (1989) a.k.a Zombie Flesheaters 3
A woman inadvertently goes back to a zombie infested island where her parents were killed.
Writer /director Claudio Fragasso abysmal sequel has very little link to Fulci’s Zombi. Fragasso’s film seems predominantly like Mattei’s Virus/ Hell of the living Dead / Night of the Zombies (1980). Where as Night of the Zombies was a Dawn of the Dead wannabe, a bad cheese festival of zombie nonsense, it didn’t take it self serious, but this awful film does.
While the phrase so bad it’s good can be be applied to Night of the Zombies, Zombi 4 is plain bad with very few, if any redeeming features. There’s awfully executed effects, shoddy lighting, sub-par directing, illogical storytelling and coupled with daft exposition dialogue in every scene it’s simply cheap but not cheerful. Talking zombies, guns, candles falling over, jumping undead add up to very little.
The 80’s rock soundtrack of is probably the only redeeming feature, which is also terrible and uninspiring. As another cash-in follow up to Zombie Flesheaters it’s more than disappointing.
The Zombie Diaries (2006)
A documentary film crew begin to make a movie about a virus. Getting caught up in the outbreak they have to survive and flee the infected.
More human, and character driven than Diary of the Dead (2007) this little Brit flick, is competently written and directed by Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates. Using the camera’s point of view (before the aforementioned Romero outing) at times creating a real ominous atmosphere.
The acting varies, some actors are more naturalistic than others, Eastender’s own Dr. Legg appears! The make-up and blood is superb but what makes this zombie film stand out from most is that at times the story is shocking and questions human moral’s. Asking are we all capable of being mindless killing machines.
The Zombie Diaries is a nicely executed low budget film, that doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. Worthy of your time if you enjoyed Autumn (2009) and POV films.
The Horde (2009)
The premise of the Horde is that a group of police go to take down a Nigerian drug cartel after one of their own is killed, however, there is a zombie outbreak and the city becomes under siege. Trapped in a block of flats cops and crooks must assist each other to survive.
Zombies recently have been mixed productions, excluding virus or affective flicks, 28 days Later, Crazies, and Rec. They have been the butt end of successful comedies (Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead), disappointing recent offerings from the genres defining creator Romero and endless low budgeters, including the over praised Colin.
Borrowing from the best and despite some unnecessary choppy editing and the racial tone of Arnaud Bordas screenplay it has many redeeming features, the story, issues of trust and loyalty play out nicely. The acting is excellent from the supporting cast, Eriq Ebouaney and Claude Perron stand out.
Thankfully, Horde is a rounded and entertaining piece of cinema, taking the subject matter violently seriously. It’s a big budget well acted French flick, plenty of nasty zombies, adequate developed characters, guns and gore. It’s finely directed by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher but note worthy is the lighting. The perfect eerie, ominous look and feel, the dimly lit corridors and well dressed sets. It’s a very gloomy, gory film, this coupled with Christopher Lennertz’s score and some sound effects deliver lots of scares.
Notwithstanding subtitles and/or dubbed voices, “La horde” is not just one of the best dead films in the last twenty years, but also possibly has the most fitting bleak endings of a zombie film to date.
A Spanish female TV reporter, Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Manu (Ferran Terraza) cover the night-shift at the local fire-station but thing goes awry when they go on a call to a building that becomes quarantined.
Taking style of The Blair Witch Project (1999) to a more fitting effective and aesthetics level and inspiring big budgeter Cloverfield (2008), Rec is creatively directed/written by Jaume Balagueró and Luis Berdejo.
The film is seen purely from the point of view of the cameras and at times the shock factor is high. The film is packed with excellent practical effects, great sound and first rate makeup. This with the on location setting and lighting create and eerie atmosphere.
The acting is superb (and the unnecessary remake Quarantine (2008) is pale in comparison) as Manuela leads a cast of authentic looking firemen into a building as the infection spreads making it’s victims zombie-like. The supporting cast of occupants are equally as good, the acting is superb especially in the smaller quieter segments as they are interviewed by Ángela’s character and when they find out they are trapped in the building.
The action, suspense and fear builds up to a crescendo as the truth of the outbreak is revealed. With some jump scares and a surprise ending it’s a perfect horror ride.
Rec 2 (2009)
Continuing right where Rec (2007) left off, a SWAT team outfitted with video cameras are sent into a virus infected quarantined apartment to assist in retrieving some blood samples.
The same writer/directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza are back on board with an extra writer Manu Díez in the sequel to the excellent Spanish horror flick. It’s more of the same, dark corridors, frantic Point of View camera work, blood gore and mayhem.
Rec 2 wastes no time of getting back into the building where the out-break started. It is an entertaining horror piece as the SWAT team are picked off one by one, but it lacks the character development of the first and feels more of a ride than gripping. That said, the acting is first rate, Jonathan Mellor’s Dr. Owen is notable and Manuela Velasco returns.
There’s some clever story telling that inter-loops the goings on and also links it to the first Rec. However, there is less focus on the virus/zombie and the screen-play centres on a more biblical and parasite theme which takes the story in new directions. Still, it’s just as fresh and a chilling as Rec and Rec 2 comes full circle in the closing shots.
Overall a great entry that will inevitably spawn a third.
28 Day Later (2002)
Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later is the best mindless human being film since Romero’s zombie movies. It’s an exceptional horror film that follows a handful of survivors after an incurable virus spreads throughout the UK.
From the opening frantic scene that is quickly followed by the quiet empty deserted streets of London, you know your watching something different and fresh. Without detriment to the story there’s lots of gore and bloodshed. However, there’s also a lot of psychological terror happening and subtle character touches that make you feel for these people.
Outstanding writing by Alex Garland and a pulsating chilling score John Murphy adds to 28’s perfect tension, atmosphere and tone. The casting by Gail Stevens is faultless, it includes Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson and Christopher Eccleston in their best roles to-date. This is director Danny Boyle’s unnerving masterpiece.
A perfect gritty horror, with a realistic scary premise. A must see.
28 Weeks Later (2007)
It’s very rare that a sequel encapsulates the look and style of the original under s different director. However, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo successful takes over the reins from Danny Boyle.
In 28 weeks the US Army secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. The story is told from Don’s (Robert Carlyle) and his children point of view, exceptionally acted by Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton giving the film a grounded personal feel and Catherine McCormack is great a part of the supporting cast.
Fresnadillo builds up the tension splendidly and keeps you on the edge to the final as the soldier played exceptionally by Jeremy Renner who tries to get the children to safety. With excellent makeup, effects, great cinematography and a pulse pumping emotional strong score by John Murphy, it’s the perfect grounded horror film.
A completely plausible worthy sequel that has possibly one of the greatest openings to horror thriller ever.
Colin is bitten by a Zombie; he dies, returning from dead and tackles
what every zombie has to deal with, the living.
A poor mans micro-budget zombie film that is less effective than the
low budgeters Autumn (2009) and Zombie Diaries (2006). Allegedly shot for £40 (even though petrol would cost more than that in UK to get to each location filmed).
Some of the make up is well executed. Alastair Kirton gives a good
zombie performance as Colin and the supporting cast are fine. Nevertheless, the filming suffers from problems of most low budget movies. That said, director/writer Marc Price does his best with what he has and credit to him for the film reaching such a wide audience.
Overall, interesting film making which tries to stir emotions for 97 minutes.
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Before Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and The Crazies, there was Dead people a.k.a Messiah of evil. Shot in 1971 the film was not released until 1973. Like H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon
and The Wicker Man (1973), weird locals are hiding a horrific secret…
In Messiah, the people of Point Dune worship the rise of a red moon as they become zombies.The storyline is disjointed, but this adds to the mystic, surreal and dreamlike quality of the film. Admittedly, there is some irregular editing and the score is very much of its time, but there’s plenty to like about it.
Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and the aforementioned clearly have taken its cue from Willard Huyck’s jumbled but effective film. Especially the scene where slinky brunette Anitra Ford is perused through a supermarket. There is also truly creepy scene again with Ford and an albino trucker, played by Bennie Robinson,you’d think he would have been in a lot more movies.
It oozes dread and suspense, it’s a chilling 70’s horror flick that despite its faults is a lot better than some of today’s so called horrors.
Big Brother UK and all international versions are a hit around the world, why? It’s hard to say. But the fact remains that it is. Love or hate Big Brother Dead Set is an official fictional incarnation directed by Charlie Brooker
. In a nut shell the story is that a zombie outbreak occurs in the outside world, but the house-mates are unaware of the chaos outside of the Big Brother House.The five part episodes ran on E4, but is better watched as a whole.
The style of the filming is similar to the virus flicks 28 days/ 28 weeks later and Dead Set could almost be seen as a companion to the two movies.Dead Set is bleak, bloody and full of irony as the wanna-be celeb’s have to fight for their lives. UK past contestants including Imogen Thomas, Ziggy Lichman and Helen Adams make brief appearances. But Davina McCall steals the show playing herself and then scarily convincingly as a member of the un-dead.
Some of the effects and action are horrifically realistic, at times real tension and emotion is built, over all it’s a great reflective piece of drama/horror/black comedy style of entertainment.
Zombie Strippers (2008)
JENNA JAMESON and Nightmare on Elm Street’s ROBERT ENGLUND,
star in ZOMBIE STRIPPERS! Where do you start with this one? I’m a B horror fan, secondly I was really looking forward to this one and of course was never expecting Oscar material. The positive, there is a good looking cast (some of who can act) the poster for the film is true Classic B horror style, great, thumbs up.
The effects are outstanding (could be where the budget went?) some are very effective and hyper realistic. Unfortunately that’s it sorry folks. I don’t think Zombie Strippers will ever have that ‘cult’ status. However, I am sure it’ll have a fan base following by gore lovers, Jameson lovers and boob lovers. Zombie strippers is not charming enough to be a Charles Band or Roger Corman B film and there really is nothing funny about zombie herpes, although I’m sure it looked hysterical to writer/Director Jay Lee when it was written.
Even with its Anti American Bush administration under tones and jibes at the superficial, the film just isn’t clever enough to make a any serious subtle points. There’s a little spoof to Resident Evil in there and other nods to zombie films but it’s not really a ‘meet the spartans‘ spoof either. It suffers from the that ‘TV look’, and is less entertaining than an episode of the A-team, season 2, episode 3.
Oh did I mention there were boobs in it and decomposing strippers too? What I’m trying to say is re-watch Show Girls and an Evil Dead, or a Living Dead film back to back, it’s far more rewarding and fun!
Zombie Creeping Flesh (1980)
Late Italian film maker Bruno Mattei directs Virus, Night of the Zombies, Hell of the Living Dead, Zombie Creeping Flesh whichever title you prefer. Something smells bad and it isn’t the rotting flesh.Watch some 80’s gore as reporter Lia Rousseau, her cameraman and Lt. Mike London with his team venture through New Guinea while attempting not to be eaten by zombies with bad makeup.
Margit Evelyn Newton is Lia, and despite her voice being out of sync, like most Italian splatter films is watchable. Note worthy is Richard Burton look-a-like José Gras a.k.a Robert O’Neil as London.
There’s plenty of badly dubbed dialogue, bad acting, bad logic, editing, stock footage, awful sound and Dawn of the Dead’s stock music. That said, it has a handful of interesting special effects and a charming nostalgic 70’s/80’s film look about it, similar to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesheaters (1979).
Zombie Creeping Flesh is a bad undead film, it’s one of the worst out there. But it’s worth watching if only to see the unnecessary scenes with the ‘commando’ in the tutu, the eyeballs part and Margit’s bizarre nude masked segment.
It’s a poor pale imitation of Fulci and Romero, for zombie gore fans only.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
You know Michael Cain once said, to paraphrase, ‘why do they always bloody remake good films, they should remake the bad ones’. Of course I agree with this, but Michael went on to star in the remake of Get Carter and Sleuth. So to follow in Michael’s foot steps and do a u turn, I’d like to state the re-imagining/remake of Dawn of the dead is a blast.
Although I love George’s original Dawn of the dead, with his traditional slow moving dead, the zombies in this remake Directed by Zack Snyder (who went on to direct 300 & Watchmen) move fast. The fast moving are like the virus infected people in 28 days/weeks later. They are just plain menacing and bloodcurdling.
Zack Snyder directs a solid cast of relatively unknowns, Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Jake Weber. The body of the story is the same as the original only this time a nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors arrive at a shopping mall for protection from the hordes of zombies that await outside.
The effects are excellent and the first 15 minutes of the film is crafted and executed to a standard that I’m sure Hitchcock would have been proud of – it’s pure tension, scares and horror.
In retrospect Dawn of the dead 2004 is probably the most underrated re-imagining/remake ever. Grab a raw steak and watch it if you don’t believe me.
is an enjoyable zombie romp road trip. It’s fun, witty and full of gags. It’s not a quaint as Shaun of the Dead or as funny but it is well written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
and expertly directed by the relatively unknown Ruben Fleischer. It has plenty of gore humour and a comical cameo by Bill Murray as himself. Woody Harrelson
is ideal as Tallahassee, the crazy twinkie
zombie killer and Jesse Eisenberg
plays the goofy teen Columbus effortlessly.
There’s really not much to dislike about the film, however, if you like your zombie films serious and menacing avoid at all costs, but if you like large budget horror comedies, Zombieland is for you.
I’ll try to keep this simple and straight to the point… Okay the the premise is not original- zombies taking over the world- but a film with zombies and aliens, sound tacky? Well, the results are impressive.This is an independent movie with quality, big budget movie results. The movie is witty, entertaining, and eerie with a seemingly original twist.
Direction is superb, sound and effects are great, a great Australian cast- the acting is not Guy Pearce or Mel Gibson but good enough, surpassing most mainstream modest budgeted horror flicks. And remember… ‘When we were young, we used to respect our parents, we didn’t eat them!’
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Before horror remakes became popular and the the term ‘reboot’ was only used for computers Tom Savini horror effects maestro directed the remake of the black & white classic Night of the Living Dead. Originally Savini worked on Dawn of the Dead and other films directed by zombie godfather George. A .Romero, his gory effects were influenced by the real life deaths he witnessed in Vietnam.
The secluded and atmospheric location works a charm and Candyman’s Tony Todd is on top form but the film is let down by some bad performances from the supporting cast, who I wont name.
Savini proves he is a competent director. He makes the wise decision to stick close to the original material giving us a pacier update, a coloured version that comes with a few welcomed tweaks to the story line. It’s worth every zombie bite.
The Living Dead (1974)
A crop dusting machine from the agricultural pest-control is emitting ultra-sonic waves that are re-animating corpses…
A lot have said this is underrated, granted it’s overlooked. It is Atmospheric with an ominous feel. It has great locations and is at times genuinely creepy. However, it’s shares more with Fulci than Romero. The acting is not aided by the bad dubbing. To its credit it has an eerie musical score by Giuliano Sorgini and a number of suspenseful sequences but it borrows many of its best sequences from Night of the Living Dead.
I watched director Jorge Grau’s offering under the title of ‘Let Sleeping Corpse Lie’ but whichever name you see the film under don’t be mistaken or mislead, it’s a solid zombie horror movie and of its time with fine cinematography from Francisco Sempere. It’s a lot better than the low budget DTV zombie films that there’s no shortage of at the moment.
Zombie-tastic! This has blood, guts, guns, women, gangsters and zombies! What more do you want. Maybe an English dubbed version?
The story is simple, jewel thieves arrange to meet a suited bunch of gangsters for their pay. Things go haywire when the meeting place turns out to be a shut down military base used to bring the dead back to life. The movie then goes into over drive when the gangsters turn up only to be greeted by flesh hungry Zombies! The fight for survival has begun as the thieves try to get out of the military base alive before the Zombies eat them!
What makes this movie better than most is it seems to have taken the best bits from other zombie/action movies and put them together well. There are too many to list but it does not detract from the flick at all. Also the movie turns from over drive to hyper drive when we find out not all zombie are the same, one is a fast moving intelligent kick ass female zombie!
The bad: The movies sexist undertones are a bit over the top, there are a few needless battles of the sexes with the woman get away driver. The good: The movie is fast paced unlike some older zombie films. Camera work and effects are good. The two leads are great, the script is witty in places, the action scenes and scenarios are entertaining. And there’s also a nice little twist.If you’re expecting Oscar material stay away!
If you’re a zombie/action fan watch this movie! Director Atsushi Muroga crazy? You decide…
A.K.A Cemetery Man (1994)
1994’s underrated zombie horror classic based on the comic Dylan Dog by Tiziano Sclavi, it stars Rupert Everett (in his best role) and enchanting Anna Falchi.
“Zombies, guns, and sex, OH MY!!!” was the tag line, and while it’s true it has those things Dellamorte Dellamore is so much more, macabre and violent, with atmosphere you can taste. Excellent music by Riccardo Biseo & Manuel De Sica and direction amazingly executed by Michele Soavi.
Spellbinding and arguably the strangest, most effective zombie film out there to-date.
Resident Evil (2002)
Lets be frank it’s a great Zombie film. Past Zombie flicks have contained a lot of bad acting with low budgets and story lines that weren’t that great.
Yeap I’d heard of the game, but this is the movie. Paul Anderson does a great job,this one he earns his pay, the empty eerie atmosphere that stays true to the game and doesn’t insult our intelligence, the cast were great and two strong female leads Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez-fantastic.
A good chunk of flesh eating entertainment-a great update and revival of zombie movies which pays homage to George A. Romero.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
After a zombie outbreak, the corporation Umbrella beings a cover up by releasing the deadly creature Nemesis.
I enjoyed its predecessor and was glad that the unjustly criticised Paul W.S. Anderson was writing the sequel. However it was just a shame that he didn’t direct the flow up. Either there was budget cut or Alexander Witt wasn’t capable of delivering the cashing-in follow-on.
Mike Epps is funny, but unnecessary comic relief and Iain Glen as the ‘evil scientist’ Dr. Isaacs gives a good performance. There is amazing stunt work, Milla again plays heroine Alice superbly and Oded Fehr is on top-form, however, there are lots of problems… The film is let down by its TV feel, the zombies are ruined by blurry manipulated camera work. Sienna Guillory is handed a dreadful script and costume. The effects and music are a mixed bag, sometimes great and at other times sadly distracting.
It’s a sci-fi with plenty of action, but Apocalypse lacks the suspense, atmosphere and finesse of the first instalment.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
As you can tell, I’m not a player of the Resident Evil games, so all the films including this 3rd instalment are non-bias. I’m not a fan of ‘super’ zombie’s, however, I enjoyed this one more than the second.
It was good to see zombies in a desert wasteland setting but the film has a cheap look to it in parts. Oded Fehr, Iain Glen and Mike Epps return, Ali Larter is a welcomed new addition as Claire, but the rest of the acting from the supporting cast isn’t too wonderful.
Milla Jovovich (despite a dodgy hair-cut) once again is just what the doctor ordered as Alice who develops her ‘powers’ throughout. There are plenty of tussles, zombie action, killer birds and. it has some great ideas, themes and a surprise electrifying closing.
Under Russell Mulcahy direction it has it’s moments. There is one stand out segment at a gas station, but again, like it’s predecessor it lacks the pulsing, foreboding, suspense and mood created by Paul W.S. Anderson in the first Resident Evil.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Boasting being the first live-action movie based on a video game to be in 3-D…
Alice is stripped of her T-virus enhancing powers continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to Arcadia, however, with more zombies, T virus mutants and Umbrella Corporation personnel it’s not going to be easy.
The intriguing set up of Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) for a clone orientated sequel is dolefully all wrapped up in the opening minutes of Afterlife. The originals Director/Writer Paul W.S. Anderson thankfully returns the reigns and puts the series on track, especially by making our heroine more human and like the character of in Resident Evil (2002).
Milla is made for the role of Alice and looks partially in shape and focused in this action orientated continuation of the Capcom game adaptation, as too is Ali Larter as Claire Redfield, although she is underutilised.
Gamer fans will be pleased with appearance of game baddies and Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller. Boris Kodjoe is has a lot of screen presence, however, his and many of the other characters are not fleshed out or have enough dialogue nor time to make an impact. Afterlife lacks the depth and foreboding atmosphere of the first film but is more fun than Apocalypse and Extinction despite the hammy acting and overuse of slow-mo.
The Redfield bother sister relationship is left unexplored and there appears to be a lot of missed opportunities. That said, these threads may turn up in future squeals, however, you can’t help feel a little short changed as the plot feels to just scratch the surface.
There’s still a lot to like, zombies, guns, sword-play and explosions. Fantastic stunts, great sets, costumes, special effects and a pumping score. Sienna Gilroy’s cameo sets it up for another tantalising sequel, however, every instalment in the series has done the same, let’s just hope RE5 delivers in all departments.
Overall, Resident Evil: Afterlife is immense sci-fi fun, but alas chooses style over substance.
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Alice finds herself trapped in a Umbrella Corporation testing facility and with the help of some old and new friends she must do battle with infected zombies and T-virus mutants in order to escape.
Milla Jovovich as usual looks exceedingly good as Alice, her makeup is perfect and she is in top physical form. Also in the opening she get to display her underrate acting as an everyday mother who dearly tries to escape an infected zombie attack. Gamer fans will be content with appearance of the game characters including Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong to name a few but as with Afterlife the characters are not fleshed out and it lacks the depth and foreboding atmosphere of Resident Evil.
The Redfields are nowhere to be seen and the biggest shame about Retribution is the missed opportunity to effectively utilise the characters from the first and second film. Colin Salmon and Oded Fehr are painfully wasted and they have very little screen time reducing them to nothing more than tantalising cameos which go nowhere. Michelle Rodriguez thankfully gets a little more to do, but again even with the original writer at the helm the scenes are underdeveloped.
The original’s director/Writer Paul W.S. Anderson once again returns but sadly continues the style over substance approach, yeap and there’s slow-motion and lots of it. While it looks great it’s very derivative including Aliens (1986) missing young girl, cocoons and face hunger-esque robots. At one point director Anderson copies his own Alien homage from AVP and unapologetically puts it in this latest instalment.
The special effects, stunts and sets are marvellous, the music by tomandandy is exceptional but sadly these elements solely don’t make a movie. Like its predecessor it’s sci-fi fun, with some enticing ideas but alas it chooses the style over substance root leaving the viewer once again short changed.
Dead of the Dead (2008)
A small town is quarantined after a virus breakout, civilians and soldiers try to survive.
A missed opportunity to remake a cult classic Day of the Dead (1985)and/or follow up the surprisingly effective ‘Dawn of the Dead (2004).
Horror director Steve Miner is on bad form here, the film suffers from a cheap digital TV show appearance, there’s some awful camera work, a bad script and story logic. The tone changes throughout, unsure whether it’s wants to be a comedy, a parody of Return of the Living Dead or a solid zombie film. There’s some ridiculous segments, the wall crawling zombies, the vegetarian gags, you could spend hours pouring over the problems with this film.
As a standalone movie without any references to Day of the Dead it may have worked with some tweaks as a cheap and cheerful low budget zombie comedy. However, in reality it’s waste of some directing talent, good actors including quirky looking Mena Suvari and Ving Rhames.
As a fan of Romero’s Day or Dawn’s remake you may want to give it a miss or be sorely disappointed.
Devil’s Playground (2010)
The world succumbs to a viral/zombie apocalypse as group of Londoners try their best to survive and are torn to protect one person that holds the cure.
Mark McQueen’s direction is more than sufficient and effective coupled with ominous lighting, realistic settings and great special effects. While the ‘zombie’ supporting cast are worthy of note and the make up well designed, the free running style infected is unnecessary and distracting.
Brit actor Craig Fairbrass (Cliff Hanger) gives a typical performance as hard-man Cole. The rest of the cast are adequate, notably MyAnna Buring, but there’s not enough meat on Bart Ruspoli’s script or character development keep them busy to show any talent. The flawless Jaime Murray is sadly wasted with a little amount of screen time and even cockney favourite Danny Dyer the diamond geezer doesn’t get enough to say.
If you must draw comparisons, it’s pale against the likes of 28 days later or Dawn of Dead (2004). But to its credit Devil has a crisp atmosphere and eerie London setting.
Overall, generic, yet, a lot more watchable and entertaining than many of the DTV zombie/virus flicks that are being churned out.
Zone of the Dead (2009)
InterPol agents join forces with a dangerous prisoner to fend of the zombie hordes.
Zone of the Dead is a zombie actioner produced in Serbia. Many low budget zombie films are still effective, however, Zone of Dead is awfully put together.
Stefano Caprioli’s score is good but it’s unevenly placed over the film, at times distracting. The same can be said for the sound. The make up effects are well done and the setting adds atmosphere. There’s a handful of sets ups with a little sword and gun play. Milan Todorovic and Vukota Brajovic’s story is adequate. Directors Milan Konjevic and Milan Todorovic over use the shaky cam look and there’s no getting away from Milan Konjevic’s sub-par screenplay.
Kristina Klebe as Agent Mina Milius lights up the screen and of course there’s Ken Foree but they can’t save that poor script which is badly delivered by the majority of rest of the cast. It faults are to distracting for you to sit back and enjoy it as much as it may deserve. All the ingredients are there but someone wasn’t watching the cooking times. True DTV hell.
Zombie Wars (2008)
Set fifty years after a zombie epidemic, a group of soldiers learn that intelligent zombies have begun breeding humans for food.
“They just came out of the ground…” Opening with some very bad effects of the earth it looks ambitious and bites off more than it can chew. It’s simply a cheese feast. Although it has some heart felt voice over ala Alice Resident Evil narration the production tries to be larger than it is.
It’s low budget with awful acting. That said, there is only so much that the actors could have done with the script. If they’d hammed it up more and took more care with the editing and sound it may have it may have come off a whole lot better. Possibly and 80’s comedy B-film homage. But its badly edited, awful swipes and transitions, poor sound and distracting piano music. It oddly borrows from The Planet of the Apes and one actor does his whole role as Jack Nicholson for no reason.
To it’s credit some of Diana Diaz and Justin Pine’s special make-up effects are good. The effort is there but it’s rushed and very slap dash. Not even the array of pretty faces can save Zombie Wars. It sadly does’t qualify as bargain bucket material either.
Zombie Apocalypse (2011)
It’s months after a worldwide zombie infestation, a group of survivors team up to travel to a dock and escape to the safety of Catalina.
Opening with various capitals including Paris being destroyed and the brief explanation of how the army handled the worldwide zombie plague, it’s clear you’re not going to be seeing anything original (but would you want to?). Zombie Apocalypse then moves quickly to American (whereelse) six months later. A few survivors walk the empty streets. The first thing that may hit you with Zombie Apocalypse is that it’s a step above those awful cheap zombie films.
Director Nick Lyon provides a standard solid zombie affair; but the look falls short of TV series Walking Dead. For the most part the zombies look fine, the practical effects are good but there’s an abundance of poorly executed CGI blood effects. There are lots of zombies and zombie action, eateries, school, burning buildings, smoking sky-lines, empty suburbs, crashed planes and it aptly feels like a zombie apocalypse.
There’s a wealth of chopping and shooting off heads. Zombie dogs, a mixture of fast ‘running’ zombies, semi intelligent zombies, rowdy and slow zombies. The script tries to avoid clichés but is unsuccessful given the tone. Writers Brooks Peck and Craig Engler add nothing new for 99 percent of the film – there’s checking for bites, executing best friends, an array of ideas already explored in other films but they bring them together productively with Lyon’s competent direction.
Ving Rhames redeems himself slightly as Henry – after the nasty taste of the Day of the Dead remake he starred in. That said, this production is not in the same league as the Dawn the Dawn of the Dead remake that he also appeared in. Actor Lesley-Ann Brandt as Cassie is worthy of note and the rest of the main players do a good enough job. Edward Burns alike Gary Weeks as Mack and Taryn Manning Melissa George alike are more than adequate. The look-a-likes don’t stop there; keep an eye out for the Bruce Campbell and Texas Chainsaw Massacre zombie a-likes. Like the film itself everything looks like something else.
Armed with an array of weapons including a baseball bat, sledge hammer, chainsaw to name a few it turns into a blood bath journey as the group for survivors head for Catalina. When some of the team split the remaining survivors join up with a former archery team which gives the opportunity for more for character interaction but characters make statements, give speeches and one-liners and there’s little personality development.
The closing scenes while a surprisingly great idea are ruined by the awfully rendered CGI effects.
Ultimately, it lacks film quality and despite its aforementioned faults its semi-solid cash in entry to the zombie genre.
The world is devastated by an epidemic and is overrun by hordes of living dead. Three men, Igor and Alen, hunters of dead and a scientist, Gyno try to find an answer to what has happened to the human race.
Everyone’s having a stab at the zombie/virus flick since 28 days Later – Spain with REC, Germany with Rammbock and France Le Horde to name a few.
Although Marmite director Uwe Boll has a producer credit, this shares little if anything with his films. Both writers/ Directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori deliver a competently constructed bleak atmospheric zombie horror that is stylishly shot and presented in washed out colour.
Eaters opens with the standard zombie exposition affair of news clips how virus infection has spread. Gyno spins that the zombie epidemic maybe the next step in evolution while the hardened soldiers believe otherwise.
There’s some good zombie make up design, lopped off heads, blood, fried zombies, undead torture, skulls and exploding heads. Guns, grenades and machetes are used to dispose and there are some interesting kill scenes as the two hardened soldiers, Igor a likable hard-man played excellently by Alex Lucchesi and Alen notably by Guglielmo Favilla go to section F on a ‘corpse hunt’. Notable is chained up Alexis (Rosella Elmi) who is a carrier of the virus. Young actress Elisa Ferretti as Cristina deserves a mention.
Although Igor is likened to Leon it’s doctor Gyno played by Claudio Marmugi who is the Jean Reno-alike. He experiments on the dead, shooting them after their used, chopping them up, feeding them scraps reminiscent of Day of the Dead. Interesting the zombies here eat their own body parts, encounters with a Cultist group, slow/fast zombies and armed zombies add to the pleasure.
This serious slick Italian production is grim with a sense of black humour and irony there’s characters reading ‘corpse and girls’ magazine. Crazy Caravaggio painter of dead people. The score is similar to resident evil with electronic heavy beat and it had a few flash backs and eerie dream sequences deliver some jump moments.
Sector b’s Nazi group aside the script delivers some tension as madness sets in as the character try to pass time, humour feels unforced and the acting for the most part realistic. Eaters may have it’s faults debatably some CGI, editing and pacing issues but for the most part it’s a fulfilling ride. Although it borrows from the likes of Resident Evil Apocalypse and 28 Weeks Later to name a few there’s enough twists and originality as the leads try to accept their situation to prevent it becoming stale reinforced with an ending that goes against the clichés in the last act.
Gory, bloody and overall more fun than it should be due to it’s great execution and grimness.
A virus has transformed the majority of humans into zombie creatures. An unlikely group try to fight for survival in a military base.
Even though every country has had a stab at a zombie/virus film recently – France already with the entertaining Le Horde nevertheless here’s another French take – refreshingly Mutants is the opposite of the aforementioned and takes a serious tone with the subject matter, stylishly filmed by director David Morlet.
There’s great sets, cinematography and art direction. It has cold eerie lighting, empty bunkers and some well executed gore effects all on the backdrop of a snowy wintertime setting.
Many scenes are tension filled with the added feeling of claustrophobia for good horror measure. Although the sound design of the infected is arguably overboard the acting is first-rate with Helene de Frougerolles (looking Aisa Agento-alike) carrying the film. In Louis-Paul Desanges and David Morlet’s screenplay everything is played for realism, adding a hard edge to the proceedings.
There’s an annoying abundance of shaky camera work that has become synonymous with zombie – like virus films. Calls for help on the radio, bunkers, machetes, guns, human betrayal, love and loss – all the clichés are there but handled realistically. This coupled with the naturalist acting and crafted chilling score allow Mutants to breakout from the saturated genre.
28 Day Later rage-like infected aside it has a balanced simmering survival emotional element packed with atmosphere and action throughout. Although humourless it’s nonetheless bloody and dramatically entertaining.
War of the Dead (2011)
A platoon of British, American and Finnish soldiers come head to head with unstoppable zombie-like soldiers. Aided by a Russian grunt they must fight for survival.
Despite some over used slow-motion and unfitting sound effects War of the Dead director Marko Mäkilaakso delivers a wonderfully atmospheric World War II action ‘zombie’ film.
The film has pace, moving from one location to the next through bunkers, trenches, air shafts, forests and their plenty of gun fire and fights. The effects are modest and well executed and the sets are perfectly dressed, the location shoot gives it an edge. Writers Mäkilaakso and Barr B. Potter include some zombie hallmarks an empty house under siege, a graveyard, shots to the head but the antagonists share more with 28 Days Laters’ infected. War of the Dead expands the Nazi super soldiers angel further including some fast moving, stealthy, post experimental and ‘infected’ soldiers.
Reminiscent of The Bunker, Death Watch, Dog Soldiers and Outpost to name a few this latest addition includes some great worn looking actors including Antti Reini, the reliable and talented Andrew Tiernan (who also starred in the The Bunker) as Capitan Martin Stone. UK viewers may recognise ITV’s Bill – Mark Wingett. Supporting leads Samuel Vauramo as the emotional Kolya and Mikko Leppilampi as Lieutenant Laakso are effective enough. Notable is the only female Magdalena Górska and Jouko Ahola who is perfectly cast as the super soldier Captain Niemi.
It lacks that slow foreboding feel and the mix of genres doesn’t work as well for this WW2 predominately action, chiller as it should due to the thin script. Nevertheless, its a tight good piece of entertainment packed with action and an obligatory nihilistic ending with a twist.
Exit Humanity (2011)
One man’s journey beings in 1885 as he makes his way though the zombie infested American West.
Mark Gibson as Edward Young deserves a mention for his performance as he carries the film. Brian Cox add weight as ‘old’ Edward, narrating a journal doing a good Johnny Cash voice impersonation though-out but its odd that director/writer John Geddes would use a Scottish man in such an American tale. Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley and the great character actor Stephen McHattie (of zombie flick Pontypool) also appear.
It’s a slow burning, drama, zombie, period piece conventional filmed with some narration. It also includes snippets of animation, dreams and flashbacks to tell the story which gives it an indie-film feel.
The Canadian location successfully doubling for the American West gives the film an authentic feel which is complemented by the melodic eerie score. There’s plenty of shooting and biting. The effects, SFX and zombie make-up are quite well executed. However, it’s not as tight as it could be and loses impact with its lack of a cinematic quality due to it’s TV look.
While it’s yet another zombie film it’s good production and more interesting than many of other living dead films out there.
A schoolteacher heads to the country to survive a zombie-apocalypse.
Based on the indie novel by David Moody, director Steven Rumbelow’s microscopic budget atmospheric film that while doesn’t evoke the emotion of the likes of The Battery (2012) it never the less has a lot of novelty to it thanks to Dexter Fletcher performance as Michael.
It’s more of mournful character study rather than a full on zombie assault. Don’t expect too much from this choppy produced slow burner and you may be surprisingly pleased.
Autumn is worth watching for its serious tone and Fletcher’s sombre performance.
Zombie 108 (2012)
As a virus sweeps the city, it falls into a bloody zombie-apocalypse and array citizens come together to survive the nightmare.
Yes we’ve seen it all before but what writer/director Joe Chien does have like his semi-side-quel Zombie Fight Club (2014) is a dark and ominous atmosphere.
Following the opening of a large abandoned metropolitan area where a woman wanders around and finds a mass of hungry zombies we are then presented with a flashback of how the city became deserted. Chien borrows from the best, which is a good thing but sadly Zombie 108 biggest slip up is an unnecessary off-putting subplot where a sordid pervert kidnaps women and traps them in his apartment. He keeps them locked up, tortures, rapes and murders them.
It’s messy, chaotic, graphic and at times borderline incoherent in keeping with many Asian zombie outings. That said, it does have its eerie creepy moments, it’s played serious and the zombies are well executed. However, you’d be excused if you skipped this mainly due to the distasteful secondary plot and went straight to Chien’s more rounded Zombie Fight Club.
Zombie Fight Club (2014)
A building riddled with a menagerie of working girls, criminals and loners find the corridors of their apartment block infested with zombies.
Oh my have things have progressed since Junk Shiryōgari (2000) and Versus (2000) (certainly in the effects department), Zombie Fight Club (2014) is better than the influx of recent DTV walking dead movies globally produced, in contrast to most Asian dead movies its light on humour, tonally it’s reminiscent of The Horde (2009), Rammbock/Berlin Dead (2010) mixed with Joe Chien’s own twisted incoherent Zombie 108 (2012).
Chien’s zombie offering is packed with action, actually wall to wall bloodshed, excellent make-up effects and an abundance of practical and CGI blood which puts some American modest budget zombie films to shame. It’s colour palette is dark, accompanied by a pumping soundtrack, it’s undeniably fast paced. Oddly it inexplicably interchanges between English and Mandarin and it’s a film of unorthodox two halves with no third act.
When it does slowdown it has a fistful of creepy moments but these are few and far between as buxom beauty Jenny played by Jessica Cambensy witnesses her boyfriend, his crew of rappers and strippers come toe to toe with growing army of zombies. After a flash forward a year after the outbreak Jenny has gone all zombie killer sporting a new hair cut and an even tighter costume (yes there’s the shameless objectification of women but no more than The Resident Evil franchise tries to gloss over).
What it lacks in plot it makes up for with its kick-ass female and male characters, soldiers and loads of zombie kills, impalement, bullets and action setups. Yes the characters are at times cartoonish and its gratuitous but it’s a solid addition to the Asian live action zombie market, if you’re in to it.