Posts Tagged ‘Zombie’

Busanhaeng Movie Poster A group of terrified passengers fight their way through a viral outbreak while trapped on a bullet train ride to Busan.
Train to Busan is a blood-drenched South Korean zombie/virus horror, director Yeon Sang-ho and writer Park Joo-suk offer a serious zombie apocalypse yarn. Interestingly most of the bloody, milky eyed and black vein thrilled story is set in the daytime. Joo-suk offers a novel take on the infected, which cannot see in the dark, this makes for some interesting viewing during the more tense scenes especially as the train travels through darkened tunnels.
Sang-ho’s twitchy infected are a fast moving reminiscent of 28 Days Later and WWZ at one point there are piles of clambering dead hanging from the locomotive. In addition, this is a decent looking film, not a straight to video, DTV offering, the production values are high and the special effects are impressive. The locations are grounded which adds to the tension and you buy into the characters plight along with the punchy surprise deaths synonymous with the genre. With mistrust between the players there’s a social commentary about the division of class and its pecking order, its only apt it’s set on a train.
There are some action packed segments in stations and some subtler moments in tunnels and the city as the survivors encounter the army and contaminated. Surprisingly there’s plenty of emotion especially between workaholic Seok-woo played by Gong Yoo and his young daughter, Soo- an, delightfully played by Kim Su-an who wants to see her mother. Notable is Ma Dong-seok who plays Sang-hwa, a tough, working-class man. Dong-seok delivers some memorable zombie head bashing moments.
Sang-ho balances the intense infected action and drama perfectly. Highly recommended virus film.

Image result for Rezort  imp awardsAfter humanity wins a war against zombies, tourists are able to kill zombies for sport at the Rezort.

Director Steve Barker who debuted with Outpost (2008) offers a zombie flick which echoes

Westworld (1973)and Jurassic Park (1993) premise. While Rezort isn’t as tight as Outpost, quite choppy in fact the zombie resort idea is a winning formula. Despite some dubious casting and dialogue this modest budget horror has plenty of great zombie action. Its Island setting gives it an throw back feel to Fulci’s Zombie (1979) and Fear the Walking Dead (in which Dougray Scott also appeared) rather than Romero’s ‘of the Dead’ films and/or The Walking Dead series.

To writers Paul Gerstenberger’s credit there is an interesting novel aspect as guest Melanie, played glowingly by Jessica Elise De Gouw who wants to conquer her psychological issues caused by the zombie war. This take is clearly what brought Barker and Scott’s talent to the table. That said, it feel rushed in places especially when the park’s security begins to unravel. The on location shoot works in its favour and Gerstenberger comes up trumps with a social commentary of sorts around refugees and class reminiscent of The Dead (2010), The Dead 2 (2013) and WWZ (2013) to name a few.

As forgettable sub characters get picked off one by one Martin McCann is notable as Lewis, but Dougray Scott effortlessly steals any sort of screen presence from the rest of cast excluding De Gouw of course who plays the trouble everyday girl in a horrific situation well. There’s no lack of effort in the makeup department either, the effects are finely executed from the most part, rapid head shots, zombie bites, all the zombie staples are there. But technically there’s some short comings in the editing and staging notable when the group try to pass through a fence damaged by a jeep it loses its lustre and logic.

With Resident Evil (2002) Hive like rooms and an impending countdown to doom. Its far from a DTV or SYFY film. The issue with Rezort is not that its derivative, it’s just not slick enough or able to focus on a potential bleak tone or its unique and interesting aspects making it feel more like the entertaining Cockney Versus Zombies (2012) without the comedy rather than the Day of the Dead it should be.

Still the Michael Crichton themes with robots and dinosaur replaced for zombies makes Rezort worth watching just for the living dead hell of it.

*** This review may contain T-Virus spoilers ***

Humanity is on its last legs and Alice after being betrayed by Wesker has one last chance to end the Umbrella Corporation’s plan of world domination.

With writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson again helming the chair, the alleged sixth and final chapter never manages to recreate the pace, horror hi-jinx or atmosphere of 2002’s Resident Evil, yet, tonally The Final Chapter comes closer than any of the meandering stylised sequels.

Anderson (arguably wisely) sidesteps the teased epic fantasy war setting of its predecessor with this instalment set in the aftermath of Retribution. The full-blown war is dropped in favour to feature on a few remaining monsters and focus on the impending infected zombie horde. Anderson borrows George Romero’s Dead Reckoning-like vehicle under Dr Isaac’s (Iain Glen) control and Alice (Milla Jovovich) must get back to The Hive to release an antivirus and stop the outbreak with help from The Red Queen played notably by Milla/Anderson’s very own daughter Ever.

The Final Chapter will appease fans who loved the action orientated sequels but it also goes some way satisfying those who enjoyed the first film. Anderson offers littered Event Horizon and the original Resident Evil’s jump scares in the ominous moments. In amongst the edited (faster than the Bourne Identity series put together) imaginative action there’s a little character development. Paul Haslinger’s pumping synth score is fitting and enhances the action as well as the few and far between quieter moments.

While it’s a pity actors Colin Salmon, Michelle Rodriguez and others couldn’t return given the stories clone themed story line, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) and Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield return from previous entries. Both Roberts and Larter both look more at ease here in the mostly darkly lit well crafted sets.

With usual strong screen presence Jovovich is on fine form and the fights are fantastic if a little too frantically paced. Although some aged makeup is below par and the CGI is ropey at times Anderson offers a genuinely surprising twist which delivers a fitting close to the Alice character.

That said, the maker leaves enough room for another horror orientated follow up or overblown 3D actioner – hopefully the latter. Either way it ends the series on a high more rounded note.

*** This review contains spoilers ***

Rick must make a choice that will decide the groups fate.

Gone are the days of Miami Vice killings and Dallas like twists. This is brutal unrelenting with a revelation of not just killing one, but two main characters. Where’s as the penultimate episode of seasons 2 Fear the Walking Dead raised the bar in graphic violence, The Walking Dead’s season 7 opening episode knocks it out of the park.

“The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” contains excellent makeup special effects and pure tension and exists mainly to show who died and where Rick now fits in the world of the dead. TV doesn’t come much more  dangerous or horrifically sadistic as this. Director Greg Nicotero’s atmosphere is thick with blood and mist. From zombie killings to head bashing and eye popping action it’s genuinely gut turning relentless from beginning to end with Rick having to make a series of decisions to save his son and friends. Both Jeffery Dean Morgan as Negan and Andrew Lincoln as Rick are outstanding here. Morgan offers some much needed viewer nervous levity, notably the vampire line about his baseball bat named Lucille, while Lincoln is fittingly shell-shocked throughout echoing the viewers disturbed surprise.

With some solid direction, writing from Scott M. Gimple and a fitting score it raises the bar in terms of harrowing nauseatingly TV violence and it emotionally surpasses expectations. Recommend piece of zombie entertainment.

*** This review may contain talking head spoilers ***

A mixed group of townsfolk team up to destroy the reanimated dead that have taken over their town to eat brains.

With lines that mirror and hark back to the 1985 surprise hit, it’s more of a remake despite being called part II, akin to Evil Dead 2 in relation to part one. Here three kids, find a canister which contains a Trioxin enriched body. The barrel which (literary) fell off a back of a lorry is unlocked by two of the three teens, releasing a gas which make the two bullies ill and also revives the occupants of the local grave.

Young teen lead Michael Kenworthy’s Jesse Wilson and Marsha Dietlein as Lucy Wilson are worthy of note (possibly named Wilson at a stretch to possibly link the two films with Burt Wilson from the original). Jesse who is locked up by the young bullies escapes their fate while locked up in a mausoleum. Director/writer Ken Wiederhorn offer excellent practical and make up effects, (despite continuity errors where Tarman 2’s design inexplicably changes between shots), there’s plenty of Thriller styled undead on display. Unfortunately the soundtrack (recreating the vibe of the original) was replaced due to license issues and the replacement music sadly takes away some nostalgic and complementary value.

The supporting cast are solid, if somewhat hysterically panicked. With a good mixture of horror and comedy there’s Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks) as Tom, notable is Suzanne Snyder as Brenda, whose dressed in her best Tiffany outfit. At one point military men wielding guns show up, one of which is actor Mitch Pileggi pre-X-Files. Memorable is Philip Bruns eccentric Doc Mandel. The excellent James Karen and Thom Mathews return as grave robbers who release Jesse from the mausoleum. They ineffect reprise similar characters from the first outing, echoing the same slow changes into zombies, at one point Mathew’s Joey even gives an acknowledging line of, “I feel like we’ve been here before. You… Me… Them!” and as a viewer you’ll feel the same as many of the setups give a feeling of de ja vu right down to another leathery talking female corpse.

The setting including a graveyard, contrasting suburbs and town offers enough chills as the lumber dead horde go in search of brains, at one point even breaking into a pet shop. There’s hands (reminiscent of Adams Family’s Thing and Ash of Evil Dead’s appendage), talking decapitated heads, plenty of body parts, worms coming out of faces, rotten flesh and every kind off blood guts and severed spines a horror fan could want.

As the survivors lure the zombies with carts of brains and Jesse faces off against his now dead bully there’s a satisfying conclusion including a Michael Jackson thriller style zombie thrown in just for the hoot. Wiederhorn’s offering doesn’t get under the skin as much as its predecessor nor does it have the nihilistic ending that made part one standout. Nevertheless, the special effects hold up much better than the mix of horror comedy and its still a cadaver load of zombie fun.

Return of the Living Dead Movie Poster

*** This review may contain grave dancing spoilers ***

A group of teenage punks and business owners deal with the accidental release of a horde of brain hungry zombies.

The late Dan O’Bannon writes and directs this novel zombie film; no stranger to horror he’s notable for collaborating with John Carpenter and co-writing the screenplay for Alien. With its foggy graveyard, crematorium, chapel of rest, dimly-lit factory basement and empty wet streets O’Bannon creates some atmosphere. Return of the Living Dead while not a sequel to George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead (1967) connects it amusingly with Frank, played wonderfully by James Karen making out that the movie was based on real events to his bumbling sidekick Freddy Thom Matthews (who both return for the sequel). It’s more comical than Romero’s films, with a morbid humour, eccentric dialogue and some slapstick comedy. While it may not have Romero’s political satire, O’Bannon worms in a subtext of mortality and what it means to be dead.

As the loud characters attempt to destroy the zombies, flee in panic, and/or sometimes become a zombie there’s plenty of entertainment to be had. Clu Gulager plays up his straight lace typecasting as Burt who’ll do anything to save his business. Actor Don Calfa is excellent as Ernie the mortician, stealing every scene with a Peter Lorre kookiness. The group of teenagers are on fine form, capturing an array of 80’s stereotypes with their fashion, music taste and attitudes akin to Lamberto Bava’s Demons (1985) of the same year. There’s a great 80s soundtrack along with some significant nudity where Linnea Quigley infamously dances on a grave. In addition Quigley’s Trash when in turned zombie is menacingly eerie. With some great effects the icky superb Tarman zombie is performed by actor and puppeteer Allan Trautman.

It’s a satisfactory zombie movie, with some genuinely creepy and amusing scenes, notably where Ernie deals with rigor mortis, pieces of a cadaver wriggle in black bags, Frank and Freddy being pronounced dead, the attack on paramedics and where a cut in half rotting female explains why they want to eat the living. Memorably, at one point after a horde of zombies eat a police unit one of the ghouls gets on the radio and asks dispatch to send more cops. Amongst the cinematic zombie tropes of main players barricading entrances, trouble comes from within and just about everyone dies, you know you’re in for a scary ride as the Tarman may pop up at any moment.

In retrospect O’Bannon’s unchained offering is a little rough around the edges (notably recycling the grave and skeleton footage prior to the end credits) but it has a certain 80s (timeless) charm thanks to the setting, supplies of great grisly special effects, reanimated cross-sections of lab specimen dogs, severed limbs and dried out zombies to name a few. The grim but admirable nihilistic ending is the icing on the cake and to O’Bannon’s credit Return of the Living Dead popularises for the first time zombies eating, specifically – Braaiinnsss!

Overall, its good gritty zombie cult fun.

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zWWII battle worn soldiers come across a Nazi complex where experiments are taking place to resurrect dead prisoners.

Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015) is dark, gloomy and more serious than 2011’s entertaining ride Eaters and more sombre and grounded than Zombie Massacre a.k.a Apocalypse Z.

Again filmmaker talents Luca Boni and Marco Ristori deliver a grim competently constructed bleak zombie horror that is stylishly shot with some good blood and gore effects presented on a saturated colour palette. The practical effects come better off that some of the CGI explosions and splatter. The sets and location look outstanding for the budget.

With actors Andrew Harwood Mills, Dan van Husen and Lucy Drive who is stunning as Erin the rest of the cast are on form and give performances as their picked off one by one that far surpass those in the first outing.

Zombie Massacre 2 is slower and more dramatic than Boni and Ristori’s previous work, and while the story isn’t the most original there’s plenty of gore, creepy visuals, dead soldiers and vertical white stripes zombies, creepy faces and the like.

Boni and Ristori are becoming somewhat cult directors and need a breakout mainstream film but for the moment we have to wait a little longer nevertheless its still agreeable zombie fodder.

  *** This review may contain dead girlfriend spoilers ***

A guy’s overbearing girlfriend, who he’s afraid to break up with dies in a freak accident. However, she rises from the grave hampering his new relationship.

Written by Alan Trezza reminiscent of IZombie, Big, Over Her Dead Body (2008) only with the ghost aspect replaced with a zombie and Death becomes Her to name a few just a few, Burying The Ex has its own inner city charm. Packed with horror references, it’s a genre aficionados dream thanks to Joe Dante’s magic touch, effects, score and on location shoot.

Things get interesting when vegan Ashley Greene’s Evelyn returns from the grave and Anton Yelchin as Max tries to juggle his new crush, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario) and possessive ex. Yelchin gives the same great every guy performance as he did in Odd Thomas. Greene steels the show with some good makeup effects, from spewing up embalming fluid to being a drop dead gorgeous psycho corpse.

There’s touches of the Howling (1981) with the old reference books and Amazing Stories (1986). Some jokes fall flat, but most of the lines, gross out gags are on the money. There’s some eerie scenes, vileness and blood when Evelyn realises what zombies enjoy. The film then takes a macabre turn in the latter Evil Dead-like half.

Dante creates a unique off beat atmosphere as he did with Gremlins and Small Soldiers. While zombies have become stale and saturated lately Dante injects some life in what could have been a Twilight Zone, Monsters, Tales from the Darkside or Crypt anthology episode into a snappy horror comedy film. It’s not John Landis’ American Werewolf but it’s a hoot for old school horror, practical effects fans.

  When a government vaccine fails to stop another zombie infection a man teams up with an infected woman to escape the quarantined area before a crazy man wanting to be king of the zombies expands the territory.

Sony’s Crackle, all streaming online, on-demand in conjunction with Legendary pictures offer an adaptation of Dead Rising Capcom’s best selling video game. What’s clear from director Zach Lipovsky’s offering is that it’s no cheap cash-in. Opening with a cute cartoon explanation of the zombie anti virus Zombrex, we’re the introduced to hordes of the dead, a creepy clown and policeman zombie within the first few minutes flashback. 

With sweeping city scales and tight close ups there’s a sense of scale, urgency and panic especially with the impending military action. Jesse Metcalfe’s Chase Carter is reminiscent of a mix of D.J, Cotrona and George Clooney’s Seth Gecko nonchalant delivery. It’s good to see one of the biggest 80’s stars Virginia Madsen on the screen in the role of a troubled mother. With plenty of screen presence Meghan Ory is notable as Crystal O’Rourke and Bate’s Motel’s Keegan Connor Tracy is weighty in a small role as Joran.

Sadly Dead Rising is broken up by satirical Robocop-like news reports and interviews featuring Rob Riggle and TV-like fade outs don’t help the pacing. It has a C.S.I crisp look, while not filmatic it doesn’t feel like DTV and has some great special effects. With slicing spinning blades, bats used as weapons and gun-play there’s plenty of zombie blood and guts on display. The second half during the night time scenes gets a little darker, no pun intended, with eerie dead girl characters, chainsaws, rough raping nomads, shotguns, nose biting, motorbikes and more explosions. 

Even though I’ve never played Dead Rising its surprising how it captures the feel of at least the posters, clips and game adverts I’d seen and subconsciously locked away with Metcalfe striking poses of Carter in framed angles synonymous with the game series (think Prince of Persia).

Dead Rising a.k.a. Dead Rising: Watchtower is a solid addition to the saturated zombie film market with well executed effects and action stunt set ups. It’s main issue by default and through no fault of it’s own nor Lipovsky’s or writer/producer Tim Carter is that it’s all been done before. The game also apparently had a liable suit brought against it in 2008 for its similarities to Dawn of the Dead ’78 and 2004. Nevertheless, if Dead Rising the film had been released in 2006 the same year of the game release it may have faired a little better as while it is a good production it feels like it’s covering old ground, zombies in general are not as fresh as they used to be, say in 1985. 

Hopefully it fulfils Dead Rising fans dreams but for the average viewer with nostalgic inducing cult films like Wrymwood and Bloodbath Bombshell injecting new life into the tired genre and big budget outings like The Dawn of the Dead remake and WWZ, Dead Rising feels a little too Resident Evil Apocalypse or TV pilot-like with its expensive C.S.I feel and odd set up for sequel ending. If a TV spin off is to come, Rising’s well executed focus on violence would put it above Z Nation and debatably below The Walking Dead.