Monday, March 20, 2006

Zombie Flick Review - Undead

So I’ve been really jonesing for some brain munching, lip smacking zombie goodness lately. It’s been really hard to find some ‘me’ time with this class I’ve been training. The class hours are 5:15pm – 2am; which translates to my working from 3:30pm until 3:30 or 4am every morning. I’m working like 12 hour days. In addition to that I took on a painting side job that’s been taking up my time during the day when I’m not working. Add on top my regular dad duties, and it’s no wonder I’m sick as hell. All of this sucks, but the worst part is that I’ve been neglecting my zombie movie watching.

I’ve been an especially bad undead monster in that I haven’t even had time to pick up my unrated director’s cut of Romero’s Land of the Dead yet. This is not the sort of thing that other zombies look well upon. I did go on-line last night on a break and pre-order Rob Zombie’s new CD (which releases on 3/28 – woohoo!).

I did recently catch the new Australian zombie flick, Undead. Gotta say it was pretty disappointing. Truthfully, I sometimes just don’t get Australian cinema. It’s weird really. They’ve got this whole American cowboy attitude, with a gritty outback perspective. And the movies are just odd. Even the classic Road Warrior was weird. And it’s not even like their flicks are European weird. You know what I’m talking about. European movies are either plodding, symbolism heavy bore-fests, or it’s like Benny Hill: The Movie (as directed by Jean Reno and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.) Fucking weird. Australia, though… they’ve got their own 'foreign by way of the Pacific Rim' weirdness to them. And the thing is, I’d heard some great things about this movie. Everything I’d read hailed it as a brilliant independent horror film. It had been touted as a new, great zombie flick that took much too long to become available here in the US. I’d even seen it compared to Shaun of the Dead. Let me warn you - - if you rent this movie expecting the brilliance of Shaun, you will be sorely disappointed. Gore-wise, it did a great job. And there were some really cool visuals. The plot though, the plot sucked. Let me see if I can get this right; the main character Rene is trying to escape her boring, backwoods town. As she leaves, a meteorite storm happens and she finds herself beset by undead zombies. She ends up taking refuge at the home of the local nutjob, Marion. Sounds okay so far, right? It did to me. There were some great zombies, some great gore, and it had all the makings of a good zombie flick up until this point; beyond some bad acting.

And then it all went horribly, horribly wrong. Marion, who’s a 50ish, husky farmer with a beard and coveralls, looks and acts like one of the degenerate bayou hillbillies from Southern Comfort or Deliverance. He immediately starts pulling out guns that apparently never need to be reloaded and becomes a zombie killing machine. We’re talking a machine like Neo from The Matrix, but never mind that silly and pretentious background explanation the Matrix had that the world wasn’t ‘real’. Who needs that nonsense? Marion is just a super fly zombie killer who apparently has known that the zombie were coming because he was visited by a vision of aliens while fishing on a pond some years earlier…after catching a zombie fish. That’s right, a zombie fish. Whatever. From here it just gets weirder and weirder. They try to escape town, but find that they are in the midst of an alien invasion. People are sucked up in beams of light. The town is surrounded by a thorny alien wall. The aliens appear out of nowhere, dressed like Gregorian monks. The zombies become secondary to all of this.

The movie just skews into absurdity.

I just did a quick check of the reviews for this film over on and I’m still finding endless praise for this clunker. I just don’t get it. I guess I’m being too much of a zombie film purist, but it just wasn’t that good to me. Part of me wonders if maybe all of the praise for this film is by Aussies, i.e.; they get it while I, as an American, don’t. Are they that starved for good independent horror in Oz that they find this good? I’m at a loss. Really. The acting sucked, the script sucked, the effects were tolerable, and I had the feeling that the director and writer really weren’t sure what direction they wanted to go in. It’s like something film students would have thrown together over a bong the week before their senior project is due.

Waste of time. Save the 90 or so minutes of your life this movie will ungraciously devour and re-watch any of Romero’s flicks, or Shaun of the Dead. Hell, trot out 28 Days Later for that matter. At least that flick, while having actually ZERO zombies, was more of a real zombie flick…

Rating: 1 out of 5 Chomped Brains

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Doc Z, I like your site. Anyway, I just saw this flick without ever hearing of it b4, and loved it. It was on Showtime late at night, and I Tivo'd it simply because it was about the Undead. But I dug it totally. I believe you are looking at it from a Purists standpoint. It was a comedy, straight up. Solid camp, in all it's glory. I loved that the backwoods loner was a silent killing machine with impossible acrobatic skill. The special effects were great. Not Lucas but for a foreign film, good. The main chic was sexy (can't act, and not enough cleavage shots, but nice lookin), and the sheriff was a riot. Even the way the zombies were being slaughtered was funny. It brought me back to the good old days of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies. Actually it reminded me of Dead Alive. Was that a foreign film? Now THAT was a great film.