Saturday, November 12, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse (2011)

Between 2-9 of November American Film Market had it's annual convention where a lot of movie deals are done. I would love to go there someday, just for window shopping and getting free candy and pens from the booths belonging to every hopeful distributor on the planet. Anyway, I heard somewhere - and I don't know if it's true or not - that around 250 zombie movies was for sale this year! Seems like the market is a bit over-saturated with the living dead. I'm not saying it's 250 BAD zombie movies, but I'm sure the majority of these are utter trash. Therefore I decided to check out what TV had to offer, and I felt SyFy's Zombie Apocalypse was the way to go. Produced by controversial company The Asylum, a gang of people who proudly make professional low budget versions of big budget blockbusters. Zombie Apocalypse was probably, somewhere along the road, inspired by the success of The Walking Dead, but that's about it. This is it's own universe, and believe me or not, but it works quite good.

A couple of months after the zombie epidemic wiped out 90 percent of the earths population, and the governments - trying to stop the spreading of the virus - bombed us all to hell with electromagnetic pulse bombs, we're completely fucked. We join a couple of old friends, wandering aimlessly outside on the countryside. After one of them bites the dust by the hands of zombies, another gang of more professional zombie-hunters saves them and together they continue a city where a boat will meet them and take the to the Catalina Island. But the road there is dangerous and the zombies are slowly getting smarter and more vicious. There's several kind of zombies to look out for, both running and walking - and then we have the animals... Will they make it?! I won't tell you of course, but come on, this is a SyFy movie!

I've seen more than a few zombie flicks during the last years, or related - like mutated people, people with an aggressive illness etc. I guess this one falls in-between, because the zombies (which they are called) both shows signs of being dead and having a virus of some kind. I guess they die fast and then become living deadheads! Some have been stinkers, some have been good and some a little bit of both. UK-African co-production The Dead was a disappointment and I can't recommend it at all, Serbian Apocalypse of the Dead was trashy fun, the Mattei-flicks was cheap and great, I dig the Resident Evil-franchise... and even if some people says the opposite, I would say that Nick Lyon's Zombie Apocalypse belongs with the good one's. But this is still a TV-movie, made on a fairly low budget and extremely generic. If you can handle those facts, you're in for a treat.

The script is pretty straight forward, which could have been a failure - because no one likes a boring zombie movie. But the story is built up with a good amount of tension and likable characters. You have zombie attacks every ten minute or so, but they never get repetitive. There's a point with every attack, from killing of a character to introduce the characters to a new adventure. It helps that the zombie make-up is good (I was a bit worried when I saw the behind the scenes-stills at The Asylum's homepage, but you can't compared unprocessed stills with the finished product) and the dialogue is down to a minimum. Because I HATE when people talk just for the sake of talking, and in low budget movies that means that the script isn't good enough. Here they talk when they need to, and usually say good stuff. Most importantly they made the world, or the US, look deserted and post-apocalyptic, which is very impressive considering the budget, and adds to the atmosphere.

Gore? Well, this is a movie made for the SyFy Channel, but it could be the bloodiest SyFy production I've seen. True to The Asylum's traditions the gore is digital, but it's used in such a frenzy that it works fine. A lot of heads is being chopped off, body parts and blood spurting and a high body count - and an even higher zombie count. I'm not sure if the SyFy version was edited for violence, it usually happens on that channel, but if so I hope there will be an even bloodier version on BD as soon as possible!

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