Zombie Apocalypse

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 18 - 2009

zombieapocalypse1I stumbled across Zombie Apocalypse while checking my own site in Google – a nice bit of serendipity! Let me say, the title pretty much spells it out for this film, for good or ill. It’s another SOV (shot on video) exploration of the classic zombie apocalypse. This one follows two college buddies, Mark and Tom, out for a night on the town. Unfortunately, town has been overrun by a horde of the undead as a result of a feud between two secret-agent types working for shadowy organization involved in zombie research. Before long, the two buddies have joined up with one of the secret agents (Dwight, the least badass secret agent name ever) and are thrust right into the middle of zombiegeddon. Along the way they join forces with a goth chick and an almost-survivor (she gets bit, forcing Tom to dispatch her), run into one of Mark’s rivals (who happens to head a paramilitary group of survivors) and kill a whole lot of zombies before all is said and done.

It’s a micro-budget effort by director/producer/main writer/etc. Ryan Thompson, a Michigan-based filmmaker, and it definitely shows its limitations. On the negative side, it isn’t wildly original. Clearly, the filmmakers have seen a lot of zombie movies and they’ve done little more than bake up their own twist on a familiar recipe, creating the zombie-film equivalent of home-cooked comfort food. The acting is generally mediocre to awful, it could have used a lot more gore and the score is bewildering, segueing seemingly at random between quasi-porn music, traditional horror-movie synthesizer minimalism and cheeseball, goofy hard rock.

Despite those problems, it actually works a hell of a lot better than most of its SOV, backyard-auteur-epic contemporaries. This is a film that realizes what its limitations are and works within them. It wisely casts its two best actors in the lead roles, the writing is surprisingly good and it neither takes itself too seriously, nor plays everything for a cheap laugh. The best scenes work really well, especially the zombie battle in the woods and a cheesy but quite enjoyable battle royal between the two agents. And hell, when one of the biggest complaints about a movie like this is an inconsistent score, it’s already way, way ahead of the game. I could nitpick on some other issues — the pacing lags in a few spots, there is some painfully bad acting here and there (particularly the bouncer in the bar) and a few scenes are awkward and unbelievable (the bar scene, again) — but as a whole, it’s hard to consider Zombie Apocalypse anything but a triumph for what it is. I’m curious what he’d do with a real budget and a few competent actors, even though I doubt he’ll ever get either. Regardless, I’m keeping an eye out for Thompson’s next flick.

You can find more info about the movie (and order your own copy, if you are so inclined) at the Zombie Apocalypse web site.

2 Responses to “Zombie Apocalypse

  1. […] micro budget zombie movie Zombie Apocalypse (review here) is getting a sequel. It’s got a new cast, a bigger budget and it starts filming in the next […]

  2. […] fun micro-budget zombie opus Zombie Apocalypse (read my Zombie Apocalypse review here) is getting a sequel called Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption. New story, new characters, same […]

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