Just because it’s the end of the world it doesn’t mean that people can’t clean up!
I love me a good zombie film, however, before I watched Zombie Apocalypse I saw the list of films made by the same company and for a lack of better words, they have put out some absolutely diabolical films and rip offs over the last decade or so, the most famous of their films being Sharknado. It was at that moment I lost any hope that this film would be good.
It’s also generally a rule that films that debut on the channel “Syfy” are going to be generally bad. Films that appear on there are often low budget, not that being low budget necessarily means it’ll be a poor film, with fine two examples being the previously reviewed “Exit Humanity” and the werewolf romp “Ginger Snaps” but in general they have to do well not to fall into being considered trash, despite that I decided that this would be a film that I would just have to see for just two reasons. The first is the aforementioned love of zombie films and the second is that the genre is so inconsistent that despite all the misgivings, it might actually be worth while.
The reason I say inconsistent is that zombie films can be brilliant, such as George A Romero’s “of the Dead” films (well, Night, Dawn and Land, the rest are crap), or they can be horrendous, such as most of the Resident Evil film series, but it is probably the genre I am most open minded about and so I decided to give this film a chance. I wish I hadn’t
Following on from a outbreak of a virus that turns people into zombies, a group of survivors head to a rumoured safe-location.
As time progresses they must fight the zombies, other survivors and most importantly, their own stupidity.
So it’s awful then?
Let me put it this way, I would not only class this as trash, but I would go as far as saying it’s one of the worst films I have ever seen in ANY genre.
First of all, it’s a very tired plot that you will see in virtually every post-apocalyptic film. It’s a group of survivors that hears of a place where they will be safe and make a dangerous journey to get there. Now, I can forgive similar plots in general, afterall how often do you see a truly original film, but this offers precisely nothing that you haven’t seen before, infact, if anything I’m certain that this film is a low-budget ripoff of both “Land of the Dead” and the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”. I know LOTD very well as it’s one of my favourite zombie films and because of this watching “Zombie Apocalypse”, even though I’d never seen it before, felt very familiar. I knew what was going to happen before it even happened and I don’t enjoy those experiences as it’s just not an enjoyable way to watch a film.
Infact, here’s a list of some the blatantly ripped off parts from the aforementioned movies.
- The film starts with a group scavenging supplies in what appears to be a shop, one is bitten. Pretty much exactly how LOTD starts.
- In ZA the survivors distract zombies by throwing a noisemaker at them, in LOTD they distract them by releasing fireworks.
- In both DOTD and ZA the characters sit around a table, eating a rare prepared meal, talking about their dead family members and what they did before the outbreak.
- One of the characters in ZA believes that the zombies like to get together in a pack and generally have a leader in each, this is one of the major plot points in LOTD.
- Some of the characters in ZA think that their best chance of safety is to get to a dock and onto a boat, this is a major plot point towards the end of DOTD
- Zombies in ZA learn from their experiences, such as dodging attacks or even retreating to later return with a larger group. One of the main aspects of the zombies in LOTD is that they evolve into smarter zombies and adapt to their surroundings/enemies.
- Ving Rhames stares out from a roof across a car park full of zombies and receives a message from someone on a distant roof. Happens in both DOTD and ZA.
- Characters find themselves trapped behind in an fence whilst the zombies try and the break through and/or climb over. They kill them by poking stuff like swords through the gaps in both DOTD and ZA
The film starts off with a brief history of the virus, including it’s origins in France and then the spread across the world. Ok, not an awful intro and it’s one that reminds me a lot of the excellent “28 Days Later” but it then loses me when the government try and solve the zombie apocalypse by detonating an EMP device for no apparent reason. Now, for those that don’t know what an EMP is, it’s an electro-magnetic pulse, which is when fired stops all electrical activity within a certain distance. If you’ve seen The Matrix trilogy, they use the technology in that on several occasions.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it since the first minute and launching an EMP does pretty much sod all to prevent the infection spreading. If it was done to prevent the virus spreading via means such as planes, trains, etc, then it’s not really going to make that much difference as it’s already clearly in Europe and North America, both of which are parts of the two largest populated landmasses on the planet. You can get from the very reaches of northern Norway to the very tip of South Africa or south eastern Asia without once having to use transport, so realistically launching an EMP for those purposes is pretty pointless. Although obviously it would take a long time to walk from Norway to the aforementioned places, all an EMP would do in that situation is slow the rate of infection down but it wouldn’t stop it, meaning that there is very little point in doing it.
The only places that would be relatively safe from new infection because of an EMP would island locations with no land links to already infected countries, such as the whole of Australasia, Hawaii, Iceland, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it would have some positive affects, but they are extremely few and far between and it just feels completely pointless causing the world to lose electricity.
Infact, it starts off the film near enough as it means to go on as for the rest of the film the characters just make stupid decision after stupid decision, so much to the point where you wonder if becoming a zombie would actually impact their intelligence.
Just two examples that cover that occur when, in one of many scenes throughout that rip of “Land of the Dead”, Ramona doesn’t want to be attacked by a horde of zombies that are wandering nearby but then decides to shout at the people with her to warn them that there are zombies nearby. Within minutes a character called Billy just stands there throwing random items at the zombies that are getting extremely close to him. He ignores that he is outside and can easily escape as there is precisely nothing blocking his path his his left. Without trying to ruin the film, he gets in the exact same situation later on in the film, albeit indoors, but again he fails to take the escape route, instead he just stands there and waits for the zombies to attack him.
It’s not just the characters that are stupid in the opening scene though as after a few minutes they are joined by an arse-kicking brigade from out of nowhere and one of them has a sword. She’s swings it wildly, taking out several zombies successfully before then going to stab one of them in the heart. It’s so poorly made that you can see that there is a visible gap of at least six inches between the sword and the zombie’s chest when blood comes spurting out of it’s back like it has been stabbed all of the way through. It’s terrible film making at it’s finest. I can understand that you don’t want your actor actually hurt, but at least make it look realistic.
As I say, it doesn’t just stop there with the stupidity and another fine example comes just just before the twenty minute mark where they don’t want to kill a zombie because it would make too much noise and attract other zombies. Within two minutes of saying that they smash open a lock, shout “are there any humans here?” and then bellow out “hello?”, it is just tedious to watch. Infact all they do is create noise throughout the film and are then surprised that the zombies are able to track them.
I often think of what I would do if there was a zombie apocalypse (doesn’t hurt to be prepared just incase) and I can safely say that in no sense would I act as stupidly as these characters do. It’s a wonder that there are still any of them left by the 20 minute mark and I almost refuse to believe that the characters could actually survive long enough to live to the post-apocalyptic stage.
With regards to this film I can’t even blame the awful acting for not caring about the characters, they’re just written in such a painfully bad way that it’s impossible to care for the characters or what happens to them, although the acting isn’t anything to write home about. No cast member comes out of this film well, especially Taryn Manning, arguably most famous for his role as the religious nutjob Tiffany in “Orange is the New Black.” Don’t get me wrong, Manning isn’t a terrible actress and her role in the aforementioned show proves that as she is excellent as that character, but she is not a strong enough actress to pull off the “girl next door” style character that you get in a lot of horror films. Some of my favourite horror films with female leads are excellent because of the performances of that actress, such as Katherine Isabelle in the excellent “Ginger Snaps” or if you want a better known example, think of Ripley in the Alien franchise.
There is one thing that surprises me about a fair few recent trash-horror films, Ving Rhames has been in a LOT of them. Ving was in a lot of enjoyable films in the 1990s, such as “Con Air” and the brilliant “Pulp Fiction” but since then he’s had a bit of a downfall and it seemed to start off with him having a role in the excellent remake of “Dawn of the Dead”, the less than excellent remake of “Day of the Dead” and the incredible ill-fated remake of Piranha, which was still better than it’s atrocious sequel, Piranha 3DD. He just seems to play the same character in each movie and if you didn’t know any better, you would think that the character he plays in Zombie Apocalypse is the same one he played in “Dawn of the Dead”.
I’d look at getting another agent if I was Ving.
If you’ve seen either “Land of the Dead” or “Dawn of the Dead” then you have already seen this film.
If you fancy watching 90 minutes of pure crap then this is definitely the film for you. I would go as far as saying that this is one of the worst films I have ever seen.