So I’m finally coming to the end of my month of horror films leading up to Halloween and I’ve decided that one of the final ones will be one that’s been on my “Films I Want to Watch” playlist on Youtube for a while, zombie film Disaster L.A. I thought it looked reasonable but the reviews have been very negative and the score on IMDB is a pitiful 3.6/10 (at the time of writing).
However, I’ve decided to stick with it for the reason that I’ve reviewed plenty of films that have looked crap and have had poor ratings and been left surprised. I’m not going to lie, I get the feeling that it’s not going to be the case this time but you never know.
So let’s get on with it then, three days and three reviews to go and then I can sit and relax.
A group of friends has recently relocated to Los Angeles and they are all enjoying life in their new city, although slacker Turner (Meagher) is the only one who has failed to secure work. The group are at a party when the ex-girlfriend of John (Ray) turns up with her new boyfriend. The two get into an argument and she leaves.
Soon after the group sees a report stating that a meteor that had previously gone unnoticed will pass by the Earth, just avoiding it. When the meteor passes L.A becomes covered in a strange smog. Everything seems fine at first and the smog passes, although Adam (Taber) is now feeling very ill.
Reports start to reach the group of people being attacked around the city and the news is now advising them to stay indoors and not interact with anyone. The group witnesses first hand one of their friends turning and decide that they must leave as soon as possible, although John refuses to leave without checking his ex is fine.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Better than I was expecting?
No, definitely not. Disaster LA tries it’s hardest to come up with a relatively new take on the zombie apocalypse theme and whilst the “radiation from a comet” is a new one as far as I’m aware, the rest of the film is just so lackluster that you end up laughing more than feeling scared.
The film just looks terrible and is not hiding it’s low budget very well, for example, when the news of the new meteor/comet comes on the news (something which NASA somehow managed to miss apparently), they show you the moon and because it’s got such a low resolution they think they can get away with saying that it’s the comet/meteor and it blatantly isn’t.
That’s just one of a plethora of carelessness throughout the film, others include characters just glaring at the zombies when they are hurtling towards them, zombies literally coming out of nowhere in the middle of the car park (massive open space, clearly nothing around on the wide angle, and then a zombie appears as if they’ve been there all along), the mild indifference when they see each other being eaten, and two far more idiotic levels of disregard that I’m going to focus on now.
There is a scene where a character is being chased down stairs by a set of zombies and the very fact I can’t remember the name of that character should tell you all you need to know about how much I care about his fate. He opens the door and then stands on the other side, holding it in place whilst the zombies desperately try and get through, however, when he runs off it’s shown that the door was actually a push door from the side he was pushing against. The side he is on is the push side of a door, so pushing it would have completely the opposite impact of what he’s trying to achieve and would allow the zombies in easily, especially as he starts pushing against it well before the zombies that are coming down the stairs catch up to him…..and yet no-one involved in the film seems to have noticed this.
And then, about 20 minutes from the end, the surviving characters are driving through a car park before seeing a zombie, slamming their breaks on and panicking as they don’t want to run them over. They then shout at her to move out of their way, almost as if she is blocking the entire road, the only problem with that is that she isn’t at all. There is at least 25 feet either side of her so they could have easily driven around, avoiding hitting her whilst also getting away. Their car is then stolen after they stop, yet there was no need to stop as they don’t have any space in the car. It’s just so feckless about it’s own logic, and the characters are so incredibly stupid, that you stop caring about them.
I liken that scene to the one in Austin Powers where he is on a steam roller, a guard is terrified he is about to get run over and doesn’t move through fear…and yet the steam roller is still a fair distance away and is going at a snail’s pace. It’s the same level of character stupidity and there’s no horror in a film where people are supposedly trying to avoid death, but who’s every action seems almost designed to put them in danger.
The “horror” throughout feels unnecessarily forced, convoluted and most definitely not scary. It just doesn’t flow at any point and everything feels beyond forced, and because of this I struggled to enjoy the film on any level, and I can see why it’s got such a low rating on IMDB.
I wouldn’t even be so bothered if it hadn’t blatantly stolen a major plot point from Cloverfield. Before they claim that they didn’t, both films have characters that are trying to survive events caused by extra-terrestrial bodies after a party celebrating their relocation. Soon the ex-girlfriend turns up with her new boyfriend and the main character gets jealous. When the main plot of the story starts occurring, the characters know that they must leave the now army-filled and quarantined city as possible, but the main character must go into an apartment building and find his ex-girlfriend. Later on in the film they are re-united and barely make it out alive. Granted, it’s not the main plot of either film, but that is a large portion of Cloverfield’s plot that Disaster L.A has stolen.
It is basically a lower budget, much crapper version of Cloverfield.
If you can switch off all common sense, logic and all that you’ve ever been taught about basic physics then you will probably enjoy Disaster L.A, but if you are capable of thought and reason then there’s not a chance that you will enjoy this film. It is beyond ridiculous.
When you make such stupid mistakes then you can’t be taken seriously, and even worse is having characters that look at a zombie that’s running towards then and seemingly not even be slightly alarmed.
If you’re going to watch this, do so in the knowledge that you’ll probably laugh at it’s stupidity more than being scared.