Zombie Extravaganza!

I like all self-respecting horror fans love a good zombie movie and they are certainly churned out in generous numbers, even touching the small screen with The Walking Dead. Since my youth (not too long ago) I have found my dreams plagued with zombies, with me always waking up just before I’m bitten. As such I have developed a nice healthy obsession with the subgenre and recently I’ve found quite a lot crossing my path, some good, some bad, some wacky and some that slip under the radar. So here’s a quick-snap guide to some of my recent zombie discoveries and as always, a frank and honest opinion on their zombie credentials.

Flight of the Living Dead (2007)

On a routine flight from LA to Paris some female contraband, infected with a potent virus that re-animates the dead, is smuggled aboard by a shady trio of scientists. Naturally the plane experiences some turbulence and the troublesome cargo manages to escape and savages her guardian. As the infection begins to spread the planes ragtag collection of passengers/staff are infected and before long all hell has broken loose. The survivors find themselves with nowhere to run with an ever-increasing horde of zombies pursuing them.
Well where better to start than a highlight? This film does exactly what it says on the tin, zombies on a plane… just when you thought they had run out of ideas. Once you move past the obscene location you come to find it’s not as limiting as it first might seem. It’s fast paced, action packed and fun. Sure, it doesn’t exactly cover any new ground but it has been crafted enthusiastically and aims to entertain; it does just that.

Score: 444/666

Diary of the Dead (2007)

George A. Romero’s offering for the camhorror subgenre. A group of young film student’s amateur horror film becomes a horrifying reality when a zombie outbreak begins. In the initial confusion they run down an attacking zombie which causes the guilt ridden driver to attempt suicide. When they take her to the hospital it dawns on them that the outbreak is very real and those who manage to make it out of the hospital alive begin a desperate odyssey to reunite with their families.

A slightly below average film in Romero’s fumbling “of the Dead” series. Overall it lacks any real insight or intensity whilst also avoiding lightheartedness and fun. I think the best word to describe Diary of the Dead would be flat.

Score: 222/666

Dance of the Dead (2008)

As the school dance looms, all the students, including the nerdy, outcast protagonists of the film get their dresses and tuxedos at the ready in preparation for the big day. Unfortunately the zombies have other ideas and decide to rise, en mass, to start a little party of their own. Pockets of teens struggle for survival and eventually come together to fight the horde. Circumstances force them to attend the dance and finish off the party-crashing zombies once and for all.

I’m torn with this movie. While I have no issues with the low-budget quality or even the many inconsistencies within the film I had a battle of my own to fight for most of the running time, boredom. I really wanted to like it because the film reeked of good intention unlike many of the stock zombie movies that are churned out every year. However it just couldn’t keep my attention. Don’t get me wrong, there are flashes of brilliance throughout, including zombies literally bursting from the grave into a full speed sprint but these moments were fleeting and the film went back to its drifting, and somewhat dull feel that prevailed for much of the movie.

Score: 222/666

Deadgirl (2008)

Deadgirl centres around two highschool boys, Rickie & J.T, whose truanting takes them to an abandoned mental hospital. During their petty destruction of the building they discover a blocked door and after some procrastination, force their way in. The room contains and apparently dead woman tied to a bed and closer inspection shows she is, in fact, moving. As they try to figure out what to do Rickie shows a disturbing eagerness to keep her there as a “sex slave” and when thing get out of hand during his molestation of the woman he discovers that she cannot die. As J.T battles with his conscience, news of the dead girl gets out and other local boys decide to sample her. Guilt, jealousy and madness cause things to spiral into a nightmare which puts J.T crush, Joann, in the firing line.

This film is a very disturbing venture into the darker side of human nature. Whilst it’s certainly not for the squeamish or the easily offended and sometimes it is hard to watch, I would highly recommend it and its original and brutal take on the zombie movie.

Score: 444/666

Outpost (2008)

When Hunt enlists a group of ex-soldiers to assist him in his travels through no-mans land to an abandoned WW2 bunker they think its easy money. Once at the bunker a gruesome discovery adds an unexpected twist to the proceedings. As evidence begins to pile up indicating that the bunker was in fact once the site for gruesome Nazi experiments carried out on their own soldiers, the group must brave both the siege from mysterious assailants above ground and the horror that stalks them in the darkness below.

This is a slick, enjoyable little film that doesn’t offer much in the way of originality but does offer some genuinely chilling moments and a terrifying, bleak ending. Give it a shot.

Score: 333/666

Pontypool (2008)

When local radio host Grant Mazzy starts to get strange reports of disturbances and vicious attacks, he believes them to be a hoax. However when a testimony from roving reporter Ken Loney confirms the claims he and the other staff at the station are forced to confront the grim reality of what’s happening outside. When the bizarre nature of the infection becomes apparent, they realise there is nowhere to hide and they must deal with one of their numbers infection as well as the more immediate danger that is gathering outside.

I know zombie purists might object to my inclusion of this but I feel its well placed here. While this film is very intriguing it is not for those among us who like their zombie movies full of blood and evisceration. The movie starts slowly, building tension and dread through accounts of what’s happening and the increasing hysteria of the core characters. This subtle and cerebral piece is a great alternative zombie flick.

Score: 444/666


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