ORBzine - Zombie Apocalypse - Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Autumn (2009)

Autumn (2009) It is Autumn in Canada, and when the plague hits the people fall like leaves. The survivors include Dexter Fletcher, last seen in a car crusher in Kick-Ass. . And when society and civilisation have been destroyed, the dead walk the Earth.

In typical genre blindness the zombies are referred to as walkers. However, they are actually decomposing! It is good to see proper zombies, shuffling along - though the longer they are around the faster and more aggressive they become.

The film established a certain infamy due to a subplot with David Carradine ( Kill Bill ), as a hermit in one of his final appearances. Unfortunately this infamy involves a pre-release copy being pirated on the internet, which means that most on-line reviews are negative because the reviewers saw the unfinished version!

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    Book of Eli (2010)

    Book of Eli (2010) Eli the Walker (Denzil Washington - Virtuosity ) is making his way on foot across a post-Apocalyptic USA. It has been thirty years since The War. Even though there is enough gasoline for villains to get around, food and water are in short supply. Even the human flesh is tainted with an epidemic of BSE, instead of just the brains and spinal cords of a few unfortunate individuals.

    Eli's mission is to take the King James Version across the USA without showing it to anyone. After thirty years he is still at it, while most people could have got there in about three. That said, he reads more of it every day.

    By strange coincidence, the town that Eli wanders into is run by Gary Oldman ( Lost In Space ), who wants a copy of the Bible for himself. It seems that all the Bibles in the USA were destroyed by the survivors, who blamed it for the war. There must be some truth in the accusation, since the KJV is the most widely printed book in the English language!

    The stranger wanders into town, befriends a gorgeous young female who has family links to the local leader ... Yes, a bit like the storyline to Avatar . The truth is, this whole thing is quite generic. The fight scenes are impressive, but get more and more overblown as the villains throw ever more firepower at the apparently unkillable action hero.

    The film's theme is Faith. But due to the nature of the McGuffin, this is all a bit blatant. Nothing like the subtlety of Shawshank Redemption , for example. Given the fact that the survivors blamed the Bible enough to deliberately abolish it, and the vast amount of bloodshed it has caused during Eli's walk ... was it really worth it? Especially in a world where almost everyone is illiterate!

    Mila Kunis gets to do more than most girls in action movies do - for example, this would pass the Bechtel test. Ray Stevenson ( Rome ) and Jennifer Beals round out the excellent cast as Oldman's henchman and blind moll respectively, while Michael Gough ( Harry Potter ) and Frances De La Tour have cameos as OAP survivalists.

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    The Clearing (2020)

    The Clearing (2020) A man (Liam MacIntyre - Spartacus: War Of The Damned ) and his teenage daughter have gone on a camping trip together. He wakes up one morning to discover that she has gone for a walk by herself. Even worse, the camp-ground is overrun with Fast Zombies! Our hero must not merely survive, besieged in his caravan, but escape and find his daughter again.

    This was written and directed by a single person, which is never a good sign. There are five speaking roles, while there are forty stunt players and fifty background artists as zombies. Obviously the focus is on the violence, although the action scenes are choppy and close-up. Combined with the fact that Rick from The Walking Dead would have wiped the zombies out a lot quicker, it is all a bit unsatisfying.

    In all fairness, the best bit is probably the father-daughter relationship. Somehow he lacks the basic skills of a parent, since he alienates both his offspring and the girl's mother. Almost as if he is meant to be a step-father instead of an actual dad.

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    The Crazies (2010)

    The Crazies (2010) This is a remake of the 1970s film by the master of modern Zombie films, George A. Romero . It's incredible to think that the modern concept of Fast Zombies, so annoyingly popular these days, was originally invented by the same man who invented the slow-moving Romero zombie so many years ago.

    Small-Town Sheriff Timothy Olyphant ( Die Hard 4.0 ) discovers that folks in his town are acting strangely ... then turning homicidal. The suspense is ramped up when it turns out a government plane has contaminated the water supply, and the whole town has been infected with something terrible.

    When the military seals off the town, the Sheriff escapes to save his wife, Doctor Radha Mitchell . And bloodshed ensues!

    The film is American Jedi versus Fast Zombies, which would have been a great tag line (copyright notwithstanding) and works well as a one-line review. It's far above average as zombie films go - Romero didn't direct, but he produced it, and it works much better than expected. There's great character development, the acting is spot-on, and cliches are actually avoided! Well, mostly ...

  • The Crazies (1973)
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    Day of the Dead (2008)

    Day of the Dead (2008) Ving Rhames and Mena Suvari lead a US military unit assigned to cordon off a small US redneck town. It turns out that the place is being overrun with Fast Zombies. Suvari is a local girl, so she wants to save her brother and his GF ( Annalynne McCord ).

    This is basically a B-movie with an overblown SPFX budget. Once infected, a zombie's face grows prosthetic splotches like something from Evil Dead , and there's a lot of CGI used when zombies are killed. The shaky camerawork doesn't really add much to the plot.

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    Daybreakers (2009)

    Daybreakers (2009) This is set in a future where the vampires have taken over from humans as the dominant species. It's perhaps the truest version of I Am Legend that has ever been filmed, although the influence of Matheson's novel is not acknowledged. The directors are a pair of twin brothers from Australia who also work as SPFX techs, so visual effects play a big role in this. For example, Vamps burst into flames when staked, though strangely not when decapitated.

    Ethan Hawke ( Gattaca ) is a scientist working on a synthetic blood substitute. He only drinks pigs blood, though nobody has thought of mass-marketing this as a substitute. Human blood is running out, and starving vamps are degrading into full-blown Sub-suckers.

    What starts out as a futuristic drama like Gattaca turns into action-adventure closer to John Carpenter's Vampire$ when our reluctant protagonist meets Willem Dafoe ( Spiderman ), a cured vamp. Together they have to fight off the Vampire Army run by Sam Neill ( The Dish ), and perfect the cure.

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    The Dead (2010)

    The Dead (2010)

  • The Dead 2 (2013)
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    The Dead 2 (2013)

    The Dead 2 (2013) The original movie concerned a zombie outbreak in Africa. This movie is set in the same world, where sailors who got infected in African ports have disembarked in India. The protagonist is an American engineer who is working in the remote countryside. When he realises the outbreak is underway, he tries to make his way to his pregnant lover in Mumbai.

    Despite the Mumbai setting, this lacks the budget associated with Bollywood movies. Instead there are a handful of extras playing zombies, and pretty much every single shot is in extreme close-up. As a result it is difficult to worl out what is really going on.

    The protagonist would not last very long in The Walking Dead , because he never even thinks of stabbing the zombies in the head. He even panics when he sees some soldiers use legitimate quarantine tactics, such as isolating people who have been bitten and then giving them a mercy-killing head-shot.

    That said, there is a scene reminiscent of The Mist when the protagonist has to deliver a mercy-killing head-shot himself.

  • The Dead (2000)
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    The Dead Don't Die (2019)

    The Dead Don't Die (2019) Sheriff Cliff (Bill Murray - Zombieland ) protects and serves a small town in the USA, helped by his deputies Ronnie (Adam Driver - Star Wars: TFA ) and Mindy ( Chloe Sevigny ). Unfortunately the town is subject to an attack by zombies.

    The townsfolk include Hank (Danny Glover - Age of Dragons ) and Frank (Steve Buscemi - ) - not to mention the katana-wielding funeral director ( Tilda Swinton ). There is also a trio of hipsters from Cleveland, including Selena Gomez , who stay the night in the local motel.

    Just like in the George Romero movies, the zombies gravitate towards things they used to do when they were alive. Romero used this to parody 1970s consumerism, but Jarmush has updated this and mocks the modern obsession with checking

    The film emphasises comedy over horror. For example, somehow decomposition has turned the zombie's blood into powder so there is no gore when they are decapitated.

    Jarmush has added a level of surrealism far beyond the average zombie film. Deputy Driver is incredibly genre aware, although the character is a Star Wars fan while the actor was in the franchise. Driver almost breaks the fourth wall at times, with references to the theme song and the script.

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    Deadville (2010)

    Deadville (2010) The film starts by introducing us to a couple of likeable characters. This important with regards to creating genuine suspense later.

    After the intro credits, the story skips forward six months to a post-Apocalyptic scenario. The world has been overrun by slow zombies. Our protagonist must trek from the relative safety of his remote cabin into Belfast in order to find a cure. He meets a couple of scientists, but the stress of constant threat from Zombie attack has driven them ... unstable.

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    Death Do Us Part (2018)

    Death Do Us Part (2018) A young couple living in an English city (or is it Danish?) have a strained marriage, hardly ever talking to each other. Luckily a zombie apocalypse breaks out.

    Since this review is being written during the CoViD-19 outbreak period, a lot of it seems a bit too close for comfort. The first newscast includes mention of a vaccine, and the husband jokes that a company might have invented the plague in order to sell the vaccine. This is a bit to close to the right-wing conspiracy theorists Later there is mention of food rationing, although in real life the real issue was toilet paper.

    The couple's relationship was bad at the start of the movie, so for the story to develop it naturally gets better. They adapt well to the situation, and even take some sensible precautions regarding the zombies.

    There are other survivors, which leads on to parody of the awkward British dinner party. There is even a take on the Sex Wars scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However, we are soon reminded that this is a Walking Dead scenario as the survivors must compete for scarce resources.

    It turns out the wife abused her position as a worker in a police station by stealing items from the evidence locker ... including a glock pistol. Ironically, in a case of genre blindness nobody in this movie takes any head-shots. Luckily two or three rounds in the chest are good enough to kill one of the zombies, but they still go through their limited ammunition twice as fast as they should.

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    Feral (2017)

    Feral (2017) A bunch of tweenagers go camping in the woods. During the night, a couple of them are attacked by an unknown monster. Luckily, a local hillbilly passes by and invites the survivors to his Cabin in the Woods .

    It turns out that the monster was a fast zombie. Now the survivors find themselves menaced by their former friends, and everyone bitten becomes infected.

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    Juan Of The Dead (2011)

    Juan Of The Dead (2011) A Cuban fisherman named Juan is trapped during a zombie plague The government decides to blame it all on dissidents backed by the USA. The younger generation are very pro-USA, and their plan is to emigrate there ASAP. This takes on a new urgency, as their homeland is now a zom-pocalypse.

    The soft approach this movie takes towards Cuban/American relations may be a sign that Obama's soft-pedal approach was successful.

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    The Knackery (2009)

    The Knackery (2009) This is George Clarke 's follow-up to Battle of the Bone , shot on location in County Down, Norn Iron, for a budget of a hundred quid. It is far superior to the original film, and well worth a watch.

    Six contestants are sent into a disused slaughterhouse, where they must hunt each other to the death. Worse, dozens of Fast Zombies are then released into the area.

    The combination of kung-fu and zombie gore is familiar, but if you are into that kind of thing then you should love this film.

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    Legion (2010)

    Legion (2010) Dennis Quaid ( Inner Space, Dragonheart ) runs a greasy spoon truckstop in the Nevada desert, with son Lucas Black ( American Gothic ) and cook Charles S. Dutton ( Aliens 3 ). But the TV and phone lines go dead, there are ominous clouds on the horizon, it is your basic Apocalypse!

    The survivors are trapped inside the building, besieged by hordes of the . Luckily, they are helped by a heavily-armed stranger named Michael (Paul Betanny - Knight's Tale ). Their mission is to help a pregnant woman ( Adrianne Palicki ) give birth.

    What sets this apart from other Zombie flicks is the magical, specifically pseudo-Christian, nature of the infection. Jehovah has decided to destroy the human race, so he sends his Angels to do the dirty work. The theme is one of Faith, though this is not much touched upon. But as the saying goes, There are no atheists in foxholes.

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    Maggie (2015)

    Maggie (2015) A zombie apocalypse has just begun. Wade (Arnold Schwartznegger - Terminator (1984) ) collects his tweenage daughter Maggie ( Abigail Breslin ) from the hospital. Unfortunately she has been bitten, and will eventually turn into a zombie.

    Breslin's previous movies include Zombieland (2009) , a blockbuster Zom-Com. However, this is a hard-edged drama. Maggie settles down with her father and mother ( Joely Richardson ). But the clock is ticking. There is no cure for zombification.

  • Zombieland (2009)
  • Zombieland 2: Double Tap (2019)
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    The ReZort (2015)

    The ReZort (2015) This starts with found footage of a TV news broadcast, which delivers all the necessary exposition. In the ten years since a zombie apocalypse, civilisation has recovered. The only zombies left are confined to an island which is used as a tourist resort where paying guests can shoot the zombies for fun.

    The protagonist ( Jessica De Gouw ) and her ex-soldier boyfriend (Martin McCann - The Survivalist ) go for a trip to the resort. A bit like Jurassic Park (1993) , the place has its own fleet of landrovers.

    Valerie Wilcox ( Claire Goose ) is the owner/operator of the ReZort. Her motto is that every Apocalypse deserves an After Party.

    An unshaven drunken has-been (Dougray Scott - Mission Impossible 2 ) has tagged along for some reason. The presence of a relative ly big name like him goes some way to explaining how the movie got a fairly decent budget, despite receiving little or no marketing and distribution spend.

    For visitor safety, the target zombies in the CQB section are chained up. That said, most tourists blaze away on full auto without making head-shots. As a result, it is no wonder that the island's zombie population has not significantly fallen in the last ten years. Strangely, while the undead may lumber around most of the time they turn into Fast Zombies whenever the plot demands it.

    Just like in all those movies and TV shows based on the works of Michael Crichton , things eventually go badly wrong. This is a combination of corporate espionage, sabotage and poor design of the security system. Everything is linked into a central computer, with no backups if it all fails. Yes, just like the villains in Star Wars: Phantom Menace .

    A small team of survivors try to make it across the island to safety before a drone strike napalms everything. Of course, to make it dramatic they get picked off one at a time.

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    Slither (2006)

    Slither (2006) A meteorite lands near a remote town in the USA. Local git Michael Rooker ( Mallrats ) gets infected by an alien life-form that wants to spread and take over the world. Soon the whole town is infected by brain-slugs, like Puppet Masters , but more gross and disgusting. Only Rooker's wife ( Elizabeth Banks ) and the Sheriff (Nathan Fillion - Serenity ) can save the world ...

    This is a tongue-in-cheek horror, very self-knowing. Cliches are bypassed and turned around. Not a bad film.

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    Zombieland (2009)

    Zombieland (2009) In a world overrun by Fast Zombies, a tweenager (Jesse Eisenberg - Batman Vs Superman ) tries to survive by making a list of survival rules. He teams up with ultimate Zombie-killer Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson - 2012 ), but then they run into a pair of teenage sisters ( Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin ) who have a plan of their own.

    The miss-matched quartet drive across the country formally known as the USA, in search of sanctuary (and something called Twinkies). They crash at a mansion in Hollywood, which leads on to an amazing cameo by Bill Murray ( City of Ember ).

    This is not tied to the standard three-act structure of action movies. It is more like a road movie; a series of encounters on a journey the characters are making. The film is very fresh in its approach, lacking cliches (except when it re-invents them).

  • Zombieland 2: Double Tap (2019)
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    Zombieland 2 (2019)

    Zombieland 2 (2019) The story starts ten years after the end of the previous movie. Our heroes have made a new home for themselves - the White House, Washington DC. Unfortunately the sisters ( Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin ) feel they are being stifled by the males, so they leave a note and set out by themselves. Breslin is no longer a child, and is bursting out of her tiny tee-shirts.

    Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg - Batman Vs Superman ) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson - 2012 ) go out after the sisters. Columbus gets a new love interest - Madison ( Zoe Deutch ), a bimbo who he likens to the Amber Heard character in the first film. In a somewhat Meta scene which reminds us that the zom-pocalypse started before the smart-phone revolution, Madison basically invents the idea of ride-share apps like Uber ... which the other characters all mock.

    On their trip, the heroes meet up with a few other survivors. Nevada ( Rosario Dawson ) is Tallahassee's perfect woman, while Albaquerque (Luke Wilson - Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle ) is more like a weird clone of him. He even has a nerdy young sidekick of his own!

    Finally, the heroes get to a sanctuary named Babylon. There are a few problems with the place. To start with, the hippies who run it melt down any guns brought by new arrivals. In other words, there are no weapons in the place. Secondly, the hippies advertise the place's location using noisy music and lights and fireworks. In other words, the zombies are going to come knocking for an amazingly violent finale!

  • Zombieland (2009)
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    Wayne Simmons novels

    Drop Dead Gorgeous

    Drop Dead Gorgeous A motley collection of individuals are going about their lives in the Greater Belfast Area, Norn Iron, when suddenly 99.9% of the population drops dead! This is an unexplained phenomenon, similar to The Happening , but it allows for a Survivors -style post-Apocalyptic survival story set in Northern Ireland.

    The book is well-written, with strongly drawn characters. The story is sold as being a zombie Apocalypse, but the undead only rise during the third section of the book.

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    Flu

    Flu This is Wayne Simmons' follow-up to Drop Dead Gorgeous. There are similarities in both setting and event, but this is more than just a rehash. The author has taken a completely fresh stance on the Zombie Apocalypse scenario, although he has retained the Northern Ireland setting.

    While his previous work was really a post-apocalyptic drama, this time we get uncomfortably close to the infected from the get-go. A global flu epidemic has mutated, turning sufferers into good old-fashioned slow zombies. Our protagonists, a familiar mix of Security Forces and unrepentant IRA terrorists, have to fight for their lives.

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    Soon

    Soon

  • 2000
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