ORBzine - Zombie Apocalypse - Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Zombieland

Zombieland In a world overrun by Fast Zombies, a tweenager tries to survive by making a list of survival rules. He teams up with ultimate Zombie-killer Woody Harrelson ( 2012 ), but then they run into a pair of teenage sisters 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 isn't tied to the standard 3-act structure of action movies. It's 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).

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    The Knackery

    The Knackery 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's 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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    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

    Daybreakers 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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    Slither

    Slither 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 Sheriff Nathan ( 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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    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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    Legion

    Legion 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's 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 ).

    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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    Book of Eli

    Book of Eli Eli the Walker (Denzil Washington - Virtuosity ) is making his way on foot across a post-Apocalyptic USA. It's been 30 years since The War. Even though there's 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's 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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    Deadville

    Deadville 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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    Autumn

    Autumn It's 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's 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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    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 frash 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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