This is not a slasher film with a serial killer. Instead, the killers are fast zombies left over from unethical experiments on convicts. The victims are inexperienced students, so they can be excused for not acting like professionals, although this does take things borderline close to the clichťs of the Dead teenager movie.
US General Keith David ( The Thing (1982) ) wants to napalm the whole area. The clock ticks down until he calls in an airstrike. This is a blatant piece of phony jeopardy, taken from top-notch action film The Rock.
Luckily, Steven Seagal ( Under Siege ) and a bunch of special forces goons walk around in stylish black trench-coats. Like all real-life SWAT men should, Seagal comes with his own katana. Courtesy of the SyFy channel, of course.
There is also a mad scientist, an apparent reference to Italian zombie movie Dr Butcher . He only has a couple of scenes, however - he is terribly under-used, and most of the movie is a series of hand-to-hand encounters with the Infected.
We move forward to the modern day. How long will the cliched group of tweenagers last? They may be enthusistic at off-road racing, but they are led by an archaeology professor who believes the legends.
The scenery is amazing, but the story soon gets taken over by the TV-budget CGI SPFX.
The staff eat poisoned meat, and turn into cannibalistic monsters. The inmates (including Elizabeth Harnois - playing a teenager despite having hit thirty) have to fight for their lives.
The movie ran out of funds half-way through. As a result, a couple of characters are mysteriously off-screen for most of the film, and there is no third act. Seriously, there is no denouement or climax!
Unfortunately, the characters are mainstream folks who exhibit typical genre blindness. They ignore suspicious signs, like an abandoned car on the roadside (smeared with blood, if they had cared to look). Also, there is no sign of life anywhere around the holiday home they rented.
It turns out that there is one or more fast Zombies on the loose. When these fellows start to run, they go at full pelt and they keep going.
The rules of zombie-ism are a bit twisted. A bite turns the victim into a fast zombie, but there is a magical voodoo cure. However, even after the good guys discover there is a cure they still feed most of their zombie classmates into the woodchipper!
A theatre company of twenty-somethings in brightly-coloured clothing go to an island with a large cemetary. The company's director wants to act out a satanic ritual with a genuine corpse.
About half-way through the film, the corpses come back to life. The kids board themselves up in an abandoned house, like in Night of the Living Dead .
The good news is, they are slow zombies - with the walking speed of the average Old Age Pensioner. Unfortunately, our heroes want to save their grandma and her friends who are in a nearby nursing home filled with retired Eastenders bit-players.
The main twist is that the zombies are entranced by Heavy Metal music, which the band use like snake-charmers.
This is not an action thriller, it is more of a survival drama - like Blair Witch Project . Unfortunately, this effort suffers in the comparison. The characters have their flaws, but one cannot really care for any of them.
Hulking mercenary Craig Fairbrass has to hunt down the cure, the only test subject known to be immune to the drug - Myanna Buring . She has teamed up with her estranged ex-husband (Danny Dyer - ), a disgraced ex-cop who knows how to handle himself. Along with some dodgy types (including Jamie Murray ) they try to survive the Zombie free-runner apocalypse.
Police Chief Bob Hoskins ( Who Framed Roger Rabbit ) and Prime Minister Alexander Siddig ( Star Trek: DS9 ) send Rhona Mitra north to rescue Malcolm McDowell ( Clockwork Orange ) and get the cure. Her team include Adrian Lester ( Robin Hood ) and Sean Pertwee ( Event Horizon ). The result is some full-throttle car chases and great action scenes with cannibalistic punks.
This was directed by Uwe Boll , but compared to his bigger-budgeted, poorly-produced American efforts this is quite watchable.
Basically, there has been a zombie outbreak caused by a dodgy ingredient in a new brand of frozen food.
The characters are a predictable mish-mash of archetypes - the gamer who is meta about the zombie apocalypse cliches, the sports jock and the counter-culture gamer girl. There is even a cut-price Jack Black! But the low budget seems to save it - there are no recognisable stars with the baggage of previous roles, merely some relatively underwritten characters.
Part One is set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. It was ended when scientists discovered a cure for zombification. Former zombies, now known as PDS sufferers, are re-integrated into society. The only one to look after them is a village nurse who looks too young to have a son in his 20s. The local Militia, the HVF (Human Volunteer Force), is still active in the village - killing suspected zombies.
Part Two: The protagonist bumps into a fellow PDS sufferer, a girl he used to hunt with. They go to the funfair together.
The HVF go out hunting in the woods. Yes, there are still rabid rotters on the loose. Will the Militia hand them in for the reward, or kill them in cold blood?
Part Three: The Protagonist decides to reveal what happened to the missing girl. Some folks show an incredible level of denial. Others show intolerance that is all too human.
This is like a fantasy version of Burke and Hare , where as well as dealing in actual corpses they have to contend with zombies.
Six tweenagers go for a camping trip at a remote site. They cram themselves and their gear into a single jeep, obviously knowing or caring little about safety procedures. This would have been a good setup for a basic survival story, but that would have required writing some characters that were believable and that we actually cared about. Instead, typical of the writer-director wankfest that is the modern Indie horror scene, the writer-director took the OTT supernatural violence route.
The site is cursed, and one of the tweenagers becomes a fast zombie. She starts to bump off the others, because she is controlled by an evil cave that has rapist tentacles straight out of Evil Dead .
Lance Reddick ( Fringe ) is leader of a military unit that comes to the city. But can he and his men be trusted? After all, in a post-apocalyptic world the greatest danger comes from other survivors.
Cast aside, this is a generic modern zombie movie. The zombies themselves only represent exactly as much danger to the protagonists as is demanded by the script. The result is an uneven tone to the film.
Basically, the bitchy/sexy killer is a college student who works her way through the campus. The plot takes an even bigger turn when the medical students start bringing the murder victims back as zombies!
This story is told in three episodes, each centring around a different character.
There are some nice references to The Prisoner , including a Dwarfish butler.
Our heroes are a military team who have gone AWOL and decided to prey on the living while running from the dead. They end up getting involved with some canadian actors with terrible Oirish Accents supposedly playing hillbillies living on Plum Island, Delaware.
Oirishman Kenneth Walsh ( Twin Peaks ) has a feud with a more powerful Oirish clan, and gets exiled from the island. Can he get back to see his daughter (played by an actress who looks like Maggie Siff from Sons of Anarchy)?
Jason London ( Mallrats ) tries to lead the survivors to safety. Unfortunately they tend to get split off into smaller groups, then picked off one at a time.
Police Chief C Thomas Howell ( Peter Benchley's Amazon ) tries to contain the situation. Federal Agent Judd Nelson (Breakfast Club) tries to arrange a cover-up.
The main story concerns a video-journalist documenting a TA (military reservist) unit. Their fortified camp is slowly overrun by Romero Zombies (not FAST ones, the usual slow and lumbering ones). The military blaze away on full auto, wasting lots of ammo and forgetting about headshots. A handful escape, and try to get to safety.
The military is unpopular with civilians, presumably due to a policy to stem the zombie plague by killing all infected before they turn. In contrast, the civilian survivors seem to be bandits.
As well as the main officer and the cameraman there is a blonde civilian woman and a couple of redshirts - a female soldier and a token black guy. Who will get bumped off first?
The story depends on experts being incapable of doing their jobs properly. The Israeli Defence Force can no longer maintain a secure perimeter, while the World Health Organisation cannot prevent a disease outbreak in their top-level containment facility.
This is a big-budget zombie movie - something of a contradiction in terms, really. It even uses the term zombie in dialogue, something that never happened in the George A Romero films. It is based on a novel, bt the original writer has apparently disowned it because he wanted Romero-type slow zombies instead of Fast ones.
The main twist is that unlike in America there are no gun stores, so they arm up with sporting equipment instead!
A TV journalist ( Jennifer Carpenter ) and her cameraman are covering the night shift of the local fire department. The fire-fighters get called out to an old apartment building, so the camera crew tag along. Then the CDC turns up and quarantines the building and everyone in it.
It turns out that a super-virulent strain of rabies is turning the inhabitants into Fast Zombies. The survivors get picked off one at a time, though the Found Footage format replaces old cliches with new ones. Lots of running around in the dark, the infamous Heather Gallagher scene and so on.
Our heroines are a couple of stewardesses who board a late-night flight out of Los Angeles. One of the passengers watches a live emergency broadcast online, obviously a reference to the previous film.
There are a few potential sources of infection. One man is bitten by a supposedly tame hamster, while another is horribly ill with what might just be a bad case of food poisoning. We get a bit of suspense, but the outbreak is inevitable.
The crew manage to land at a nearby effort, but the survivors discover that they have been quarantined. Now, as well as fast zombies, there is a bit of a conspiracy to worry about. This gives us slightly more background on the Doomsday Cult that is apparently behind the virus.
Our hero wakes up dead, and his day gets worse from there. He discovers he was murdered and then reanimated as a walking corpse. Luckily, one of the other zombies has also retained his mental faculties so they can actually have a conversation together. Unfortunately, they then run into the black Bruce Willis!
The zombies decide to go on a road trip so the hero can propose to his girlfriend. However, a US Government clean-up crew is on their tail.
Melanie is a young girl in a boarding school that is run more like a prison, guarded by British Army Sergeant Parker (Paddy Considine - Dead Man's Shoes ) and run by Doctor Caldwell ( Glenn Close ). The girl is a teacher's pet towards her teacher ( Gemma Arterton ), but she and her fellow inmates are guarded at all times.
The base is overrun by Fast Zombies, because a fungus transmitted through bodily fluids has been spreading for the last decade or so. A small group of survivors (the child and the big-name actors) flee the Fast Zombies, a scenario reminiscent of the last big British zombie movie - 28 Weeks Later . They have sound suppressors for their rifles, like in The Walking Dead , although knives are useless against the Fast Zombies.
Our heroes try to find the next sanctuary. They take the direct route - on foot through London! There, they stumble across the next stages in the zombies' evolution. One is the sporing process of the fungus itself. The other is a group of feral children, straight out of Lord of the Flies. Perhaps the Smart Zombies are the next step of humanity's evolution - a human-fungus symbiote that will replace humans as the dominant species, like the vampires in I Am Legend .
All in all this is an above-average effort. It is well-written (based on a novel) and has a great cast. However, instead of being a genre-changer (as the original Joe Straczynski script for World War Z is rumoured to have been) it merely feels slightly derivative.
Not only are human brains tasty and nutritious, but when a zombie eats them he absorbs the victim's memories. The zombies lumber along, but when food is close they can move very fast. This makes them more like The Infected (AKA Fast Zombies). And if they are infected, there may be a cure ...
Rombie and Julie encounter a few obstacles. She already has a BF - the annoying pretty-boy from Scrubs: Med School. Plus, she also has a psycho dad - the leader of the human resistance (John Malkovich - Con Air). Well, it is nice to see Cyrus the Virus as the potential SAVIOR of mankind!
Zombies that deteriorate too far become fast-moving CGI skeletons nicknamed Bonies. They are like the Sub-Suckers in Vampire Apocalypse film Daybreak , which had its own share of problems. This is convenient, because it allows the zombies and humans the chance to bond by teaming up against a mutual enemy.
Laurence Fishburne ( Event Horizon, Predators ) and Kate Winslett are the CDC boss and field agent respectively. International doctor Maria de Medeiros is in China, trying to find the original source.
Our heroes get ambushed by the cannibals. They dig in to make a last stand.
The Greater London Area gets depopulated, except for blind people. Sighted people are rounded up and handcuffed to the blind people, so as to make more effective foraging teams. But the Triffids are on the march, and soon they will rule the streets. They may lumber slowly, like zombies, but they also have vicious tentacles and they aim for their victim's eyes. Naturally, nobody thinks of blocking natural choke points like bridges so as to limit the Triffids' progress through the city.
Joely Richardson now works for Eddie Izzard, making a public service broadcast on the radio summoning survivors to London. She eventually becomes cynical about this.
Mason and Priestly hide out in a sanctuary run by Mother Superior ( Vanessa Redgrave ). Is it too good to be true?
They want to get to Mason's father (Brian Cox - Troy ). He is the greatest living authority on Triffids, and has been working on a cure ever since the Apocalypse started.
Wilson is joined by Resistance fighter Katee Sackoff .
The shore station does not respond on the radio. Soldier-boy Jack (Jamie Bell - Jumper ) staggers into their farmyard, with a head wound and pistol. He tells a story that there is a South American epidemic, an airborne disease that has spread globally. Then he starts to fortify the house ...
The story of three people stuck together on a deserted island is reminiscent of Eye of the Needle, the first feature film by Richard Marquand , with the exterior threat as the Second World War instead of a virus epidemic. In comparison, this effort does not fare well. The three main cast members all deliver strong performances, as befits their combined decades of experience. However, the plot itself is sub- M Night Shyamalan .
The cause of the apocalypse is never explained, it could be a nuclear war or a supervolcano but apparently the writer intended an asteroid-induced Extinction Level Event like in Armageddon . After ten years of nuclear winter, the crops and the animals have all died. The only sources of food available are scavenged supplies, and human flesh. The man and his boy only have two bullets between them, to use on themselves. Yes, even by apocalypse standards this is quite bleak!