Dolph Lundgren ( Red Scorpion ) is hired to lead a team of mercenaries into the city and retrieve the daughter of the greedy CEO whose company caused the outbreak. His special skillset is that he led a Delta Force team in Mogadishu in 1993, at the time of the Black Hawk Down incident. Back then the actor was appearing in Universal Soldier , whereas now he is one of The Expendables . Just to put things in perspective.
Naturally, things go badly wrong. The team get wiped out, and the daughter is unwilling to come. Worse, time is of the essence because the military are about to incinerate the city.
Luckily, the zombies are only as fast as the plot demands. Our hero gets chained to a lamp-post, and still manages to defend himself against multiple opponents.
In another stroke of luck, there are some bipedal robots around. They look like a cheap version of the Centurions in BSG (2003) , but they can kill zombies and not get eaten. Best of all, they can push a car that is otherwise immobile - rather than just have to roll up the windows and shelter inside it until nightfall.
Fishburne and a couple of sidekicks go to another outpost to look for survivors. They find Julian Ritchings ( Supernatural ), but the place is overrun by cannibals. This is a vast improvement on the usual menace - the Fast Zombies cliche.
Back home there are other problems. Trigger-happy Bill Paxton ( Apollo 13 ) is stirring up trouble.
The protagonist teams up with a bunch of cops in SWAT armour. The extras get helmets, but the main characters (who have to be photogenic and easily identifiable) do not. Their leaders are the former Chief of Detectives (Lance Hendricksen - Terminator ) and his son (Louis Mandylor - ).
At the end of the day, this has high production values and a couple of recognisable names in the cast. Some of the supporting actors do not perform as strongly, but on a low-budget B-movie you can only expect so much.
Normally low-budget horror movies suffer by being written and directed by a single person. Luckily this effort avoided the same problem by having different specialists for each task. However, there is a different example of one participant Johnny Strong is not only the star, he is also a producer and he wrote and performed the soundtrack.
The Mayor gets together a gang of desperados to save the town. There are seven of them, as in the Magnificent Seven , all with specialised weapons. Only one of the men has melee weapons - Erik Estrada Junior, who dresses like a Latino ninja. There is also a woman who uses a sickle as her weapon. The rest use guns - and they use them a lot. They blaze through ammunition as if there was no tomorrow. The characters in The Walking Dead would not be amused. For some reason, one character wastes limited sniper rifle ammo taking out zombies that are either trapper or at close range, when he could just pick a rock off the ground instead.
What saves the film from utter mediocrity is its very dumbness. The zom-pocalypse western is something of a redundant sub-genre, but this breaks every act into a chapter like something Quentin Tarantino would do.
A family of white working class Americans go on a vacation to a Cabin in the Woods . They discover that Ms Holly is their next-door neighbour, and they see what she is up to. As stated, there is no suspense for the audience because we already know what she gets up to for her hobby.
Milo Ventrigli ( Heroes ) and his sidekick (Michael Eklund - Wynona Earp ) slowly go crazy. They were not career criminals before they got locked in the basement, but the stress of confinement drives them beyond their breaking point. Biehn spends most of the film tied up, so the Final Girl must save the day.
This effort is well-shot, evoking a claustrophobic feel to the film. However, there is a major problem with the film. There are no decent people in this film, certainly nobody to root for. The Lord of the Flies storyline means they are all greedy, vicious caricatures.
This film is played for laughs, and it does have a certain amount of originality - especially with regards to the nature of the monsters. Phase one is a simple Fast Zombie. Phase two involves metamorphosis into a more lycanthropic creature.
The ancestor was a veteran of the US civil War. When he returned home he lost his family in the outbreak, and wandered the wilderness alone. Eventually he found a stranger with a quest. A mad Confederate General (Bill Moseley - ) has his men abduct people so that his Doctor (Stephen Mchattie - ) can experiment on them. The hope is of finding someone who is immune, so that they can create a cure. Since these villains have abducted the stranger's sister, our hero agrees to help rescue her.
The survivors seek refuge with a local witch-woman ( Dee Wallace ). Luckily, they discover the source of the outbreak of zombies. Also, somehow the hero manages to write a journal about all of this. Even scenes that he is not present in.
Nine years later, the zombie apocalypse has turned into a new ice age. The baby has grown up to become a young girl with two fathers. The breadwinner (Matthew Fox - Lost ) runs his own radio station where he broadcasts in search of other survivors. The home-maker (Jeffrey Donovan - Blair Witch 2 ) spends all his time raising the girl.
Fox and Donovan are estranged. Fox spends his days alone with nobody for company except a dog. He has let himself go, with long hair and a beard – like a character in The Walking Dead . In contrast, Donovan keeps himself well-groomed
The young girl is the catalyst that brings the two old friends together again. Well, her and the return of the fast zombies. They have mutated and become blind, so they hunt by sound.
There are flashbacks of the woman's relationship with an art gallery owner, back in the pre-zompocalypse era. As they have their ups and downs, the impending outbreak barely gets any setup.
The climactic twist is actually quite impressive. Yes, this is a somewhat original zombie movie!
The cast are a group of unknowns, and their characters are the usual stereotypes. However, they are acted with vim and vigour - which breathes new life into old tropes. The result is quite watchable.
The film was written and directed by one man, but it is actually quite watchable. The end credits include some out-takes, but they are less watchable. It seems that the best shots really did end up in the movie.
Trapped in a remote cabin in the woods , they are joined by another family (including Riley Keogh ). However, this merely increses the tension. We go from the suspense of the unknown to a deeper, more claustrophobic sense of paranoia.
The woman has to walk across the desert, with the zombie close behind her all the way. As the story progresses, the woman starts to get used to the zombie. From her perspective, he is not significantly worse than some of the men she has avoided dating. She gives him a nick-name, and even gets him to unknowingly pull her supplies for her.
There is a tacked-on third act, almost as if the film-makers needed to expand the running time. By this stage, the zombies have now changed from the slow-moving Romero type to the modern Fast Zombie type.
The story starts with a stereotypical upper-middle-class family in suburban USA. The mom ( Selma Blair ) and dad (Nicholas Cage - Wicker Man (2006) ) have two children. As befits a rich white family they have a Chinese servant woman who brings her daughter to work.
The adults are smitten with an unknown contagion that makes them act like violent teenagers. If this sounds familiar, it is because it was used as the plot of Buffy: S3 Band Candy . What makes this different is that the parents are actively murderous towards their own children. It is not a generic Fast Zombie situation, but rather one of very specific and individual rage.
We get a few scenes from the parents' perspectives, where we see the micro-transactions they are lumbered with every day from their teenagers. Then the story switches to the High School, where the teenagers are learning about planned obsolescence. This is the theme of the movie - the parents are afraid of being replaced by their own offspring. The women especially become family annihilators in the mould of Medea and La Lorona.
The parents arrive en masse at the school, and stage an all-out attack on the children. There are a couple of other impressive scenes of suspense and carnage while the characters discover they are in a social apocalypse.
One commentator on the television postulates the contagion is a form of biological warfare. This is reminiscent of The Screwfly Solution .
Cage does his usual going-off-the-rails act. It seems that the father was always a borderline psycho, and that it would have emerged even without the contagion. Blair has her own issues, but when they work together they are actually convincing as a couple.
The children get trapped in the basement, and chased around the house by their murderous parents. This becomes a grown-up version of Home Alone, but without the burglars. In this version of the story, the parents are not merely neglectful but down-right murderous.
The irony of the situation, as pointed out by one of the characters, is that single-parent families have twice the survival chances.
Apparently there is no age limit to the family annihilator rage. Cage's father (Lance Hendrickson - Terminator (1984) ) is due for dinner, and this becomes a family reunion.
Circa the year 1800, England is overrun by flesh-eating zombies. These are no normal zombies, they are the most unusual kind. The undead plague began in the colonies, so it may be a voodoo curse reminiscent of Zombie Flesh-Eaters . However, it is spread by bodily fluids, perhaps a reference to the Cholera epidemics from India in the 1830s. This spread-by-bite aspect makes the zombies more like the Romero type in Night of the Living Dead . Thirdly, in the post- 28 Days Later era most zombies are FAST zombies, and this film is no exception. Finally, the plague's leaders are SMART zombies ... the type four, and in this version they only turn rabid after they have eaten human brains. Yes, this is an action-adventure with fast, smart zombies and the rom-com elements are pushed into the B-Story.
Be warned, there is a post-credits sequence.
The story starts on day 89, some time in the year 2020, when the family are scavenging for food in an uninhabited town. They are completely silent, communicating by sign language (with subtitles). Evidently the monsters are attracted by sound, like the zombies in The Walking Dead . And when one of the monsters finally makes its appearance, the result is both shocking and horrifying.
The story picks up again on day 472, when the family has settled down on a farm. They have adapted to living in complete silence, for example by using headphones whenever they need to listen. Everyone walks barefoot all the time, and the silence causes a palpable air of tension all the time as the audience is constantly waiting a noise to break the suspense.
The Great Escape rule of the least appropriate person comes into play. For example, the daughter is deaf and therefore cannot hear sounds that might give them away to the monsters. Worse, the mother is heavily pregnant - and even if she does not scream during childbirth, her newborn will have to start crying with its very first breath. And naturally, Murphy's law dictates that the worst possible thing always happens at the worst possible time.
The monsters represent an external threat, but they are in the background. The main conflict is internal. For example, the daughter blames herself for something bad that happened - reminiscent of the storyline in Rachel's Key. Likewise, the parents are dedicated to protecting their kids at all costs.
What really makes a monster movie is the monsters themselves, and this is no exception. They may be CGI, but they are used sparingly and to great effect. Much like the alien invaders in Signs , they are naked and rely on their body's natural appendages to attack their prey. However, these ones are actually a convincing threat. Despite being blind and naked, they are incredibly fast and strong. A newspaper clipping implies that the creatures' natural exoskeleton is virtually impervious to physical damage. That said, they need to expose their ears in order to hear things which leaves them vulnerable to a head-shot at close range.
The main story starts two days earlier, when the tweenagers arrived at the camp. They bumped into a creepy local who has a hunting knife on his belt. However, this is all misdirection, a red herring – a visual equivalent of the Lewton Bus.
One of the dogs had a bad case of some form of rabies. Soon the humans are turning into Fast Zombies. Strangely the zombie-itis comes and goes, so a victim can become one and then have the condition go into remission.
The title character (Martin McCann - ) lives alone in a cabin in the woods. Civilisation has broken down, but more like in The Road than in a Zom-Pocalypse. He defends himself with boobytraps and a double-barrelled shotgun. Anyone who intrudes gets killed, stripped of clothing, and dumped in a grave so shallow it is basically a scratch in the ground. That said, there are marauders in the woods and nobody can be trusted.
The protagonist's life is turned upside down when an old woman and a tweenage girl ( Mia Goth ) arrive at his campsite. Very cynically, they know the only way that a young woman can pay a lonely man in exchange for a bed for the night. They manage to convince him to let them stay.
The storyline, that of a man with a girl and an older woman, becomes reminiscent of the haunting Japanese tale Onibaba . Later, when food begins to run low and decisions have to be made, it invokes the American movie The Beguiled .
The story was filmed in Northern Ireland, and is clearly set there. However, because it is spared the usual trappings of the Troubles it seems to have found a wider audience worldwide. The low budget and glamour-free treatment of the material clearly label this as an art-house piece. There is a lot of non-sexual nudity, both male and female, which de-glamourises the situation even more. The low budget look is enhanced by some amazing drone footage.
The lab is next door to a strip-club run by Robert Englund ( Nightmare on Elm Street ). The headliner Jenna Jameson gets bitten and infected. The good news is, the virus is gender-selective so she becomes a Type Four (Smart) zombie. The bad news is, the female zombies must feed on the flesh of their custmers, who then turn into the old-fashioned, feral zombies. The good news, there is a never-ending supply of customers because local men find zombie women strangely irresistable. The bad news is, Robert Englund has a limited amount of storage space in his basement to keep all the male zombies.
This is a tongue-in-cheek effort that does not take itself seriously.
The nerds realise that they are not up against the Romero type of zombie that eats brains and spreads the infection by bite. While these Nazi zombies are both fast and relatively smart, they are basically the old-fashioned voodoo curse zombie. They have been given a mission, and will not rest until it is fulfilled. In the first movie, that mission was to protect the gold. However, it turns out they have another mission too. Hitler ordered the Colonel to annihilate a nearby village.
The villains re-arm at the local museum. Luckily for them it has a fully operational Tiger tank that is fueled and armed with live ammunition. Even better, the zombies include an expert tank crew.
To fight an army of Nazi zombies, the good guys have to raise their own army. Luckily there is a mass grave of Soviet POWs nearby, eager to get their revenge on the Nazi officer who killed them.
When the men get to their destination, they eventually realise they have bigger problems than the local militias. The bunker was site of Nazi experiments to create an army of super-soldiers. When the mercenaries enter, the Nazi ghost-soldiers start to pick them off, one at a time. So, totally original idea for a film …
This is part of a sub-genre of horror film, the military supernatural survival film. Prime examples would be The Keep, The Bunker, Deathwatch ...
A young female Nazi-hunter tortures OAP Nazi Michael Pennington ( ) for personal vengeance. Then she discovers that he helped fund the expedition from the first film. In order to catch his boss, she goes to the bunker area.
The bunker is surrounded by an electro-magnetic field that is slowly expanding. The Nazi super-soldiers are unkillable anywhere in that field, which is now thirty miles across. Luckily she teams up with Richard Coyle ( Prince of Persia ) and some soldiers led by Daniel Caglione (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking barrels).
Parts of this are unoriginal, but for what it is (a sequel to a low-budget horror) it is watchable.
The Spetznaz leader is locked up in the bunker and used for experimentation. The Germans test their Fast Zombies to destruction by letting the Spetznaz kill them. The idea is to make stronger and stronger zombies.
Naturally, the Russian escapes and goes on a kill-crazy rampage.
The film starts shakily enough. One might be able to rationalise away the inadequacies because it is meant to have been shot on a hand-held cine camera on the Russian front in the 1940s. However, it just seems to be a poorly-made film.
The conscripts blunder into a farmhouse where a Nazi scientist has created some half-human monsters. Unfortunately the scientist is insane. Worse, his monsters have escaped and killed almost everyone. Now the conscripts get picked off, one at a time.