Alright, I’m a diehard 28 Days Later (2002) fan, but I must say, I’m not as keen on virus zombies — “the infected,” as we know them. I’m more of a zombie purist, I like my zombies rising from the dead and shuffling into action.
It’s partly because “the infected” hit a real world note that leaves me feeling icky. Also, to remove character connections to death itself and reanimation is to rob a plot of several dimensions: mortality, ethics regarding the dead, and a level of fantasy that separates horror films from the dark, dramatic movies of our day.
Fortunately, Zone of the Dead (2009, aka Apocalypse of the Dead) uses a biohazard, late 2000s zombie flick premise to service an army-of-the-undead plot — my fave.
But just because the setup is sound and zombie movie veteran Ken Foree is onboard doesn’t mean you have a knockout — rather, it’s all entirely forgettable. Guess it turns out “infected” plots aren’t the only ones that can leave me feeling icky inside.
Great George A. Romero’s Ghost
Zone of the Dead is a Serbian film from writers and directors Milan Konjević and Milan Todorović, who somehow landed Ken Foree to star, who you’ll remember as Peter from George A. Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead (1978) (and, lest we forget, also the father to Kenan and Kel).
Here, he plays Agent Mortimer Reyes, an Interpol agent in charge of transporting a mysterious prisoner to London. The path leads his team through the city of Pančevo, a town where the dead have been infected by a biohazard — a green gas that is accidentally leaked from a giant tank (remember: fluorescent green is horror code for “ZOINKS!”). Their only hope to escape is to align with the dangerous prisoner — after all, team work is the only kind of work that works.
There’s nothing new here. Foree isn’t the only piece ripped from Dawn of the Dead, the entire framework of the story is “borrowed.” I don’t mean to trash what may be someone’s well-intentioned horror effort, but the production value here can’t standup against blockbusters that tap the very same story: the Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake, 28 Days Later (2002) and 28 Weeks Later (2007), etc.
The opening credit sequence looks like it was made in iMovie. The growls of the zombies are clearly lion roar samples (I’m not kidding — listen at 1:14:20). Everything about the production reads ‘straight-to-video’: an overly dark palette, intensely shaky camera work better reserved for a 3-minute death metal music video, and hardly a line without hollow delivery.
Let Them Eat Brains
So here’s today’s afterschool 4:00 p.m. lesson: just because you throw cake ingredients into a bowl doesn’t mean you have a cake. You still have to bake the fucking thing. Even then, in order to make something truly tasty, you have to add new ingredients never before tasted (reinvention) or make the best damn vanilla on vanilla cake there ever was (homage and heightening). Here, we have zombie batter — and the ingredients aren’t even unwrapped.
Unbelievably, the trailer alone has over 10 million views on YouTube. Why? It’s not because people like the taste of eggshells and cardboard. It’s because they like a damn good cake. And to lure them to bite into this only to taste baking soda and budget margarine isn’t fair.
Watch the trailer for ‘Zone of the Dead‘:
Watch Zone of the Dead below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: Ben Mueller