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Four Zombie Movie Reviews

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Oct. 1st, 2015 | 01:19 am
mood: awake
music: Black Knights - Zip Code
posted by: shaved_ape in zombie_survival

Here are brief reviews for four zombie movies:

MAGGIE:
Arnie stars in a zombie movie - but this one is far from obvious. The zombie outbreak has started, but people take weeks to turn. The emphasis of this film is not on the rampaging zombies but a more personal and emotional tale of how families cope (or not) when one of their loved ones is infected. The evacuation centers are little more than death camps so families try to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible, walking a terrible tightrope. They want to spend as long as they can with their dying loved ones, but left too late and their loved ones turn completely and become a danger to others. Arnie gives a surprisingly subtle performance alongside a brilliant turn from Abigail Breslin as his infected daughter. I was hoping this would be good - its actually brilliant.

REICH OF THE DEAD:
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this movie as the cover of the dvd featured people in death camp uniforms as zombies. I have no problem seeing nazi zombies (Dead Snow for example, was great fun) but there is a world of difference between seeing the perpetrators of the holocaust in the role of zombies compared to seeing the victims of the holocaust in the role of zombies. Luckily the film actually managed this fairly well. Yes, it was prisoners that were cast in the role of zombies (due to some horrific Nazi experiments) but we quickly come to see the zombies as brutalized victims rather than scary monsters. The films ending is a little bit anti-climatic and even a little ambiguous but it is a reasonable attempt to do something a little different with the genre.


FALLEN SOLDIERS:
A period zombie movie! Set in the Napoleonic war, the movie bills itself as 'Sharpe meets The Walking Dead'. I don't know about The Walking Dead part, they could have just said 'zombies' and it would have been more accurate, but this is actually pretty good. The films painfully low budget is revealed during the battle scenes (something is lost of the grand scale when you only have a couple of extras and everything is shot in quite tight close ups) but the rest of the film is pretty convincing. A British soldier tries desperately to get back to his commanders because he has uncovered a plot by the French to resurrect their fallen soldiers from the failed Russia campaign with the use of blood from infected humans - a device it turns out that the British are already familiar with.
Most of the scenes are designed to be shot with a relatively small cast in good locations and small sets. These scenes work really well and the originality of the idea deserves a lot of credit. Mostly the film works very well indeed. With a bigger budget and lots of extras and effects the battle scenes could have been as epic as the film deserved. Somebody give these film makers more cash!


DARKEST DAY:
This is a really enjoyable British zombie film. The biggest criticism I have is that it share a lot of superficial similarities with the movie 28 Days Later. This is only a small criticism though as a) the similarities are only superficial, b) 28 Days Later is a brilliant film to emulate on any level and c) Darkest Day is one of the most ambitious and competent indie zombie films I have ever seen.
The film is shot almost entirely in Brighton by a group of people who worked for free at the weekends over what turns out to have been several years. (They claim that the total budget for this whole movie, including it's catering came in at less than £1,000). The film starts with a man coming to consciousness on a beach. He has no memory of any recent events and quickly discovers the apocalypse has happened and the streets are deserted apart from wreckage, 'infected people' (as opposed to zombies) and a small group of survivors who reluctantly take him in.
Much of the first part of the film takes place in the group's 'safe house' and features largely improvised scenes which show the outlines of the characters and the group dynamics. The main action in the film kicks off when the group are forced to flee from both the infected and the British military who begin to take a very lively interest in the group. The devastation of the apocalypse is neatly captured by some deft (mostly early morning) camera work, but there is also a lot of production value added by some very competent CG work. This is used very cleverly not to create huge effects but for adding extra soldiers and equipment (including trucks and helicopters) to the scenes. The illusion of a much bigger cast with many more serious props and vehicles that you would normally find in a film like this is very effective. Full credit should go to the people who made this film - it is effective on every level it needs to be to make a very enjoyable film and the fact that they have managed something this good is quite staggering.

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