I watch the SyFy original movie: Zombie Apocalypse so you don't have to.
Beware of spoilers... I guess...
So I noticed that there was this zombie movie coming on: Zombie Apocalypse, and I offered to review it for the site. I failed to notice at the time it was a Syfy original so I should have paid closer attention, but I've suffered through it and no matter what you think of my review you'll thank me for saving you two hours of your life. Well, maybe minus the ten minutes it took to read all this...
The movie opens up with a sort of timeline montage of the spreading of the zombie plague. It breaks out at the beginning of June in Europe and spreads fast, overrunning the continent within a week and spreading to Japan then finally to the U.S., where our story is set. For some reason AFTER the zombie plague has spread unchecked across the country the military then decides to try and cut them off by taking down infrastructure and then finally by detonating EMPs across the country so the zombies won't be able to drive around or listen to their iPods anymore. No, of course not, that's silly. It was to try and isolate the plague that had ALREADY spread UNCHECKED across the globe.
Already I'm pissed off. From events in the movie it seems to take someone like thirty seconds to change into a zombie so it's not exactly like people will accidentally fly across or drive across the country after bitten. It's never really explained how it spreads or how long it officially takes (though it's said to "always happen quickly", but this theory is supported that the plague had to spread country by country from where it started and didn't just end up popping up all over the place from international flights after the first week. So essentially the only thing they are screwing over with the bombing of bridges and setting off of EMPs are the people still trying to survive. The movie hasn't even really started yet and it already isn't making sense because of lazy writing.
But whatever, let's go with it...
So it opens up six months later with three people walking down an abandoned street with one double barrel shotgun between them. Their dialogue gives some more setup as they talk about 'leaving a cabin' and needing to 'figure out what's going on' - I guess they didn't watch the news the first month it was out and the past six months they've been on vacation or something up at that cabin. After yelling to see if anyone is around they rummage through a store looking for food and the woman gets on them for being too noisy. Yes, that last sentence did say AFTER they yell to see if anyone is around. Zombies now begin shuffling out of alleyways and stores and the three survivors stand there dumbstruck while they close the distance - I'm assuming these three people can't run for some reason. The dude with the double barrel starts taking some of them out (I'm not even going to get into the bullet discussion here as I was impressed they actually showed it looking like he was swamping them out once or twice). But of course, the guy with the only weapon is the one that goes down as zombies slowly walk up to him and pull him down.
It's ok though, the rest of our cast shows up, charging into the fray each with their own unique weapon to take down zombies. They are supposed to look bad-ass I guess with their sledgehammers, machetes, swords and bats, but mostly I just think of how they ripped off the Walking Dead giving the lady a katana and how stupid it was that Ving Rhames threw his weapon at a zombie. But they have guns too and since ammo is probably not a concern it's fine to just throw your melee weapon away and use them. There is also a touching scene where the woman (she will now be blond woman) holds her buddy that went down while he changes to a zombie and then the katana woman kills him. The blond woman gets is angry that she killed her friend since she obviously didn't pick up on the glassy eyes and biting. They have a dramatic moment about it and move on.
I suppose if you ignore that all this is six months after the first month of the break out and that these three - well, now two - survivors somehow don't know what the hell is going on, then some of the newb/veteran dialogue make sense. As they walk and search for stuff more explanation is given in dialogue, they talk about the EMPs, about "runners' and more. Runners? These people can't even get away from the walkers and they have zombies that run? These guys are screwed.
They go into a sports store for equipment to find some stuff to work as armor and weapons for the new people. One new guy, the only black dude left besides Ving after the other one got eaten throws out a couple of good ideas: "What about food?" he asks. "Nah, we've got all the food in the world, literally." They respond. Really? You are carrying all that with you? Wow. Then asks "What about taking some bikes?" Again they shoot that silly idea down, that they will "just be targets for runners then and too hard to use weapons on a bike". Wait, what? How fast are these 'runners' exactly and how is walking going to be faster then? And we all know how hard it is to take one hand of the handlebars to work your pistol if you have to. Then the black dude asks one of them why he is organizing shoes and that it seems to be a waste of time. Nah, they aren't pressed for time or anything and we are having a "character moment" here because this guy used to work retail and all of us that have worked retail know how fun it is. So I guess the black dude is brainwashed into stupidity at this point and grabs a golf club as his weapon of choice. Before I have time to wrap my head around that, they show the blond girl looking for combat boots and one of the veteran dudes compliments her that she is a "natural" because she came up with the idea of boots. After all the other stupid crap in this scene it's small but still manages to up the ante on stupid.
OK, zombies show up; they fight a little and run. whoa... they CAN run! Then to get away after being chased they rig an air horn to blow until it runs empty and throw it out for the zombies to chase. They fight some more about what to do because the blond girl is upset that zombies are trying to eat her. It's established that they are going to Catalina because it's not "like this" there and the katana girl's husband told her so. They settle down for the night, have more character moments, blah blah blah, zombie dog shows up for a fight, then they get moving again the next day.
I really don't want to go scene by scene, but I can't skip the school. They go into a school and into the gym and get "ambushed". Those aren't my words, the shambling zombies spring out in an "ambush". I shake my head, but get a laugh out of the cheerleader zombies shuffling forward with their pom poms. In the fight, the blond girl worries for her last friend, the black dude (I noticed now his name is Billy) as he starts to see the futility of fighting the undead with a gold club. But one zombie jumps out at the blond girl and she runs off on her own -- because that's probably a good idea. The black dude gets overwhelmed and the bad ass guys fight their way out and pretty much say "screw that dude" as he yells for help and the ten zombies left drag him down for a meal. They are probably tired from killing the other fifty zombies, those last ten are too much trouble. They go find the blond girl and everyone including her is surprised she was useful and actually killed the zombie chasing her. She gets mad that they got separated from her friend and let him die though because only she is allowed to get separated. (I'm impressed again that they actually argue about whether it was an ambush or not at least)
OK, moving on again. More character moments as they talk about the things we would all probably miss after an apocalypse occurred, but with bad writing and bad acting. They get to the next town or whatever and see smoke so of course they wonder in because what could be waiting where we can't see anything? Guess what? Zombies are waiting there. That's right. Zombies attack and they fight again. My 'we don't need to worry about ammo' theory gets supported as one guy pulls out a pistol and shoots a zombie in the face three times. Some archery guys show up and rescue some of them, Ving and the katana lady got separated and are off on their own for the moment.
During the fight some super zombie shows up, he's tall and his face and stuff is kinda boney looking or something. He just laughs off Ving's sledgehammer and Ving and the girl jet. He does a sort of shambling run after them and Ving runs to a pick up and tells katana girl to distract him. She attacks with her sword and the zombie manages to dodge every strike while Ving happens upon a ready chainsaw in the truck he happened upon and gets it started as the super zombie comes toward him. Fortunately for our heroes the zombie's dodging abilities only apply to quickly swung swords and not to gently placed chainsaw blades to the neck. They kill him and get away.
The archers and the rest of our survivors talk about Catalina and how they send ferries for survivors. They ask about the bows and they explain that they are an archery team and they can always find arrows when they go into sport stores because everyone just takes bullets. Six months into a zombie apocalypse who would have thought of using a bow or crossbow and arrows besides an archery team, nobody would think let's learn to make use of this silent weapon? Makes sense to me.
Blah, Blah, more character moments and moving on. A satellite is seen crashing down, looking like a falling star. Katana lady says "sometimes the end of the world can be beautiful" and I giggle. They all keep moving, exchanging bad dialogue and doing cheesy stuff: Taking a zombie down so other zombies get busy eating it... because if they are willing to eat zombies they would only eat each other if they were dead; they only put the effort into eating live people. Anyways, they do more running, hiding, someone else gets bit; dies; more running, etc. Katana girl and Ving find a big ass gun and roll it around in a shopping cart, find a reason to unload some rounds into an alley of zombies. They get back together with the others, etc etc. and move onto the where this ferry is supposed to come look for survivors for Catalina.
As they wait and get happy that they are here they find body parts everywhere and then hear a roar. Zombie Tiger!
Now we have reached the end of the budget for a tv movie as we see some effects that aren't quite up to being referred to as "special". They fight the zombie tiger and I spend more time laughing than feeling any suspense as they swing weapons at something off screen or fend it off with bows by wacking it on the nose. They take it down and it pops back up and kills a dude, they take it down again and it pops back up and wacks Ving. He pushes through his throat wound and hurls his hammer at it, caving it's skull in, then he falls over. Mostly I'm just sad that now every time I watch Dawn of the Dead with Ving Rhames I'll think of this stupid movie.
And that's the end, they chill there are wait for the ferry to show up. Roll credits. The most enjoyment I got from this movie other than the fact it was over finally was getting to write this review. I'd rate it, but I never bothered creating a zero stars image.
Written or Contributed by: Jeremy Shane
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About the Author - Jeremy Shane
Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea. Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California. When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead. Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim. If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: www.jeremyshane.info for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.
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