It’s low budget double feature streaming time, and I was pleasantly entertained with this infected/zombie duo. They are two very different approaches to the genre, and hell knows variety is the spice of gut munching life.
HELL IS FULL (2010)
Hell is Full, and the zombies will be, too, when they get through eating this small town! Making the best of its ultra low budget, this film manages to capture the look and feel of classic zombie flix from the 80s while creating a narrative using modern plot devices.
The story focuses on a small town in which people suddenly start becoming infected with a flesh-eating disease. As in…they want to eat flesh. The film is divided into vignettes of what each main character experiences during the outbreak, complete with character name title cards to signify shifts in subplot. However, there’s no chronology; someone infected and munching on flesh in one character’s story may later be presented as perfectly fine because they haven’t yet turned in their timeline.
There’s not much in the way of “zombie” makeup – those infected usually just have bloody faces and a tint of corpse-like color on their skin (hey, if it was good enough for Romero’s supposed masterpiece Dawn of the Dead…). Gore is minimal with no serious gut munching, but there are some grisly, close-up skin-tearing scenes.
Even though the entire film takes place in daylight, the feeling of isolation is chilling, as is the classic style in which the infected are presented – a person unaware that behind them, a lone infected approaches slowly to the strains of creepy music.
The only downside is…this technique is used endlessly throughout the film.
There are no hordes here. It’s always individual attacks using this same exact setup, so the effectiveness begins to wear off due to the repetition.
Even so, Hell Is Full is undeniably watchable, especially if you appreciate films that capture that old school spirit. It truly feels like we’re in a sparsely populated town, which adds greatly to the atmosphere, there’s loads of small town drama (infidelity rules), and quite a few of the scenarios are notably humorous. In particular, two janitors have a great comic scene, and an elderly woman near the end is a hoot, and gets bonus points for dropping a reference to The Blob.
CLASH OF THE DEAD (2015)
Even with every cliché of the genre in place, once in a while a found footage film gives me just the dose of cheap horror fun I need. Clash of the Dead is a perfect example.
The setup: historians travel to the location of a World War I battle to make a documentary. Several really stupid, cheap jump scares (a camera drops, someone trips) are made even more obnoxious by the stabs of a music score…which, of course, makes no sense in a found footage film. I quickly began to lose hope.
Then the cameraman starts seeing flickers of people standing out in the fields, but they’re not there when he moves the camera away. Night falls, the crew is still out in the field, and suddenly, all zombie hell breaks loose!
This scene totally gave me flashbacks to classic Euro zombie flicks of the late 1970s. There’s even some gruesome flesh eating. Then it’s into the expected shaky cam chaos as the terrified survivors run into underground tunnels for safety. Good plan. Especially when the zombies have flashlights and you don’t!
I have to admit, as typical as it all is, Clash Of The Dead delivers some cool zombies and made me jump out of my seat numerous times before it was all over.
If you’re going to do a zombie movie found footage style, this is the way to do it. I will absolutely be adding this one to my collection if it gets a DVD release.