My brain seems to crave zombies more than zombies crave my brains. And so…I bring you a blog about another three zombie films…
AWAKEN THE DEAD (2007)
It may be apparent from the start that this one is a low budget indie, but that doesn’t negate the fact that director Jeff Brookshire had a very clear vision of how to get his story on film, from the visual camera techniques to the fully realized characters. While the sepia tint and the Night of the Living Dead style zombies give it a nostalgic feel, the quirky situations and action-oriented attack scenes are purely modern.
A non-violent priest and a prostitute take cover in a house during an outbreak and clash on how to handle the zombies and how to deal with survivors begging to be let in.
When a father meets a daddy…
A clean-cut, nervous young man comes on the scene to add some playful humor to the mix, and they make a strong trio thanks to the perfect casting.
Once the characters are established, there’s a wild zombie intrusion featuring some total blackout moments that are pretty dang freaky. And that’s the turning point for the film.
Awaken the Dead has two very distinct acts and becomes a bit more complicated in the second half as the heroes try determine the reason for the outbreak and eventually leave the house to set out on a “mission.”
Personally, I prefer the more traditional zombie setup of the first part. The second part drags a bit, with the zombie action and chemistry between the characters getting overshadowed by a government subplot. It was just too much of a shift in direction for my taste.
BEFORE DAWN (2013)
If you told me I was about to watch a zombie movie that only had about 4 or 5 zombies in it…I wouldn’t watch it. Glad no one gave me the heads up about Before Dawn, because this is one of the strongest entries in the genre I’ve seen in a while.
This simple little indie is directed by Dominic Brunt and stars he and his real life wife as a couple vacationing at an isolated house in the hills in an effort to save their fractured marriage. This is a slow burner as it first focuses on the couple’s relationship.
Then…all of a sudden…HOLY SHIT. The first appearance of a zombie—gory, demonic, red-eyed, snarling, and running—comes with little ceremony. The fucker just bolts into view for a terrifying chase scene.
Before Dawn is completely contained to the house, and there’s something incredibly Ti West about the chilling atmosphere and suspenseful setups as heart-pounding zombie encounters grab you by the throat, as does the shocking turn the film takes as it progresses to a tragic and somber conclusion.
THE REZORT (2015)
Steve Barker, director of two films in the Outpost zombie series, brings us what many call Jurassic Park with zombies. Sure, the seemingly unique premise is about an island where all the remaining zombies from an outbreak have been contained for people to come and hunt for fun, but when it comes down to it, The Rezort is really just same old zombie scenario, different location. Which means it’s AWESOME!
The film starts rather slow as we get to know our main characters and watch them take part in some of the zombie shooting fun. But, once the computerized security system goes down and the zombies are free to run amok, it’s nonstop action and chase scenes right to the end!
The odd thing about the concept is that the zombies are kept caged right in the main facility and take down pretty much the entire island’s staff within minutes. Really? A giant island, and you store the zombies in the main facility?
Once we know the zombies have been released, the first zombie appearance makes for the perfect jump scare. These are your classic shuffling undead with rotting faces, and while they don’t get any gut munching scenes, they do plenty of biting. Also, they seem to become fast, running zombies whenever the action calls for it.
All the typical characters are in place to create complications and clashes within the group of survivors, as are the usual zombie tropes…like the person who gets bit and needs to be shot in cold blood before turning. And the fast-paced final act features a cool main girl, an intense chase scene that also kicks ass visually, and a desperate escape attempt that is right out of a Resident Evil video game.