By pure coincidence, the four zombie films I recently watched share some common threads, even though two of them are hokey b-movies (Dead Country and Not Human) and two of them are more serious zombie flix (Darkest Day, Survivorz).
DEAD COUNTRY (2008)
I initially tossed this one in my watchlist because Lisa Wilcox of Elm Street 4&5 and Alex Vincent (aka: Andy of the Child’s Play films) were in the cast. Well, I’ll save you from being bamboozled like I was—they appear after the closing credits, making comments in quick clips shot at a convention.
Now on to Dead Country. Sure, this is as sloppy and cheap as a b-movie can get, but damned if it didn’t bring back memories of the days of Redneck Zombies and Class of Nuke ‘Em High, when Troma was fun without relying solely on toilet humor to fill 90 minutes.
I can totally do without the goofy storyline of some Chaz Bono looking dude in a spaceship crashing to earth, but the fact that it creates a zombie outbreak in the small town of Romero at Christmas time makes it all worth it.
Zombies crawl from a smoldering mound in the ground. Zombies chase screaming, bodacious babes through the woods. Zombies snarl all up in the camera.
Zombies conversations are translated for us in subtitles. A beefy martial arts dude takes on hordes of zombies.
And to get us in the holiday spirit, a chick wearing nothing but a Santa hat sings Christmas songs to her dog in a tub, and a zombie Santa eats people and saves their body parts in his bag of goodies.
It’s a hot mess, but stupidly entertaining. And best of all, Lloyd Kaufman’s cameo is restricted to a voice on a radio station.
NOT HUMAN (aka: ombis: alien invasion) (2013)
While it might have a low budget look and feel, Not Human hits a warm, fuzzy, 80s throwback spot in my soul.
The setup up is 80s classic – in a small town, we meet the sheriff and some locals. The town drunk sees something hit earth in the woods, goes to investigate, and is infected by the danger.
The “danger” – aka: the “alien” – is really a slime monster infection that pretty much takes over your body and makes you essentially a zombie that can melt into a mini version of the blob at will, travel in that form, and then reshape yourself as a slime zombie. Awesome!
Not Human is mostly a zombie b-movie. These zombies puke in your face to make you one of them.
And while they initially take over the town bit by bit (chunk by chunk?), the invasion goes full blast when they crash a town hall meeting. Slime City!
The sheriff is a cutie and lead Jason John Beebe – a bit of an indie horror movie king – is a hottie.
And stick around after the credits start to role to see horror icon Lynn Lowry in a cameo as a newscaster.
DARKEST DAY (2015)
As its title implies, Darkest Day isn’t exactly an uplifting zombie flick. This British indie is sort of like 28 Days Later if it focused on a younger, hipper cast of characters.
This young dude wakes up on the beach and soon gets fostered into a flat of survivors who are all conveniently like a bunch of kids who might as well be the cast of Rent just squatting in an old derelict apartment building while zombies take over the earth.
There’s some tension in the group, for the hot guy (above) is kind of a prick who hates the new guy. Shit gets complicated when the group begins to so amateurishly deal with zombies that try to invade the building. There are some jump scares and intense fights, but this one ends up being more about a bigger problem…military infiltrates the town and seems intent on annihilating any survivors.
The group takes its act on the road…on foot. They desperately try to avoid zombies and military men as they travel the desolate landscape. It’s not the most original plot, but it will scratch your zombie itch, and there is a kick ass scene of the group crossing a field while being chased by zombies and shot at by the military at the same time.
What’s up with the serious movies about young people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse? Usually the younger crowd gets to have fun in campy zomcoms.
Survivorz popped up on SyFy, and it has the same vibe as Darkest Day. This group of young people is hanging out at a diner when the zombie outbreak is unleashed due to a woman checking out something that crashes into her yard from the sky.
At this point, there’s no way to make this blog any less redundant than the movie itself. They battle fast zombies through desolate street and buildings. They deal with numerous friends getting bitten. They meet a guy who has his wife locked up because he thinks there’s still a human left inside her. They have interpersonal relationship issues. It’s all the usual zombie movie stuff.
But it’s tightly produced, the zombie action is thrilling, there’s plenty of suspense, jump scares abound, and the final chase is super intense. Plus, the guys are really cute. Unfortunately, this movie is like a figment of my imagination because it’s not in imdb and I can’t find any images of it online.