It’s been a while since I binged some zombie flix, but I scrounged up three from my watchlist. Each one delivered something for me to like…but I only actually liked two of them. Let’s find out which two.
DEADWALKER INFERNO (2015)
There is nothing not to like about this German zomcom. Adorable guys go camping, everyone at the camp passes out around a bonfire, and when they wake up, most of them turn into zombies and begin some serious gut munching without CGI.
A small survival group is formed, including some standout characters, like a burly bear daddy who immediately assumes two of the pretty boys are a couple, and a sexually charged little guy and his woman.
As the group trains to kick zombie ass, there’s another problem…psychotic Nazis!
There’s even an unexpected torture scene that feels oddly out of place in a zombedy. But it’s not extensive, and we soon get back to the original tone as the group kicks Nazi ass.
Bonuses include the cuties showing their asses while taking a pee break, and a muscle Nazi deciding to strip off his shirt to fight.
THE DEMONIC DEAD (2017)
This is a messy little zombie film that waits until the last minute to deliver much in the way of zombies, but I’ll give it credit for having a whole bunch of other horror stuff going on and treating us to a pretty boy and a hot daddy.
Eric Roberts appears in the prologue scene for about ten seconds before disappearing for good in a puff of CGI fire. Then we move to the present day, where I was quickly left dazed and confused. There’s a possessed woman and an exorcism.
The pretty boy comes to save the day, and he’s sort of a religious freak, which was kind of annoying (there are more flashes of Jesus than I need to see in an hour), especially since I was convinced his character was going to be gay.
How to make priests forget they’re in the middle of an exorcism…
There are various other characters, but I didn’t quite follow what they were all about. The main focus is on the pretty boy and the ridiculously cheesy rekindling of his relationship with his ex. There’s like a ten-minute montage of this shit set to an 80s style ballad, reminding us that girl names were the in thing in the 80s…Gloria, Roseanna, Carrie, Billie Jean, Amanda, Oh Sherrie, Oh Sheila, Angelia, Eileen, Jenny Jenny, etc.
There’s a demon witch whose high hair makes it appear she wished there were an 80s song named after her, she has a sort of scarecrow killer sidekick, and everyone seems to be hunting her.
Finally in the last ten minutes or so, she summons zombies.
Just when a handful lumber onto the screen in the daylight and it feels like some good old Euro zombie action is about to happen, the movie kind of ends. Doh!
WITHIN THE WOODS OF UNDEAD COUNTY (2016)
This little indie doesn’t get much love based on the star rating on Amazon. Personally, it’s my kind of zombie film. For starters, there’s the running time of only 77 minutes…with little in the way of padding once the action starts.
It’s also as simple as a zombie movie needs to be. There’s a breakout, there’s news coverage, and we meet our main girl. After a quick but hugely effective peephole scene, she hits the streets.
Everything about this initial zombie carnage scene kicks ass for an indie, including the music.
Not to mention, the film, shot in washed out daylight, is one of my favorite kinds of zombie films. There’s something so much creepier about zombies when you’re reminded that they don’t just disappear into the shadows once the sun rises. It’s risky not to hide things in the cloak of darkness, especially when you don’t have much in the way of makeup, but the zombie scenes are so tight it actually took me a while to realize that the only thing cluing us in to them being zombies is that they’re smeared with blood and, you know, walk funny.
The main girl meets a girl and two guys, one of which must be a fan of The Walking Dead, because he decides it will be safer to hide out in the woods. Hence the title. Awesome.
There is a brief period that I worried was getting into Blair Witch territory. In other words, they were just walking around the woods and nothing happened. But that didn’t last long. Once the zombies come rushing in, it is fast, intense, suspenseful, and bloody.
Granted, as they attempt to stay alive, it’s the usual zombie plot points—someone is bit, doesn’t want to turn into one of “those things”, someone has to suck it up and kill that person, they run into a psycho who was born to just rape and pillage even when the world is overcome by zombies (Dumpsters. Sigh), and characters make self-centered decisions.
It’s the little details that matter. The scene with the psycho, for instance, doesn’t stick to ridiculous movie clichés, instead going for a surprisingly realistic outcome. A scene of the main girl running away shot in first-person POV is so unnerving I wanted more of it. Footage of devoured corpses in a field at dawn is chillingly morbid. And the final scene is an eerie reminder of how instantly your identity as a human can vanish during a zombie outbreak.