I have never been much of a fan of the horror movies by Asylum; but I have to admit, there are movies that is worth seeing just to pass my time. Seeing as the rise in popularity of the zombie genre with “The Walking Dead” TV series and the ground-breaking comic series of the same name, I knew there would be a lot of low-budget films that would try to capitalize on this recent ‘craze’. One thing I liked about this movie, is that it wasn’t pretentious and it kept to its simple premise. Sure, it wasn’t ambitious or inspired with its script but hey, sometimes I just need zombie mayhem to enjoy the mayhem.
The film begins as a zombie plague had wiped out nearly 90 percent of the American population and survival itself becomes a challenge. A group of travelers (made up of Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Eddie Steeples, Robert Blanche, Gerald Webb and Johnny Pacar) try to fight their way to find human safe zounds only to find little hope. They decide to make one last run to catch a boat that goes to Catalina, a supposed new haven for humans. On the way there, they face extreme challenges even as they meet up with another group (made up of Lilian Bowden, Anya Monzikova, Gary Weeks, and others). They may need to rely on each other for some of them to live through all of this….
This was released as a Sy Fy channel original, but I gave it a look anyway as a rental. I wasn’t expecting much with the movie and I didn’t get much either. From the beginning you should know what you are in for; “Zombie Apocalypse” is as straight-forward as one could possibly be with its premise. It doesn’t add any intricacies and uses action to drive its story. One shouldn’t expect much, but director Nick Lyon did try to add some little background to our main protagonists led by Ving Rhames just to make things connect with some emotional attachments.
I suppose one would be well-advised that this film has that “Resident Evil 2 and 3” feel to it, with the way it develops the zombie creatures. Dogs and animals aren’t immune to the zombie virus this time around, but the movie fails to declare the roots of the plague. The viewer is left to merely be along for the ride, as action scenes are followed up with another action scene, there is a small area of drama in the diner and in the van, but they weren’t anything special. After awhile, I was a little bored with the redundancy of the set ups, but then, I can’t really knock a movie meant to be merely as such; an action movie built on a zombie premise.
The characters in “Zombie Apocalypse” did scream inspiration from “the Walking Dead” comic series, most noticeably from the Cassie who seemed to have been ripped off from Michonne (with the samurai) and Ving Rhames’ character seemed inspired by Tyrese (with the hammer). I saw some influences with the Banks character played by Bowden to “Maggie” in the comic books too, but those weren’t very obvious. The fight scenes did feel like the encounters of Rick and his crew in the comics, as they hammer, stab, slash and shoot their way through the zombie hordes. There is also a big-ass zombie that almost mimicked a “Tyrant” zombie in "Resident Evil", but the influences from the comic series were so rich as the creatures were classified as ‘runners’, ‘shamblers’ and ‘crawlers’. The comic books had them as ‘walkers’ and ‘creepers’; so I felt the light influence around there. No doubt, the folks at Asylum read "The Walking Dead".
For a film like this to succeed, it has to have a lot of action and it doesn’t disappoint. The direction meant to overload the senses with one zombie confrontation after another, and it does seem cool for such action to be seen on screen, but the action scenes were a little uneven in execution. I liked the zombies since they used real people, and believe it or not, they had personality which was good. The final act boosted an encounter with a different type of zombie which was not human-based, but the action felt a little sluggish with the use of bad CGI. The set designs were decent as the muted and muggy atmosphere certainly gave it a look of apocalypse (see the crashed airplanes) but the low-budget did show its ugly face as the CGI work were nearly laughable. I always have an issue with CGI-generated blood effects, and in this movie, it looked very fake.
I guess “Zombie Apocalypse” wasn’t a movie meant to impress but to merely entertain so one could pass the time. Catch it on TV and watch it for free if you can, but the dvd or ondemandcould have more violence and gore than what could be shown on cable. It wasn’t a horrible low-budget movie but certainly stands as something that can be argued if it is essential to zombie fans.
2012 ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE If you have read enough of my reviews then you know that I am a fan of a company called The Asylum. They make really bad B movies, mostly rip offs, but they do every once in a while make a good little flick. In fact they have made one or two films I consider classics, yes you read that right and I said it. Well my friends is not one of those movies, it is one of the average Asylum films. … more