Zombie Apocalypse was one of our first ever give-aways here as Ryan Thomson (director) sent Zombie Command some DVDs to run a competition. Since then they’ve released a comic book and Zombie Panic map for theSource engine on PC.
I should have written this review up last month after the interview but have only now got around to it (sorry Ryan). They’ve also started a Twitter account @ZombieApoc.
The film opens by throwing you into the deep end with a scene that’s later revealed to be between 2 agents of a shadowy organisation. One of the protagonists, Miller (Kenny James), is handcuffed and at the mercy of Agent Net who proceeds to unleash zombies to finish him off. Miller escapes but the zombies get out turning the once peaceful town into your worst undead nightmare.
Cutting to the other characters, Mark (Michael Empson) is despondant at his girlfriend cheating on him by a freshman named Kevin and persuades Tom (Michael Harthen) to head to the pub for 10 cent beers, despite Tom having mid-terms on the Monday.
The final main character we’re introduced to is Raven (Kelly Knoll), who gets fired from her job at a video store and heads to the same pub the boys are. Coming up with a believable set of circumstances where all these characters meet we’re then thrown into a survival situation as zombies attack from every angle.
As the group escape town they hear the offer of a safe haven on the radio and head towards it only to have to make a desperate stand against the undead horde as Agent Net closes in and tries to sabotage their hopes of escape!
While the story itself is fairly standard within the genre, indeed homages to many famous zombie films litter the scenes, it’s approached with a level of humour that propels the film along without it seeming too cliched as if everyone is playing along and knows exactly what their role is. There’s enough back-story alluded to with the agency that makes the film seem bigger than it’s $5,000 budget would suggest and looking past some of the dodgier effects you’re left with a film created by people that know their craft.
The first thing to mention would be the sound. During the interview with Ryan we discussed the music and that they were trying to capture the John Carpenter feel. About 10 seconds into it my flatmate comes out with “Oh my god, it’s like a soundtrack from the 80’s!” – We say mission accomplished Mr. Thompson.
It also becomes apparant that this isn’t the first movie Thompson’s directed with carefully planned out shots panning across well positioned items and cast. If we look beyond the budget (which is the only way to enjoy indie films) then it’s very clear that he knows what he’s doing when trying to tell a story.
The writing deserves to be commented upon, though it is sometimes hit and miss. A couple of times during the film the characters would go back to something mentioned before and would tie in a reason why it was important. That said some of the lines delivered were a little ridiculous but the over the top nature of the line and the delivery simply added to feeling that it was played, in part, for laughs.
Zombie Apocalypse (movie and comic) is available to buy now with free US shipping and Ryan’s already confirmed a sequel is in the works; this time it has boobs!