Zombie Movie round-up.

Back in July I promised to do a review of some of the most dreadful and a few of the better Zombie movies I’ve seen – so here, after many hours of viewing, it is.

Some Zombie movies are big budget, A grade actor movies – but most are not. Some of the ones I’ve seen recently on YouTube were made on very little money, using friends as actors…..and it shows! I’ll provide links so that you can see them for yourselves, and where I can’t give access to the full movie I’ll give a link to the trailer.

Aylesbury Dead – Zombie Horror Film 2015. This British made Zombie movie was done on a very low budget and after reading what the film maker wrote on YouTube I wasn’t holding out much hope….”Before this film iv had no filming experience at all, this film started it all of for me 🙂 For some time now iv always wanted to work on a zombie film with all my friends. Well I’m happy to say after a year and a bit, hard work I did it! We all pulled together and made this madness.”

To be frank, it wasn’t the worst movie I’d seen and I did stick with it and watched it almost all the way through before I simply gave up on it. It started off quite well with a news reporter’s voice over photos of police cars and ambulances on streets as the reporter described some of the initial carnage that saw the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse. But from here on in it started to slip down hill fast. The script was so-so, the acting wooden and some of the scenes completely unnecessary and dare I say it…..boring. By mid way when the main character has teamed up with a small group of survivors in a shopping mall, it really lost its way and was only going to be a matter of time before I hit the “end” button. In hind sight, for a first attempt at a movie, the guy did a reasonable job with mates as actors and a tiny budget. Verdict – not the worst, but pretty close.

Tom Sawyer vs. Zombies. Well, there went another 90 minutes of my life that I could have spent watching something more….well, more anything – stimulating, exciting, watchable….I could go on but won’t. The brief description of the movie on YouTube says – “Lt. Colonel Sawyer of the US Army wants to pay tribute to the dead of his family with a funeral at sea. But to get to the coast, he has to go through a zone infected with zombie virus. He leads a hopeless fight against hordes of living dead with help from sheriff (Richard Tyson) of a long overran western town by his side.”

I mean really?? Tom Sawyer Vs Zombies….I should have known better than to waste my time watching this. There is a scene where our hero Lt. Colonel Tom Sawyer, (incidentally dressed up like RoboCop, I have yet to figure out why), puts the barrel of a gun into his mouth and is about to pull the trigger but in the end decides to live another day – what a mistake! He should have pulled the trigger and put both himself and me out of our misery. Like most Zombie movies it involved getting across country for little reason and this movie battled it out with several others for the title of worst Zombie movie. Usually we viewers form some sort of a bond with the main character and cheer them on no matter what. Not this time. I was cheering for the zombies!

Next comes one that was actually watchable and had a bigger budget and actors that I’d seen in other movies including Mission Impossible. Zombie Apocalypse is a 2011 American zombie horror film by Syfy and The Asylum starring Ving Rhames, Gary Weeks, Johnny Pacar, Robert Blanche, Anya Monzikova, Lesley-Ann Brandt and Taryn Manning. Directed by Nick Lyon.

The start is a series of “news clips” – military on the streets, long shots of city-scapes complete with explosions and eventually we focus on 3 characters in a dusty Iowa town, walking down a deserted street. Two guys and a girl. Bear in mind that this is 6 months after the initial outbreak so somehow these three have had the ability to survive so far. By their behaviour in the opening scene, one wonders how they lived for 6 minutes, never mind 6 months. They’re walking down the middle of the street talking loudly and yelling “Hello”. The 2 men then leave the girl outside while they enter a garage to look for food. Why they don’t wait until they come upon a grocery store I have no idea, but they choose an abandoned garage, and then set about smashing their way into a candy machine…..you guessed it…..making enough noise to wake the dead! Fortunately for them, unfortunately for us, Ving Rhames and friends come to their rescue before the zombies can eat all of them. Happily one of the 2 guys – the one who just happened to have a shotgun, but managed to fumble the cartridges for it – was the one fatality. From here, the movie actually picks up and is a pretty reasonable zombie flick…….right up to the ridiculous final scene. To the casual viewer (me), it looked up to this point as though the movie could go on for another half hour or so, as our group of survivors are waiting in a small port for the ferry that will take them to safety….but, I don’t know why, maybe they’d over run the budget and the producers pulled the plug, but we are given this sudden and very badly done final scene that totally lowered this movie to the ranks of the mediocre. Verdict – one to watch if you can get over the final scene without saying “What the F*** was that?”

Disaster L.A. The Last Zombie Apocalypse 2014 movie. This movie I quite liked the idea of. Directed and written by Turner Clay. With Justin Ray, Jerod Meagher, Stefanie Estes, Ron Hanks. After a meteor shower strikes Los Angeles, toxic smoke is released across the city causing people to physically change and become violent. A small group of survivors plans to vacate the city by heading to the coast.

It’s a low budget Indie movie that starts with promise and, apart from a couple of rubber masked zombies and some annoying characters who I would have loved to have been standing directly under the meteors as the fell to earth to spare us from having to watch/listen to their drivel, continues in the same promising manner. As with most Zombie style movies it’s about having to get from A to B and the problems encountered in doing just that. Obviously there are casualties along the way and not everyone makes it to safety. Our heroes in this movie are a group of friends who have just finished university. The acting is pretty good, all things considered, and their actions and diction quite believable on encountering the unknown (although we know it’s Zombies because it said so in the title!!) I’ve seen some bad reviews of this movie, mostly I believe because some people expect Hollywood quality epics on a shoestring budget. This is one of the only Zombie movies I’ve seen where the infected kill their victims but the victims don’t reanimate and become zombies too. My verdict – definitely one worth watching although again the end was a little bit of an anticlimax.

Next comes another British based zombie movie. Zomblies (2010) – I thought it was a typo, but no, the L is meant to be there. When a private militia’s rookie zombie hunters send out a distress call, it’s up to the Rangers to cross The Wall and bring them back as well as uncover the truth about a terrifying new breed of zombie.

The opening scene is of a man dressed in military fatigues and carrying a sizable pistol running through the woods flapping his arms around like a girl…..sorry girls, no offence meant. But he does run like a girl. He’s terrified and no wonder, the zombies appear from all directions and bang, bang, bang….he takes them down and finds his missing friend who is sitting under a tree with his guts in his hands. Our “runs like a girl” hero then deserts his mate, steals his gas mask and runs off into the woods again as “Mr. guts in hands” turns into a zombie (or is it zomblie?). The flapping arms aside, not a bad beginning.

Enter the Rangers, a band of armed to the teeth men dressed in black, who are sent beyond the massive zombie proof wall to rescue the hapless zombie hunters. These guys are tough, can handle their guns and it seems can run for hours across baron landscapes. The entertaining thing about the zombies are that they are fast. None of the shuffling zombies from the Walking Dead, these living dead run at a sprint, making them so much more dangerous. The acting is reasonably good but then the actors are not stretched, needing only to fight, yell and shoot. Some of the camera work is very shaky, presumably to give you the feeling that you are there amongst the action, but it can be a little nauseating at times. Naturally things don’t go quite as the Rangers had planned and …well….you will have to watch the movie for yourselves to find out who, if any, makes it home safely. It’s made on a budget, but not half bad.

After slamming Aylesbury Dead, I’ve just come across Aylesbury Dead 2 (2019) so just had to watch it. It’s still done on a budget, with unknown actors, but is a big improvement on A.D.1. I watched it all the way through….even the credits at the end. Yes I could pick holes in it…for example in one scene our hero enters a building at street level and goes down several flights of stairs to an underground laboratory, believed to be the place where the Zombie virus was developed,…..only to walk past several windows (oops!). BUT it wouldn’t really be fair to pick on things like that. We have an improved script with baddies as well as the zombie threat to add something extra to the movie. If you could throw some big money at its production and hire a couple of well known actors, you’d have a pretty good Zombie movie. William Axtell Films – take a bow.

And here folks is where I have to cut my review short. I had intended to review a total of 10 movies, but this month being September – where I live, here in New Zealand – it’s our first month of spring and so I’ve been busier than usual getting my veggie gardens up and running.

Thanks for reading. I’ll do a garden update soon.

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