5 years on from a zombie outbreak that nearly wiped out civilization and the living are trying to piece back together their lives amidst the remaining zombies, or re-animates (or Re-Ans) as they are called. A quasi S.W.A.T. task force known as the R-Division is tasked with the job of RE-killing the Re-Ans who have been segregated into zones. We follow a documentary team who tags along with R-Division 8 and get a sneak peek into the lives of these fearless individuals and the dangers that lurk around every corner.
RE-KILL has been on the radar for quite some time now, making its appearance as one of 2015’s “8 Films to Die For”. Classified as an Action-Horror with dabs of Sci-Fi(?), it feels very much like STARSHIP TROOPERS but with zombies, generic characters you don’t care about no matter how much the story tries to force you to and plot conveniences that move the generic, yet action-filled story along.
So in this alternative Earth, zombies have outbroken (I coin this word) and have been somewhat contained into zones, with one special area being walled up by the army. A TV show in the style of our COPS counterpart follows the “elite” (I use that term very, very loosely) guys and gals of R-Division as they go about re-killing any stray zombies and zombie sympathizers. Equipped with weapons and technology that don’t really give them any kind of advantage over the Re-Ans (not even night vision is used…), we follow a newbie reporter as he and his crew follow R-Division 8 out on their sorties.
The zombies here are real fast, and to the film’s credit, they employed a lot of extras to play them so when there was a swarm of Re-Ans there literally was a swarm of them. That’s a bugbear of mine in zombie films; the lack of large groups of zombies attacking (I don’t count the CGI shit-fest in WORLD WAR Z), but in RE-KILL you really felt that the soldiers were actually being over-run. The camerawork used during these action intense scenes was fast and furious and rather annoying at times as it was just a little too quick to get a feel of what was actually happening. One might argue that this is a good thing and helps you feel what the soldiers would be feeling/experiencing, but, bah humbug I say to you, good Sir. Essentially the film is shot “documentary” style, not as shaky as found footage, but don’t expect and non-moving shots here and some minor eye-soreness to be present at the end.
Since we’re essentially watching a TV show, the story is interrupted by “commercials” endorsing the living to reproduce, medication to potentially stop the virus once bitten and other somewhat amusing things. My favourite was the cigarette ad…
We also get side interviews with the R-Division team to try and provide some character development, but it’s as bare-boned as you can get. Anything anyone says was ineffective and essentially redundant as it didn’t really reflect upon their actions during their zombie fighting shenanigans. At one point the writers tried really, REALLY hard to make us feel for a rookie who dies within minutes of his first foray, but it fell completely flat considering we only met the guy literally three minutes before and don’t learn anything about him anyway. The whole attempt at character development is pretty much like that example which was a shame as when done well enough, like in, say, STARSHIP TROOPERS, you have a far more engaging film on your hands. If the writers concentrated on different characters rather than a religious zealot who spouted the same shit again and again, or built up another soldier who witnessed his family being killed, the story would have been far more engaging.
A major gripe of mine in most films (spoofs excluded) are plot conveniences and RE-KILL was full of them. Camera shots not part of the camera crew footage that magically appeared at pivotal shots, people not using explosives when they really bloody should have, soldiers ignoring any form of “elite” training so they could get bitten (don’t expect and flank or rear checking here, boys and gals), scientists ignoring any form of safety or toddler level intelligence and not securing zombies to their gurneys, these conveniences/oversights really hampered my engagement. If you’re a special “elite” zombie killing task force, wouldn’t your gear have some form of neck, head, arm, hell, FULL BLOODY BODY protection to stop zombies from biting you? Wouldn’t you have night vision to spot them in the night? Heat vision (would this even work?)? Incendiary rounds? Anything to make it marginally easier to kill zombies? If an excuse was given as to why this stuff wasn’t used I’d be satisfied, but instead it was just ignored and that made the whole R-Division seem idiotic to me.
There was a lot of action in RE-KILL which is atypical to the zombie genre. No-one gets holed up in a shop/house/<insert building here> so our characters were constantly moving/fleeing. This was the saving grace of RE-KILL for me. If it were slower paced and still as lax as it was in the character development department, it would have been a snooze-fest.
Would I watch this again? No. Though I did find it entertaining enough, there is nothing in RE-KILL that warrants a re-watch from me, especially when I can get a far more entertaining viewing experience from STARSHIP TROOPERS.
Should you watch this? If you like horror, action and zombies, yes, give it a shot. It’s by no means a failure and there as some great action sequences to watch, but switch your brain off at the door for full enjoyment value.
2.5 out of 5 plot conveniences