Film Review: Zombie Apocalypse (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

Months after a zombie plague has wiped out 90 percent of the American population, a small group of survivors fight their way cross-country to a rumored refuge on the island of Catalina.

REVIEW:

This 2011 action horror film comes directly from the production house of Asylum Entertainment Films. As with most of these zombie films, this one “also” begins with a virus already in effect… VM2, I believe. Zombies come running out of nooks and crannies while a rouge surviving team takes them down one by one. With plenty of impressive gore effects the moments provide a healthy dose of gore hound eye candy. The beheadings are especially cool combined with the cut-right-to-it violent mega-slaughters.

This approach, by the way, looks familiar as a recent method being used in quite a few independent releases as of late. The gags entail combining the practical FX of the shoot with carefully edited-in blood blasts and tracking cuts. What we end up with is an effective way for slicing off bits off zombies more easily, but always leaving a subtle air of disbelief in the process.

In any regards, there are ALOT of zombies kills crammed within making for good screen time. The purpose and drive of this story is an end-destination called Catalina. Apparently the local is well-protected providing a safe haven as survivors await a returning ferry boat. This struggle for survival is always in play as warriors of the current age make their way across the urban environment  littered with the undead. Zombie Apocalypse is not a video game concept, however it at times feels like it could be.

Ving Rhames heads the pack as a strong leader who prefersa powerful yet effective sledgehammer as his weapon of choice for smashing heads. His team is also positioned  nicely holding equal weapons of choice  displaying at times like a small rag tag team of super heroes. Cassie (Lesley-Ann Brandt) prefers her razor sharp ninja sword while Sarah (Anya Monzikova) is just fine with a simple bow and arrow. The group itself grows as they encounter more survivors. A bit of the add-and-lose bodies style makes for a cast that seems to evolve on its own. Taryn Manning plays Ramona who is positioned to be the underdog of the group. She usually is injected into the more emotional scenes but pulled back a bit during the action of the movie to be taken on by others.

Zombie Apocalypse” is in fact a very simple horror film. As filmmakers we have grown clever in our variety of killing off extras. This is only reinforced by the job of the makeup team who have to make the undead feel ….well rather disgusting. I was impressed with the makeup department most of the time when they injected more effort into clever kill zombies. A few zombies were a bit odd looking ranging from alien to cartoon at times. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all, but it’s always better than using the same ol green spray-painted zombies we’ve seen on other productions.

I do give the filmmakers kudos in that they make best attempts at giving the characters an emotional base that we can connect too. What I thought became lethargic at times was that the setting is pretty typical of these journey, kill and find sanctuary style films. This is especially overdone in the zombie genre these days that while providing action still becomes a but tiresome. Their is an original ending confrontation that adds a tint of excitement to the whole deal. The idea is originally done, so I’ll give them points on that.

The CGI is a little sketchy but as good as this production can probably take on. In regards to the CGI, you will of course note that the team has gotten the CGI background approach down pretty well with some solid backing shots added into to the urban shot sets. Zombie Apocalypse is a pretty interesting release for Asylum Entertainment team which tops several other zombie releases of this past year. The film was originally broadcast as a Syfy channel movie event, but is better served in “this” uncut form. I didn’t see the Syfy release version but imagine with its toned down killings, that much of the eye candy here would be absent making for a boring experience.

Zombie Apocalypse (2011)

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