When a worldwide viral outbreak leads to a plague of zombies scouring the earth for the living, two survivors flee the chaos of America to a remote island, hoping for a chance to start a new life. What they find is unrelenting horror. Beyond the hordes of the flesh-hungry undead, the other people already on the island force the pair into a fight-or-die battle amongst themselves. Armed only with crude weapons, they must descend to savagery and cutthroat tactics just to make it through each day.
Now that zombie films are a dime a dozen, it’s getting harder to distinguish the good from the bad. I’m finding myself tired of the stories that deal with the beginning of the apocalypse. I’m sure a film will come along and impress me again eventually, but right now I’m digging the stories that focus more on the drama of trying to rebuild your life after the apocalypse has destroyed it. This story can be told a million different ways since everyone reacts differently and be told through different eyes and perspectives. This is why a film like “Dead Season” impresses me so much. It isn’t weighed down by an origin story, it jumps right into the lives of our lead characters and takes us on an interesting journey.
Elvis (Scott Peat) has been on his own for a long time. His wife and child died in the initial outbreak, leaving him to survive on his own. He has a decent little apartment setup with enough supplies to last him a while. His goal is to make it to an old friend who has a boat for him in Miami so he can set out to an uninhabited island. He has been communicating with Tweeter (Marissa Merrill) over a CB radio. She and a young boy named Cody (Christian Mooney) have had enough being on their own and decide to team up with Elvis. They get their boat and head into the water. The odds are against them but they eventually find themselves on an island that has a small survivor community headed by Kurt Conrad (James C. Burns) who runs them with an iron fist. He has a set of rules that everyone must follow in order for the rest to survive. His daughter Rachel (Corsica Wilson) is kept locked up with no real idea of what is happening outside. The men in the compound work while the few women are expected to just be there at their beckon call. Something doesn’t seem right in the camp and Tweeter will do anything to get to the bottom of it.
The first thing I noticed during the first few minutes of the film is that it looks incredibly polished. While you can tell the film had a tiny budget, the execution was very straight forward and visually interesting. I imagine it would be difficult on such a small budget to pull off that end of days type look but director Adam Deyoe does so with flying colors. The majority, if not all, the effects were done using practical methods and most the zombie make-up looked decent.
The story is unique enough to hold your attention. For me, this is where the film steps up. Not only are we given strong, well developed characters, they are given a story that is worthy of them. Thankfully, the actors who portray these characters are terrific. The entire cast has a strong chemistry, something we don’t get to see very often. My only complaint of the film was that the climax felt a bit rushed. While the majority of the film is really good, the climax (it does work) just seemed to lack a little bit of excitement. Like there should have been more of a resolution.
“Dead Season” does most everything thing right. From a strong story, to likable, fully developed characters. I guess I may have forgotten to mention that there is some nice effects that are rather gruesome and yes, BLOODY!! With the exception of the lackluster climax, it’s still a solid entry in the genre. More films should take note of “Dead Season” and how the story unfolds. They tackle interesting issues and venture into areas many of the others have yet to do. I’m happy to announce that after watching this (as well as “Juan of the Dead”) that I’m beginning to remember why it is that I love zombie films so much. Highly recommended!!
Dead Season (2012)