Zombies come out at night and two families must survive until morning.
Oh man I loved this movie! I actually saw it a few months before it was brought to me for review, based mainly on the cast. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
From a story by Richard Shenkman (Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies) and directed by John Culager (Piranha 3DD), The story follows two families through one terrible night at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
Our characters race desperately through the night, seeking a safe harbor from the living dead. Starting with a father, daughter, and the daughter’s best friend (whom we lose VERY quickly), the group picks up friends and family members along the way.
There’s alot of “run and hide”, with some rather creative choices. The caretaker’s shack in the grave yard ( which also provides a nice selection of self defense items) and a greenhouse, which is actually one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Basically, zombie chow under glass.
The suggestion seems to be that the zombies are inactive in daylight, kind of like the ghouls in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (which, of course, in the book were vampires not zombies, but hey…). How they know this isn’t really explained, but that’s ok.
The film wastes no time at all getting to the good stuff. We have gore in the first five minutes and it doesn’t slow down at all
Special effects are actually quite good. Mostly practical make ups,¬† created by Synapse FX, who appear to be¬† the in-house effects company for Asylum. Classic, Romero style zombies in their overall look. Dry and crusty, with just a little bit of yuck. But in color.
When I first saw this film, I thought the cast list was a typo. I mean, I love Asylum films, but this was just too good to be true.¬† I was shocked at who was listed for this thing –
Anthony Michael Hall (Edward Scissorhands, The Breakfast Club, The Dead Zone) plays the father.
Daryl Hannah (Splash, Bladerunner,Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2) plays the mom.
Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family, Days of our Lives) as the blind Grandma.
Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Spin City, Greek) as¬† the daughter’s boyfriend’s father.
and that’s not even all. We also have Rachael Fox (Desperate Housewives), and Jennifer Taylor (Two and a Half Men).
Anthony Michael Hall has grown up, in case anyone was wondering. He’s a million years from that geeky little dweeb he always played back in the 80s. He’s a dad on the job, and plays the part with a strong yet compasionate attitude. Also, he’s gotten a bit buff. So he’s really good at killing stuff. Always a bonus.
Daryl Hannah is almost unrecognizable. She is apparently a stay at home mom, caring for her blind mother (Shirley Jones) and generally keeping things running smoothly. A typical suburban wife and mother, at least until it all goes to hell.
Shirley Jones is a star in this story. Her performance is simply fantastic – over the top, and a bit melodramatic perhaps, but perfect for the film. In what I can only describe as an audition for a Hammer Horror, Shirley just chews the place up.
Alan Ruck, basically playing a grown up “zombie apocalypse” variant of his character from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, is awesome. Apparently this guy has always been a bit paranoid and just so happens to have a panic room in his house. How convienent.¬† Yes, this panic room does become a plot point later in the film.
Even the extras and children and monsters turn in star performances. There’s a scene with a cop and a little girl fending off both the hordes of undead and the panicked living that really sells the horror home.
The score is by Alan Howarth, whose name may be familiar to some of you. Just a sampling of his credits – Tank Girl, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, Escape from New York, My Science Project. Seriously, this guy has worked on every cool film ever made EVER in one capacity or another.
I seriously can’t say anything bad about this film. I kinda want to, just for general principles. I could point out a few plot holes in the story, like how a basement full of zombies suddenly empties out, then just as quickly refills with drooling carnivourous dead. Where the hell did they go? And honestly..it’s a zombie film. Not a lot of new ground being broken here.
Just watch the darn thing, folks. It’s not Citizen Kane, but it’s a damn good time and I loved it!¬† Trust me when I say that the end of the film is pretty awesome, and you’ll be glad you sat through it.
One a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I give this film 8 drooling zombies.