Primal & Wild Zero

Posted: 01/11/2012 in Movies

The first Zombie Movie Night of 2012 brought us to the mysterious lands of Australia and Japan. Our most recent experiences with these countries were pretty disappointing. Damned by Dawn (Autstralia) was a mixed-up, mess of a movie and Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay (Japan) for all its potential for wacky awesomeness, was just plain boring. Would the Land Down Under and the Far East provide more entertainment this go-around? Read on, brave zombie fan, read on.

Primal

Six attractive young people (aged somewhere between 18 and 25) take a road trip to the middle of nowhere. If you’ve ever seen a horror movie, you know this is not a recipe for the perfect vacation. Sure enough, the site that the group is venturing to see (in this case an astonishly well-perserved cave drawing that’s 12000 years old) contains an evil curse. It’s not long before a demonic (zombie!?!) rabbit attacks one of the girls (think bastard woodland child of the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the rat-monkey from Dead Alive). Naturally the first girl to get naked is doomed, as she quickly goes all Primal(!) on her old buddies.

THE GOOD: Sure, the opening is a total horror cliche, but once it gets going, Primal is a pretty good little horror movie (it even scored a genuine jump-scare out of my brother). Production value, dialogue, and acting is all well above baseline zombie standards. The slutty girl turned evil zombie monster turns in a really fun performance as she yells, bites, and generally acts like a crazy person.

THE BAD: Primal was a fun movie, trucking along at a nice pace and providing lots of entertainment. Then, wham!, in the final minutes almost blows it with a really bizarre, disturbing, and unnecessary evil-cave-slug rape scene. Luckily it doesn’t detract too much from the rest of the film, though I suspect that the category of Worst Ending might make a return at this year’s Golden Zombey Awards (I’m looking at you, Nightmare City and Silent Night, Zombie Night).

THE ZOMBIES: Primal is a bit of a stretch as a zombie movie, but my zombie standards are pretty liberal and in my opinion the film fits the bill. The zombies here were once human (or rabbit), they eat flesh, and the survivors suffer angst in fighting them, failing to accept that their loved ones are gone: zombie enough for me! In appearance, the zombies are similar to those found in the movie Demons (a good film that also sparks debate among zombie fans), they have sharp bitey teeth and run around trying to eat anything in sight.

THE VERDICT: Primal is above average as both a zombie and horror movie. Despite the poor ending, it was really a lot of fun to watch. It’s currently available instantly on Netflix, so if you get the chance, have a seat and check it out. Then debate with your zombie-snob friends whether it should truly be considered a zombie flick. You know where I stand if you need back-up!

Current ZMN Rank: #19 out of 65

Wild Zero

Wild Zero had been on my zombie-to-do list for quite awhile. I’d read good reviews and had high hopes going in. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that it lives up to the hype.

The story revolves around real-life band Guitar Wolf, which consists of three dudes who are too cool for school (the aptly named Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, and Drum Wolf). Early on, they have a run-in with their evil, short-shorts wearing manager. They survive the altercation with a little accidental help from their bumbling number one fan, Ace. Then zombies attack, and things start making less sense.

THE GOOD: Wild Zero has some bizarrely entertaining moments. It also contains positive messages about love and tolerance (Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders! Do it!) Unfortunately, a lot of nonsense is thrown against the wall and only a portion of it sticks.

THE BAD: Zero is all tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top, which isn’t a bad thing if done well. In this case, however, not enough of it pays off. There’s a very loose underlying plot, and not enough of the wackiness comes together in any cohesive way until the end of the movie. I was left tired and irritated by a lot of the characters, including the band, in which only 1/3 really do anything in the movie.

THE ZOMBIES: Zombies here are mainly slow moving. There is some inconsistency as at times the zombies seem more capable than they appear. One zombie is able to imitate a human voice in order to trick some survivors, though he appears to be the only zombie able to pull this trick off, I guess it was just convenient for the scene. The make-up job is also unimpressive. All of the zombies have caked-on bright blue skin. I don’t know if it was meant to be an homage to Dawn of the Dead’s blue zombies, but either way, it just looks kind of stupid.

THE VERDICT: Wild Zero isn’t a bad movie. It was much better than Battle Girl and slightly better than Versus (another overrated movie, in my opinion). It’s just not a really good movie either. Perhaps I made the most critical error when watching zombie movies: I went in with expectations.

Current ZMN Rank: #40 out of 65

Zombie Movie Night Standings: ZMN PDF

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