Infected & Detention of the Dead

Posted: 08/07/2013 in Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

Normally, Zombie Movie Night gets all screwed up in August due to vacation plans. One year it actually took place in July. Last year we did a great disservice to Exit Humanity by trying to watch it after a full day of vacation activities and ended up nearly falling asleep. This year I have a new job and have not yet earned time off. The same is true for my brother’s wife. Bad news for summer vacation. Good news for Zombie Movie Night. First up, we had the Michael Madsen, William Forsythe driven film:

Infected

Infected

In Infected, Madsen (best known  for Reservoir Dogs) and Forsythe (best known as the thin-dicked detective from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) get together with their mostly-estranged adult children for a weekend of drinking and hunting. Little do they know that a zombie virus has been spreading from ticks to deer to humans at the same time. That’s right! Zombie Deer! Unfortunately, there’s only a fleeting look at a deer eating a squirrel before the focus is placed squarely on human zombies. (Huge opportunity lost, in my opinion)

THE GOOD: Infected is an entertaining movie for the most part. Madsen and Forsythe do a lot of acting in the form of grunts and gritted teeth, which is fun on a weird level. The other performers are less “intense” but do a fairly good job. The plot line is standard zombie stuff and doesn’t ever get unnecessarily confusing or slowed down.

THE BAD: If you’re going to tease me with zombie deer, you damn well better deliver. I was expecting a deer attack on par with Blood Creek’s Mother-Fuckin’ Zombie Horse. What I got was stock footage of deer in the forest. Unforgivable.

The ending of Infected is also a bit disjointed, as a number of characters die off-screen as Madsen voices over an epilogue that feels more like the beginning of a new movie. It left me wondering if the creators ran out of money for the ending they really wanted or if they just had more ideas that they didn’t know how to fit into their movie.

THE ZOMBIES: Infected does something fairly interesting with its zombies; victims don’t go full-zombie right away and even after they do, they have fleeting moments of humanity. My brother likened it to the Marvel Zombies series, with the zombies expressing remorse after feeding. In the film, one zombie has a phone conversation with his ex-wife after eating their daughter. He’s not so much remorseful as he is in denial. It might have been interesting if the filmmakers explored this a little more, but it only comes up briefly for the rest of the movie.

VERDICT: Infected is slightly above average. I’ll recommend it for zombie fans, but not for the general population. Grade: C+

Current ZMN Rank: #64 out of 120

Golden Zombey WatchMichael Madsen’s over-the-top shout-acting might earn him a nod for Best Actor. There’s a totally unnecessary topless scene that will probably be worth Best Nudity attention. I’d look for Infected in the Original Zombie Origin and Worst Ending fields as well.

Detention of the Dead

Detention of the Dead

I chose Detention of the Dead for ZMN for two reasons. 1) It had the Matt & Kim song, “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare” in the trailer and 2) one of the characters looks slightly like my sister’s boyfriend (you’re just going to have to guess which one). DotD delivered on those two levels: the soundtrack is great and that guy does look a little like Chad. Unfortunately, it fails in a number of other key areas.

DotD bills itself as The Breakfast Club with zombies. Six stereotypes find themselves in detention as the zombie apocalypse commences. Can Nerd, Cool Jock, Goth Chick, Dumb Jock, Cheerleader, and Stoner put their high school differences aside in order to survive?

THE GOOD: DotD looks really good. It feels like a real movie (high praise in the zombie genre). The actors are all good. The zombies look decent, as do the effects (outside of some bad-looking dismembered limbs). But without a doubt, the strongest thing about the film is its soundtrack. It features a nice collection of indie rock. In addition to Matt & Kim, there’s Nada Surf’s version of “Where Is My Mind?,” Band of Skulls’ “Impossible,” and appropriately, the Sprites’ “George Romero.”

THE BAD: There’s really nothing worse than bad comedy. And DotD features a bunch of it, especially in the first act. It’s not DeadHeads-level bad, but it’s not funny. The film actually seems to ditch most attempts at comedy as it progresses, but it had already lost me too much to come back from. It’s a pity too, if the filmmakers had tweaked the mood a bit in the first act, this could have been a much stronger movie.

THE ZOMBIES: Pretty standard zombies. Bites cause festering wounds that eventually lead to full-on zombieism. They appear to be fairly sturdy as one continues to chomp and growl even after decapitation.

VERDICT: We’re not laughing with you or at you. DotD’s strengths are not enough to make it anything better than mediocre. Grade: C

Current ZMN Rank: #70 out 120

Golden Zombey WatchMaybe Best Supporting Actress for the cheerleader, Christa B. Allen. Strongest contender is definitely Best Soundtrack. Best Zombie Comedy would be a big stretch, but I’d have to check on how weak that field is this season.

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