Posts Tagged ‘Infected’

Zombie Movie Night: July! Go!

Buck Wild

Buck Wild

Last year the movie Infected teased us all with the thought of zombie deer. It did not deliver, but lo and behold, my dream of zombie deer tearing shit up was given new hope when I saw that there was a zombie movie called Buck Wild. Going on nothing but name alone, I entered Buck into the ranks of ZMN.

In a standard horror set-up, four buddies are going on vacation to a secluded hunting lodge for a weekend of bonding and not-getting-murdered. Unluckily for them, the lodge’s owner was recently bitten by a chupacabra, the cryptozoological “Goat Sucker,” and seems to be under the weather as a result. Spoiler Alert: He turns into a zombie.

THE GOOD: Buck Wild is a zombie comedy…..and it’s actually funny. The lead is a lovable loser. His buddies are a male slut and an uptight stiff (dare I say, nerd? I’ll leave that for the next review). But the scene stealer in Buck is the lead’s off-kilter cousin, who comes along for the ride and proceeds to make everyone uncomfortable by sharpening his knife in his sleep and practicing martial arts in the nude. This kind of character has been tried plenty of times and typically succeeds or fails based on the actor and dialogue. Luckily, in this case, both are strong.

THE BAD: I liked this movie a lot, but there were two moments that really fell flat. 1) The chupacabra at the beginning was a terrible looking puppet and overall unnecessary. It never returns and there was no reason to include this as the cause of the outbreak. 2) A scene in which a zombie provides Freudian psychotherapy to the main character really didn’t work. It certainly didn’t fit with the type of zombies the movie portrayed, but more importantly, it wasn’t funny. The next scene shows the lead sleeping, so I’ll at least give Buck the benefit of the doubt and say that it was a dream sequence.

THE ZOMBIES: And now the moment you’ve been waiting for! Zombie Deer……..are not present (wah wah). Nope, just standard zombies. Sometimes running, somewhat functioning when first infected, but overall pretty standard (save for scene mentioned above).

VERDICT: I went into Buck Wild with zero expectations. Based on title, poster, and description I thought for sure we were looking at bottom 10% of the list. I can’t really remember the last time I was this surprised on ZMN. This is a damn good movie. Definitely worth checking out. Grade: B+

Current ZMN Rank: #38 out of 146

Golden Zombey Watch: I could potentially see nominations for this one all over the ballot: Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Villain, Duo, Origin, Best Zombie Comedy, Soundtrack, Most Memorable Massacring, Bizarre Zombie Behavior, and WTF Moment.

Attack of the Vegan Zombies

Attack of the Vegan Zombies

If I’m going to give Attack of the Vegan Zombies any credit at all, it has a wacky-ass original premise. Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. A couple owns a vineyard. Years of unsuccessful harvests have led them to the brink of bankruptcy. In order to save the farm, Wife goes to her mother for help. Mom is a witch (resentful of her rebellious daughter, who chose not to be a witch). Wife and Mom make a potion to create a bountiful harvest. One of the ingredients is blood, which Wife collects from Husband (by tricking him into crazy, nasty, vicious, bloody, off-screen sex). Potion works! Fast forward to next year, the vineyard is so successful the couple hires local students to help them harvest all the grapes. But these are angry grapes. Aggressive grapes. See, Husband had been drinking before Wife took his blood. His blood angered up the grapes and now they crave….wine! And what’s the best way to get wine? By creating zombies, of course. Zombies that crave….wine! And if they can’t get wine, they’ll settle for the blood of humans that have recently drank (drunken?) wine. Because the wine is in their blood! Got it? Good. Let’s move on.

THE GOOD: No, let’s start with THE BAD: it makes more sense that way. Because this movie is bad. Really bad. First off, with a title and a description like that, you’d think that this would be tongue-in-cheek, off the walls whack-a-doo. But, it’s played fairly straight the whole time. Odd decision, but OK. Worse than this is the fact that all of the acting and all of the characters are terrible. Two of the students are nerds. You know they’re nerds because they wear glasses, button down shirts, pocket protectors, and reference Star Trek in nasally nerd voices. This wasn’t funny on Saved by the Bell, and it’s not funny now.

THE GOOD: The only saving grace for AotVZ is that it is at least enjoyably bad. Much on the level of Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill, everything in this movie is so bad that you can’t help but root for it. And, there is a throwaway lesbian with some boobage. They’re not the greatest boobs, but hey, credit where credit is due.

THE ZOMBIES: Oh yeah, the zombies look terrible too. Green face and body paint accompanied by neon green blood, a la Troll 2. And did I mention that the zombies attack humans to get at the wine in their blood? WTF!?!

THE VERDICT: So bad it’s good still doesn’t really equal a good movie. For the hardcore only. Grade: D

Current ZMN Rank: #128 out of 146

Golden Zombey Watch: Likely nominations for Origin and Bizarre Zombie Behavior. Best Nudity would be a stretch, but I’m not sure how much competition there has been this year. The whole movie itself could get nominated for WTF.

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.

Zombie Movie Night, July 2012 was a Night of Stars….well, maybe more like a Night of Vaguely Familiar Actors. We started the night with famous movie and television jerk, Michael Ironside in…

Mutants

Your Mom always told you not to eat too much sugar. Turns out that she wasn’t concerned about you gaining weight or having too much energy before bed. She must have known about the secret experiments that evil sugar companies engage in to make their sugar super-addictive.

That’s the honest-to-goodness basis of the zombie outbreak in Mutants. They even have an evil Russian scientist on the case (though he looks Puerto Rican and has quite possibly the worst Russian accent I’ve ever heard). Never before has sweet sugar been so incredibly evil.

When they started creating zombies they crossed that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy

Things get a little sticky for the company when they accidentally conduct their evil sugar experiments on a couple of kids with families instead of their normal runaways and homeless drug addicts.

THE GOOD: Mutants is a decent film. And even the parts that are less than decent are entertaining, including some really terrible acting, the Puerto Rican Russian guy’s accent, the young female lead who I think was supposed to be around age 22 but looked more like 35, and Michael Ironside being the headlining actor but only appearing in about 1/4 of the film.

THE BAD: Nothing atrocious here, but just about everything I included in the last category could also be put into this one.

THE ZOMBIES: The zombies here are of the infected variety. The most notable thing about them is ineffectiveness. They don’t get loose and attack until late in the film and when they do, they sure suck. By my count only one zombie gets a confirmed kill, all the rest pop up only to be quickly shot dead. Threat Level: 2

VERDICT: Mutants is middle-of-the-pack zombie fare. It’s SyFy level quality and entertaining enough. It’s nowhere near as good as the French zombie film of the same name. If you’re trying to impress a friend with the quality of zombie movies, make sure you grab that one and not this one by mistake. Grade: C

Current ZMN Rank: #43 out of 81

 Then, the star power got amped up to the next level with….

The Terror Experiment

You probably thought you were safe from the evil sugar companies in the relative security of your office cubicle, but you were wrong. Dead Wrong! In The Terror Experiment, a domestic terrorist decides to open America’s eyes by unleashing a violent contagion in a high-rise office building. Inside the building, we find out that if you were on the 6th floor or higher you might be OK, but if you found yourself on a lower floor, you’re pretty fucked. The story mainly follows a dude who looks an awful lot like the dude from Mallrats (turns out there are two twin London brothers, Jeremy and Jason, both familiar yet largely unaccomplished) as he searches for his daughter, who was on the 4th floor at the time of the outbreak. While he and his ragtag group of survivors fight zombies inside, outside the building the real acting heavyweights butt heads on how to appropriately deal with the situation. Making his second ZMN appearance, C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy) plays the chief of police. He and a spunky firefighter, famous “that guy” Lochlyn Munro, argue for saving the survivors against the wishes of 80’s super team, Judd Nelson (as an cold-hearted FBI? CIA? agent) and Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds (a pragmatic scientist determined to contain and cover up the zombie threat).

THE GOOD: The Terror Experiment actually has some pretty good acting for a zombie film. While the used-to-be famous people outside the building do their share of over-acting and crying, Jason London and the female lead, Alicia Leigh Willis actually put in some good performances in the face of the zombie pandemic. The pace of the film is also good with a nice, quick introduction of the main characters, followed by the initial outbreak, then zombie action with no extended dull periods.

THE BAD: Nothing stands out as being particularly bad, but it’s not a great movie either. I think some of the problem is the lack of originality. TTZ doesn’t really bring anything new to the table and borrows heavily from [REC]/Quarantine and Resident Evil.

THE ZOMBIES: We’ve got infected zombies here again. A conveniently placed scientist explains to the viewers survivors that the contagion is a weaponized gas intended to be used against enemy combatants. It raises the victim’s adrenaline to crazy heights, activating their Fight or Flight responses to insane levels (though all the zombies seem to be intent on fighting, no zombies are seen manically running away because of their enhanced Flight response). The zombies can wield weapons and also seem capable of limited communication, but only if they happen to be your ex-wife. Threat Level: 7

VERDICT: TTZ is another middle-of-the-road’er. Nothing spectacular, but nothing groin-kickingly awful. It gets a few extra points just based on the familiar faces, but it too gets a Grade: C

Current ZMN Rank: #41 out of 81

Current Zombie Movie Night Standings