Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Zombie Massacre
Zombie Massacre arrived about a month late, which still means it has been sitting on my desk for about a month waiting for me to get to it. When a screener arrives late, I put it somewhere in the pile of late reviews based on a few factors. If it is just a day or so late, I try to get to it right away so the review is still timely. If it is more than a week late, it goes lower in the pile. If it is almost a month late and I didn't request it in the first place, it goes to be bottom of the pile. However, it is nearly Halloween, so I figured I better get to this one before it is too late. Has it aged well sitting on my desk? Or should I have pretended it didn't arrive at all?
The film begins in a small town of Rojznov, Romania in Easter Europe. We watch a woman working a dreary job, come home, and help her elderly father eat. While she's cleaning up, there's an explosion in the distant background. She goes outside to see what happened and sees black rain fall. She catches a few drops in her hand and walks back into her home. Almost immediately, she turns into a zombie and we see her attack a passing motorist and join a crowd of the undead.
This ends the prologue, and the best part of the movie.
Next we see two men in a room talking about the mission. One is referred to as Mr. Secretary and the other I will call Mr. Exposition. Actually, since he's a general, it should be General Exposition. We learn that the military was conducting experiments in Rojznov, an isolated town with just a nuclear power plant and the workers and their families around it. Since they were not supposed to be in this part of the world, they can't let any information leak about what happened there, so they will need a send in someone to clean up this mess, someone skilled, but expendable. For a leader, they choose Jack Stone, a military man sentenced to life imprison and who has no family, except for his seven-year old daughter. He'll take the mission for a chance at freedom. He will be backed up by three mercenaries: John 'Mad Dog' McKellen, a weapons / demolitions expert; Dragan Ilic, a sniper, who was in the Bosnian war; and Eden Shizuka, an expert in hand-to-hand combat. We also also told about a doctor, Doctor Neumann, who created this mess and has now disappeared, and his daughter, Sam, who might have the cure.
After some excruciating banter between Mad Dog and Dragan, which feels like it goes on for ten minutes (at least Eden is the strong silent type), we finally learn the details of the plan. They are to get to the nuclear plant, plant the bomb, and get out within the hour. The bomb will destroy the town, in what will looks like a terrible accident, killing all of the infected and stopping the spread, while still keeping their military experiments there quiet.
With that, our protagonists are on their way. ... Ten minutes later, something interesting finally happens. Our heroes learn that they were double-crossed by General Exposition. The bomb is permanently connected to the truck, so they will have to find another way back. Shortly after this discovery, and a third of the way into the movie, we finally see more zombies and we get our first "action" scene.
I'm going to stop the plot summary there, not because I'm worried about a spoiler, but because I don't want to talk about the movie anymore than I have to. It really isn't worth it. This is a bad movie. There's no other way to describe it than that. It's bad for a number of reasons. Let's start with the writing, which is weak in three main areas. Firstly, the overall plot is predictable. Secondly, the characters are walking stereotypes. Thirdly, the dialogue is cringe-worthy. I realize that's pretty much every aspect of the writing. Because the dialogue is so bad, it is hard to judge the quality of the acting in the movie, but even taking that into account, the acting ranges from okay to awful. Of the main cast, Tara Cardinal comes across as the best, partially because she speaks the least, so she has fewer bad lines to deal with. (The lady in the prologue is actually the best actor overall.) Uwe Boll is the worst of the cast. Yep, he produced the movie and has a cameo... as the President of the United States.
Zombie Massacre is technically a horror film, but there are no really tense moments and certainly nothing I would call scary. You can't even call it an action film, because there are far too few moments of action, and the ones we see are very poorly choreographed and repetitive. There are some good special effects in the movie, at least the practical zombie makeup, is good. The CGI is terrible. But that's about as close as you will get to a positive in the movie, outside of the prologue, which I actually did like.
Extras begin with a storyboard-to-screen comparison for the prologue and another scene. There is also Superfreak, a 42-minute long making of featurette. If the movie were good, this would be worth watching. But listening to people talk about a bad movie is not engaging. (Seeing some of the special effects shots as they were made is the best part of the Blu-ray.)
The technical presentation is fair. There are some problems with the video, mainly bleached out colors, but these were aesthetic choices and you can't blame the transfer for that. The level of details is good, compared to most direct-to-DVD releases, and there are no issues with compression, etc. The audio is clean, for the most part. Some of the accents are a little... well, I would suggest watching the movie with the subtitles on. (Strike that, I would suggest not watching the movie at all.) There are some directional effects and the bass gets a bit of a workout. Overall, the Blu-ray looks and sounds better than I was anticipating.
The Blu-ray costs $1.50 or 14% more than the DVD. That's a real bargain, if the movie was worth picking up.
Zombie Massacre is bad. I know I've used that word a number of times already, but it is accurate. I guess I could crack open a thesaurus and get creative, but this movie just isn't worth the effort. The extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray aren't amazing, but better than most similar releases. That said, it is still not even worth a rental.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-10-21