Starring: Janette Armand, Doug Fahl, Cooper Hopkins, Russell Hodgkinson
The inhabitants of a small township becomes victim to a zombie outbreak, immediately blame terrorism and look within their own community for the cause.
ZMD begins quite strongly for a low budget movie. The acting was good and the script appeared witty and knowing, but it soon fell apart and descended into purile one-liners and truly questionable humour. I had high hopes for the movie but ultimately I was disappointed.
Overall, the acting is quite good for the this level of production. The fact that it was chosen as one of the US After Dark Horrorfest titles should count for something but what doesn't is the particular need to identify a movie with existing popular movies. In this case, both Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland are mentioned in publicity. Ok, I'm not naive, I recognise the need to sell a movie to the public and more often than not, the public need a reference. But, ZMD was never going to come close to either referenced predecessor. It has neither the fun or the wit of either Zom Coms that have gone before and certainly not the polish. This is down to two things; budget and experienced filmmakers.
But everyone has to start somewhere and ZMD is not one of the worst of the zombie genre that I've seen. It delivers in make-up effects that, at worst, reminded me of Peter Jackson's Brain Dead on occasion; not a bad thing. There are plenty of zombies to see and we get the idea that many extras pitched up for this, unlike some of ZMD's cousins.
The writing is frustratingly hit and miss. I enjoyed the opening scene with the Miller family talking to Frida, at the gas station. The dialogue was sharp and well observed and almost deserved a likening to Zombieland. Some of the scenes involving Tom attempting to "out" himself to his mother were mildly amusing too, but fell a little short with an explicit similarity to Brain Dead's lunch scene. The homosexuality angles in the movie seem too contrived and too forced. The second half of the movie appears to totally eschew any subtleties in humour; an example seen in the trailer is Frida rescuing a little girl only for her to be hit by a car leaving her arms in Frida's hands. In isolation, the clip's quite funny, but as the movie deviates from serious views to comedic views I was never sure what the audience should be feeling at that point. Frida had just escaped the clutches of Joe Miller, who saw Frida as an "Eye-racky" terrorist. Whilst there was an attempt at humour with Miller's myopic view of the world, it was off-key. The post 9-11 elements of the plot batter the audience over the head like two severed undead limbs as does the faux liberal vs conservative views, thrown about into a confusing miasma of undead plot. I was reminded of a marginally classier Troma movie. If that's your thing you might enjoy it's tackiness.
The low budget kicks in again with the sound quality, that is all over the place. The editing, at times, makes the action confused and superfluous. As effort was put into the make-up effects, I was surprised. Normally, choppy editing is employed to hide the cheap make-up. I didn't see any need for it here. There are issues with CG blood but I saw no more than any bigger budgeted movie.
Because of the interesting synopsis and the entertaining opening, I so wanted to like
Zombies of Mass Destruction
but came away frustrated. We need an interesting twist on the zombie movie and this could have delivered if a bit more class was employed in the finished product. An impending 2011 sequel might improve themes introduced in this movie but I hold up little hope.
3 out of 10 (Wayfarer)
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