Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Ving Rhames, Nick Cannon, Mena Suvari's Massive Forehead.
Steve Miner

I'd like it down on record that I was tricked into watching this. The TV guide said it was the 1985 original, and even the voiceover chap on the telly said it was the George A Romero one. Naughty ITV4.
So where to start?

Despite starring Ving Rhames, this isn't a sequel to the Dawn of The Dead remake. Ving plays Rhodes, who fans of the original will fondly remember for being a complete prick who got torn to ribbons by zombies whilst screaming the immortal words "CHOKE ON 'EM!". That doesn't happen to Ving, but I think it's probably down to the filmmakers forgetting to add that bit rather than anything else.

Rhodes is an army general, I think. Who might be in charge of the army that's currently quarantining off a small Colorado town. To be honest, the first 5 - 10 minutes could easily get chopped and prove no detriment to the film. Also, Ving isn't in the film for long, although he does come back as a legless zombie who eats his own eyeball. And I mean legless as in no lower limbs, not drunk. That would have been pretty good if they did that.

So, Ving's elongated cameo as a useless character aside, that leaves Mena Suvari's Massive Forehead to lead the action. Her face is an army, um, sergeant? I don't know, actually; they never say. She's not a grunt, anyway. Mena's face ends up accompanied by a "what you sayin' bout my niggers?" black private, a sweetnatured communications officer, a smarmy doctor and Mena's face's own little brother and his girlfriend, as they try to avoid the zombies and figure out an escape plan.

To be fair, the acting's largely solid, as is the direction. I even ended up liking Nick Cannon as the "I so black, don't mess wid this brutha" character. Miss Suvari might have slipped into Direct-To-DVD purgatory since her American Pie days but she does alright here, although her freakishly wide eyes and low-set face make her almost as unnerving to watch as the zombies themselves.

Ah yes, the zombies. The make-up fx are top notch, and when a practical effect is used it also looks really ace. Unfortunately, there's far too much CGI blood, and the zombies themselves are laughably mixed-up. One moment they're lurching around like super-charged epileptics, the next they're doing a Spider-Man and sticking to the roof/wall. Hmmm. And, the point is made that they retain some knowledge from before they changed, which is fair enough, but is completely spoiled as a plot device once you see zombies using mops to bang on a roof in an attempt to shake the heroes out of the air vents. Quiet up there, ya damn punk kids!

Also, when someone changes, they either freeze for a few moments as their skin rots...or they don't, and change pretty quickly without a pause. The whole film is unfortunate in this respect, in that it keeps throwing up interesting ideas, and then pisses all over them in complete disregard for the rules that've just been set up. Bad form, Steve Miner!

An example: in the original film, there's a zombie called Bub. Bub is being trained/kept as he shows the most advanced signs of retaining some humanity, and ends up shooting a gun. In this version, there's Bud. Bud is sweet on Mena's face, and when he turns he takes on the role of 'Bub', retaining more humanity than the other monsters. Eventually, he tries to fight other zombies to save Mena's face, and fires a gun at other zombies. This scene would have had a lot more weight if we hadn't already seen a swarm of spastic army zombies spasming along whilst wildly firing rifles into the air. See? Laughable.

Taurus Entertainment is the company behind the film. To give you an idea of what sort of company they are, here's a link to the films they've been behind.

I have to admit I did enjoy this film, even though it's set during the night. Ha ha. The worse thing, though, is that it almost succeeds in being actually worthwhile, which is far worse than just being shit. Ultimately, shoddy ideas and zombies that act like feral retards sink this ship.

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