Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Director: Chris Conlee
Writer: Brian Patrick O'Toole
Starring Erick Patrick Kaiser, Sandra Ramirez, Tim Colceri, Noel Gugliemi, Guillermo Diaz, James Duval, Nathan Bexton, Jonathon Breck, Ben Tolpin, Peter Stickles and Katie Corzola
This is yet another in the already overflowing sub genre of zombie films. Though the film does not really add anything new to the genre it utilizes a good many ideas and is able to sustain a entertaining, action packed and gory zombie film throughout. This film is made by the same crew that made a recent slasher film I saw and reviewed recently, Basement Jack. This film I would say is far superior to that film. It makes great use of the locale of a run down apartment building and reminds me of other films that have used a location like this, like Trespass and Tenement. The film at first starts off to seem like a military based zombie film but it quickly transitions to the apartment building and that makes it a far more original and intriguing basis for a zombie film. The added motif of the gang element that is peppered throughout the film really adds some flavor to the film and really makes it memorable. The zombie attacks themselves are done with a good deal of suspense and panache, which you do not see in many zombie films and that is a refreshing change of pace as well. I also thoroughly enjoyed the ending, there was no happily ever after and it had a bit of a malevolent feel to the ending which I always appreciate in my horror films.
The plot basics are this, the United States Military has discovered a microscopic alien life form which can possess the living and reanimate the dead. The Army has tried to develop a altered version of the organism which they can control. This is a plan doomed to failure as it infects soldier to soldier and only one lone scientist, Darren Hall (Kaiser) escapes in one piece and he takes the organism with him. He goes AWOL and moves into a run down apartment building and plans to unravel the secrets of the organism and to try to find a way to reverse what it does to any body it inhabits. HE thinks he creates a cure by testing it on mice and then decides to help a fellow tenant by injecting his cure into his bloodstream, but he does not take his time for his test results and he begins a chain reaction that creates a mob of flesh eating zombies that attack anyone who comes across their path. While this is happening the Army has found Darren and set a Sergeant (Colceri) to clean up his mess and eliminate him, but he falls deep into the zombie problem and him and Darren must join forces if they want to survive the onslaught.
This is a great little zombie film. The direction by Conlee is very tight. He uses the locale of a dilapidated and crime ridden apartment building very well. His use of shadows and lights is expertly done. I especially liked the scene early in the film when one of the first zombies stalks and attacks one of the tenants while she is doing her laundry. It was very suspenseful and kept you on the edge of your seat. The script is very good, it balances several different types of genres throughout the story. The film has elements of a military action film, a siege film, a romance and of course a zombie film. It is able to balance these all adroitly without losing its essence of a horror movie. The characterization is great too. The character of Darren is very likable, he can be seen at times as heroic and at others weak and it really works within the context of the story. The character of the apartment manager is a interesting one too. He always seems a bit off and at the end of the film you finally get some pay off for that feeling. The cast is excellent. Kaiser as Darren is a great lead and you really want him to succeed and escape with the girl. Ramirez as Maddie is very sexy and personable and you never get tired of keeping your eyes on her. Colceri as the gung ho Sergeant who begrudgingly helps Darren is very good too and gives a great action hero presence to the proceedings. The SFX and effects in the film are top notch. the zombie attacks are quick and brutal. The camera stays on them just long enough for you to get a good feel for the ferocity of the attacks. The climax of the film with hordes of zombies attacking the heroes is heart pumping and the blood sprays heavily throughout. This is by far one of the better independent zombie films I have seen recently and definitely makes up for the abysmal ones like Automaton Transfusion.
This one gets 4 out of 5