I decided to toss one newer to me zombie movie in the marathon before finishing things off with some old favorites. I had heard about this one for a couple of years and honestly it never appealed to me. When it showed up on Amazon Prime and I wasn’t in the mood for anything else I hit play. How bad could it be?
The plot of this movie is interesting. You have a zombie outbreak that occurs on the set of a low budget zombie movie being shot in New Zealand. This happens on Wesley’s first day as a runner, what we would call a gopher here in the states. We are introduced to the rest of the characters as Wesley is forced to interact with them. Most of them are jerks who laugh at him when he tells them he just graduated from film school. There is the stressed-out megalomaniacal director, the insane prop man, actors that are vain and obnoxious, and of course a couple of nice characters that survive for a while with Wesley. Guts get munched as the living die off dealing with an increasing horde of zombies.
This movie had the potential to go horribly wrong with the gimmicky setting of a zombie movie, but it didn’t. The horror is spread out and the movie has a couple jump scares that work okay. The zombie makeup effects are decent and go from full on mangled corpse to barely dead hot zombie chick with creepy contacts. These and all those in between are executed with practical makeup work that has that old school feel I’m always craving. The kills are also mostly pulled off with on set latex and blood spray. Throats get ripped, heads explode, and eyes get knifed out in a fun reverse “Fulci” gag. Don’t expect Savini at his prime sort of work, but for a new zombie movie all the practical work was very much appreciated. Where there is digital it is unobtrusive and barely visible on screen.
I can see that some zombie fans might be a bit annoyed by how much the plot focuses on Wesley and how awful people are to him as well as his crush on Susan. Honestly, I liked that stuff because it gave the movie a different vibe than what it could have otherwise been. I liked the characters and think that the actor portraying Wesley, Harley Neville, is pretty good. Way too many fans want a nonstop gore fest which ends up feeling like a lame video game that you are watching someone else play. The best zombie movies have characters the audience cares about and can root for, which is what we get with I Survived a Zombie Holocaust.
If I had an issue with the movie it would be with the ending. Spoiler alert! It has a cheesy fake out that I didn’t like at all. It could have been a great, perhaps bleak, but memorable final scene. Instead we get some lame happy ending where everyone is fine, and things are back to normal. It sucked that the last thing on screen left me annoyed still the rest of the movie is solid and entertaining so I’m going to recommend it. When you see the ending let me know what you think. Am I being too picky?
© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer