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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Plaga Zombies: American Invasion (2021)

Why do I keep watching these independent zombie flicks? Well, okay it is totally for content here at the website. Don’t get me wrong I do keep hoping to watch something decent and find that hidden gem in the pile of cinematic doo doo. This flick is a sequel to a movie that I’ve never heard of, which itself isn’t a good sign. Then again with a second bite at the apple maybe they got it right? Hell, maybe the first movie was itself a good flick! I suppose the big question is was Plaga Zombies: American Invasion that diamond in the doo that I’ve been looking for? 

Time for the plot synopsis. Be warned if this makes no sense you can’t blame me. The movie opens with a dude getting abducted by aliens who proceed to drop a worm in his ear Wrath of Khan style. This turns him into a zombie. But don’t worry about this too much since we never see the guy again and worms are never mentioned again. Got it? Cool! Then we see a guy named Nash give his lady friend a fancy necklace. Before things get too sexy the aliens show up to cock block him with some zombies. They also steal his girl away. Nash swears to get her back. But don’t worry about this because she is never seen again. Got it? Cool!

You know what this movie needs more of? Right, we need more characters. Now we meet “professional” wrestler Sammy. Well, he has been trying to live his dream of being a professional wrestler, but it isn’t working out. We see him get booted from a big show, buy a bottle of Busch beer, and then get home in time for his lady to dump him. So he sits down to watch television. Just to be clear we watch him watch… so exciting… Eventually Sammy looks out his window and sees a zombie apocalypse. How did that happen? Don’t know. Must not be important. But this does lead to him and his only fan, Manny, to suiting up to do battle with the walking dead. Here we find out that Nash is his neighbor when they meet up with him. 

The now trio head off to escape the island. Oh crap I forgot to mention that the government blew their small down off of the North American continent setting it adrift in the ocean. Yeah, the science checks out. I mean you can find flat Earther websites so really anything is on the internet if you look hard enough! The rest of the movie is them getting split up, annoying adventures happening, we meet an assassin and a terminator style robot. And then nothing! More on that later. 

Why is this movie an hour and forty five minutes long? That isn’t a rhetorical question. Even I realize that I’m sounding like a broken record, but what I’m saying isn’t wrong. Here we have a story that jumps from scene to scene seemingly at random. It very much feels like a project where folks were sitting around a table saying things like “you know a zombie wrestling match with a zombie audience would be funny” or “we should totally put a terminator style robot in the movie”. Someone also seemingly though aliens with laser guns would be a good idea. When we do see our main characters trying to get to the objective (looking for a boat to escape the island) it comes down to them, a location, some extras in zombie makeup, and poorly done fight choreography. 

This entire movie is nothing but a series of disconnected bits loosely tied together with far too many characters. Sammy and his sidekick are one group, Nash by himself and then with the bounty hunter are another. Even Sammy and Manny separate for a bit. This feels like a project that was shot on the weekends with whomever was available. It is choppy and there isn’t a cohesive narrative. There seems to have been a plot outline rather than an actual script. Almost everything they shot feels like padding rather than a story. This brings me right back to my initial question. Why the hell is this movie an hour and forty five minutes long? There is no reason for it. Nothing is critical, there is no story. I’m being generous in saying that there is maybe sixty minutes worth of material here. If that isn’t enough for you and as yet another example of them not having a script the movie has no ending. Seriously a spaceship hovers, zombies come out of the ocean and the damn thing just stops. They didn’t have an ending!

Time to talk about the filmmaking and special effects work. The big zombie fights are staged awkwardly, and the choreography is terrible. That is when we can actually see anything since most of the fights are shot with the shakiest camerawork you will see. Probably someone realized how bad the action was looking and thought they would cover that defect up by making it completely unwatchable. The zombie special effects work is them painting faces blue (a standard low budget approach) as well as red and other even brighter colors. We even get some cheap ass looking wigs as well as other zombies dressed in obvious Halloween costumes. I guess someone hit the Spirit Halloween on November first. The kills and gore are mostly CGI… and badly done. The only nice thing I can say is we get an occasional rubber limb probably also purchase on clearance when they were picking up wardrobe. 

Now I can already hear what sort of reaction my review is going to generate from a certain demographic of reader. Let me head off those angry emails right now. I get that they weren’t trying to make a serious movie. I in fact not only love indie horror but indie horror comedy is my jam as well. I love the work from guys like Kevin Strange and Chris Seaver. A lot of their stuff is really funny. I have also covered the work from Steve Rudzinski (CarousHell rules). So I’m not some no fun having stick in the mud. The difference is those movies are funny and this one isn’t. If you want to make a comedy, then it had better have some laughs. If it doesn’t then it is just bad. Plaga Zombie: American Invasion is incompetently made (bad zombies, worse camera work), lazy (no script), and generally just a miserable waste of time. 

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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