I’ve been watching a lot of comedic zombie movies for my most recent marathon. I thought that I’d mix things up a bit and check out a low budget flick. There are a lot of them but I found 101 Zombies on Amazon Prime and after checking out the reviews decided it was the movie for me. The filmmakers must have a lot of friends with IMDB accounts…
There are several story lines that eventually intersect. One follows a waitress who gets trapped in the freezer at work. She has a son, who along with a couple of friends, is another story line. They fight their way to save her. There is also a truck driver, a zombie prepper, a moonshiner, and a cameraman for a local cable channel. They all get caught up in a zombie outbreak that is caused by some contaminated moonshine that immediately turns anyone who drinks it into a zombie. Stuff happens, people die, bingo is played, and lots of shitty CGI goes down. The end.
I now remember why I quit watching independent zombie movies. Most of them are miserably awful and this is one. Let me start off with my biggest complaint and it is something that so many of these damn things do. Don’t have your characters watching Night of the Living Dead. I get that it is in the public domain so you can legally do it but you shouldn’t. Why remind the audience what a low budget zombie movie made by someone who has talent looks like? We will immediately compare it you what you shot and realize how bad it is! Don’t do that to yourself or to the viewer.
Next up is a huge problem that I have with independent filmmakers and not just those shooting zombie movies. Write a script please. Having shit happen for no reason and characters that appear to be ready for the apocalypse just because they are might seem mysterious and cool. This isn’t your zombie fan fiction being posted on a message board. You’re making a movie and you owe it to the people who pay to see it to at least put some effort into character development. I know that actually writing a script is hard, but for the love of God do it before grabbing your camera. Here we have uninteresting characters with no story arc that do nothing.
|This is one of the better effects shots in the movie.|
Once you have your script you need to read it. After reading it think about if you have the resources to shoot what you have written. If you don’t then you end up using awful CGI to cover the scenes of your characters driving their car with the zombified head of their friend as a hood ornament! A car that keeps running the undead down in increasingly bad CGI effects. I’m not even going to go into the overuse of CGI generated heads exploding every time you shoot a zombie. As annoying as that is it pales in comparison to the other garbage you have spewed on the screen.
I’ll finish with this. Learn how to stage a scene and use your extras. I get that a low budget movie can’t exactly recruit people that can act. This is particularly so for those who are background fodder for your zombies. But at the minimum I ask that you at least have them run and not calmly walk away from the undead. More than once it appears that in the middle of a supposedly horrible attack that your cast could barely be bothered to briskly walk away from their doom. You are shooting on digital so it isn’t like you were running out of film. The fact you used these scenes just shows how lazy and/or inept you are as a filmmaker. I know that I’m sounding mean here but you put this out in the hopes that people would spend their hard-earned money on it. Show the audience some respect.
This is a terrible movie that no one should ever watch. Remember this comes from me, the guy who watches and enjoys some really bad flicks. My standards are not that high and if you can’t reach them then that alone should tell you all you need to know. I’m done wasting time on 101 Zombies or whatever the hell they want to call it.
© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer
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