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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...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Zone of the Dead (2010)

More zombie fun with this flick from Serbia. Might be the first Serbian movie that I’ve reviewed for the blog. Certainly, it is the first Serbian Zombie movie that I’ve ever watched. Hey, it also stars Ken Foree so what could go wrong?

The movie opens with a flashback to the cold war days. Some bodies are found and there is a small outbreak of zombies. Skip ahead to now and we see that a gas is accidentally released by some soldiers horsing around with a cop’s gun. Instant zombie apocalypse as everyone exposed to the gas becomes a “super” zombie that can run and think. Everyone they bite becomes a regular zombie. I think that is the explanation anyway.

Tossed into this mess are some Interpol agents, the prisoner they are transporting, and some college kids. We meet them all separately, knowing of course that their paths will cross. When they do it becomes them vs the zombie horde in a battle for survival. Who lives and who dies? More important question is why so many of them give up and die? Eventually we do get to an end and the story resolves… sort of. The movie is left open for sequels. Considering it is eight years old I can thankfully say that won’t happen.

Ken Foree in a zombie movie... Good idea or bad?
I clearly wasn’t a fan of Zone of the Dead. I’ll try and explain why. With the exception of Ken Foree, the cast is bad. I’m not sure that was their fault because most of them appear to be Serbian actors trying to deliver their lines in English. That has to be hard on an actor so I’m thinking it might be a language barrier thing. They aren’t helped by dialogue that is a bit stilted and a plot that has some pacing issues. After starting off with a quick zombie appearance in the flashback the movie grinds to a halt as it establishes a tragic background for Foree’s character. The movie also spends way too much effort on establishing the prisoner who spends most of his time being mysterious. They don’t even give him a name and when someone asks who he really is the answer always is “classified”. If I actually cared about the character this might have been fun. But I didn’t, and it wasn’t. Don’t even get me started on random crazy Bible quoting soldier plot device.

I want to give Zone of the Dead credit for some decent looking zombies. They took the time to do a
Zombies look decent
good job on the makeup. These zombies look dead and scary. I appreciated that. I also though some of the kills and gore were nice looking as well. I’m a gore hound and love to see practical effects work. Though most of this pleasure was taken away for me by the insistence on having the damn camera shake like your cameraman was named Michael J. Fox. Okay maybe that was a bit mean but seriously I was getting motion sick. It is really hard to follow the action and to see the damn special effects that were the strength of the movie.

One final thing. I watch a lot of zombie movies, most of them independent. With the rare exception of something like Shaun of the Dead most of the attempts to call back to classic zombie flicks is a huge mistake. Here we have them discuss holding up in a mall and Foree also delivers a version of his famous “dead will walk the Earth” line from Dawn of the Dead. Don’t remind me of a good zombie movie while I’m watching your shitty one! That would seem like common sense no? Zone of the Dead is hard pass, skip this one.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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