Undead review by The Grim Ringler

Good grief, we’re in the midst of a damned zombie revival. Hell, I remember being a kid and the best you could find were the Romero movies, which was a good thing as you mind as well start at the top and work down, but hell, kids today have lots of choices to paw through. Not that the predominance of them are much good, but hell, at least you have choices, right? There have been some decent zommie films released, don’t get me wrong, but man there is a lot of crap – no thanks to cheapie cash in fly-by-night companies that want only to cash in on the popularity of any hip horror icon. With Undead we get a shaky but fun entry into the undead sweepstakes from the land down under, and being that these zombies don’t care much for vegemite, it’s time to get out the old boom-stick.

Undead is the story of several people living in the middle of Australia, unaware that the world is essentially about to end. Without warning the earth, specifically the land down under, comes under attack from a barrage of meteors that begin peppering the countryside and anyone unlucky enough to be in their way. What seems like nothing more than a freak meteor shower though turns out to be something far more sinister as the dead begin to rise and wreak bloody havoc across the land. Several survivors, pulled together at the farmhouse of a strange hillybilly with a large arsenal (and a mysterious past, EEK!), band together to fight off the zombie menace in the hopes they can escape. Well armed, the survivors make a stand against the living dead and decide it’s time to get out while the getting is good. What they don’t realize though is that the zombies are the least of their problems as while they are attempting to escape the group finds that a barrier has been put in place that appears as a great stonewall which they cannot even see completely. One of the survivors foolishly attempts to climb the wall and he and the rest learn all too quickly that there are unseen forces at work, forces that are pulling the strings. And with the appearance of the wall have seemingly come those who have placed it, robed and hooded aliens that seem to know one of the group a little too well. And now, faced with zombies on one side and intergalactic weirdos on the other, the survivors must find a way out of this mess if they have any hope of survival. But these alien visitors have other plans…

As odd as this film sounds, it isn’t a bad little movie. It has a weird story, sure, but it has a lot of spirit and some really good special effects. I had read about this a few times and everything I read said it was mediocre, and I have to say that it’s a bit better than that. It’s no giant-killer, and the classics have no fear here, but it’s a fun movie. My problems lay with the climax and the strange twist that the movie takes. As soon as the aliens show up all the momentum and good faith the film has earned is sorta shot and you are just along for the ride from there on. There’s a weird twist at the end that, to me, made no sense at all, and just left me cold. It was like they were trying to make the movie too smart, or too all encompassing. Whatever the case, it just didn’t work.

The film is shot very well and the actors do a good job for such a low budget film. The star really is the special effects work and digital effects work which is top notch and very impressive. And you have to give the gang props for at least trying to do something different with their film, an idea which most small time horror directors never seem to grasp. The characters in the film are fun, but none really make you give too much of a damn for them and the main character, the big boy in the cover art, comes across as the same as a million other silent, loner types who appear in low budget horror films. He’s not a bad character, just a worn out archetype.

All told, this is a very fun movie and worth a rent…should it come to the states. This is one of many international horror films that have popped up but which don’t always seem to get an American distributor. Pity as this, and a dozen films like it are far better than the drek we get from the American small time grindhouse producers – witness Full Moon and their continued decline to pointlessness. This is surely not art and will not be enough grue or zombies for some but it’s a well made film and can scratch that zombie itch in a pinch and I hope it gets a release here some day. And if you are that fired up to see it I would imagine you can find it at a comic con or via the internet.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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