Monday, October 31, 2011

2012: Zombie Apocalypse and Surprises: A Movie Review

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Director: Nick Lyon.

Writers: Brooks Peck and Craig Engler.

2012: Zombie Apocalypse or the simpler Zombie Apocalypse is a The Asylum production. The Asylum generally knocks off bigger productions e.g. Battle Los Angeles. Occasionally, they will come up with something original and this is great for the SyFy Network and their "SyFy Original Movie" premieres. Zombie Apocalypse aired on television Saturday, October 30th and this is a tale of survivors trying to get to Catalina. Unfortunately, there are a million zombies in their way and strangely, it looks like the same zombies are being killed over and over again.

Julian (Johnny Pacar), Ramona (Taryn Manning), Henry (Ving Rhames), Cassie (Lesley Ann-Brandt), Billy (Eddie Steeples), Mack (Gary Weeks) Kevin (Gerald Webb) and a few others team up to battle the undead after the "VM2" is released across the globe. The VM2 is a virus that infects the host and makes them uber violent. As well, these survivors are trying to get to Catalina, a safe, human only zone. Along the way, they fight in high schools, in streets, in port-o-potties. You name it and there are zombies being bashed there.

The Asylum seems to have pulled off one of their best pictures to date, with Zombie Apocalypse because of some great casting choices and the writing helps move things along at a good clip; however, there are some problems here too. The Asylum is known, at least to this critic, for overusing CGI. If it can be done with CGI e.g. blood effects, monsters, or backdrops, then The Asylum will use it. The CGI breaks the realm of movie illusion sometimes though with this overuse of digital enhancements. Surely a makeup artist or two could have been used for some of the scenes. As well, certain zombie extras get killed again and again only to rise once more for another scene. One blonde woman with a purple shirt and black top seems to get killed a couple times only to be seen later in the film. This critic saw you, but a scene coordinator should have made sure this reviewer did not. Finally, one scene in an alley has cars in the background, which are not supposed to be a part of the film. These are some minor errors, but the proof is in the pudding, or is that the "Devil is in the details?"

These problems do not hamper the fun of the film, but the details can make a good film great. Some of the film elements that are very good include the acting, which is of a high caliber and interactions are believable. This makes the film appear realistic. There are a few subtle subplots in the text. This shows that the characters are not one dimensional. As well, the writers Brooks Peck (Rage of the Yeti) and Craig Engler (Rage of the Yeti) bring in a few unique elements into the tried and true zombie genre. There are giant monstrous zombies and the infection can be carried by animals including dogs and other more ferocious creatures. The undead become smarter and hunt in packs, so there is a lot of action in the film. There is also something new around every turn or blood splattered corner. Critic Scott Weinberg also notices Peck and Engler's writing: "the screenplay offers a few clever exchanges." And most of these exchanges are delivered with a mallet or a sword to bloody and exciting affect.

This is a fun late nite flick that will entertain many of the zombie film fans in the world. Clever in its writing, over-the-top in the special effects department and full of great actors, Zombie Apocalypse feeds that need for more film flesh. Check this one out on the SyFy Network with a re-broadcast November 15th at 7:00pm. Your zombie survival skills will improve, but only against digitally drawn zombie tigers!

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 (concise, exciting and mostly realistic).

Another review of this title at Fearnet (Scott Weinber):

Zombie Apocalypse at Fearnet

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