It’s hard to re-imagine or re-think the zombie movie, especially in the times where just about everyone has thought of everything. Director Il Cho’s “#Alive” is basically the sequel that “Train to Busan,” should have been, “#Alive” is such a great mix of “28 Days Later,” “The Night Eats the World,” and “Dawn of the Dead ’04.” While it doesn’t re-invent the wheel it manages to offer a fun, exciting, and creepy movie about the pros and cons of modern technology and the value of human contact.
The “Zombie Bloodbath” trilogy is the sheer apex of garbage zombie movie fodder. It topples even “Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection.” The trilogy is something you’ll be forgetting minutes after, as only an hour after viewing these I can’t truly recollect the plots. There’s really no sense of arc, continuity, or overall cohesive storytelling here, as the zombies take center stage in films where characters are a sheer after thought. In the first Zombie Bloodbath from 1993, at a remote radioactive plant, its workers suffer the outbreaks of a chemical spill which turns them into—what else? Zombies.
“Dawn of the Living Dead” is such a blatant attempt to garner the Romero fan’s attention, especially with the tagline “In the tradition of “Night of the Living Dead…” If we’re splitting hairs here, pretty much all of these zombie movies that copy Romero are in the tradition of “Night of the Living Dead.” David Heavener’s “Dawn of the Living Dead” (or “Evil Grave: Curse of the Maya”) induced my optimism and I pleaded that perhaps this movie would be a so bad its good little independent foreign horror comedy. Instead it’s just a film that revels in tedium, padding, and glacial pacing.
Wang Yo-Wei works as a security guard at parliament and is regarded as a loser by others. One day during a Parliament session, as a fatal virus is spreading inside the parliament, the MPs are infected and become zombies. Strangely, Wang proves to be only one immune to the virus. Together with his girlfriend Xiong, they not only fight their way out but also save many lives.
A young woman travels to a remote plastic surgery clinic to get a breast reduction with her boyfriend and her mother who loves getting plastic surgery. Once there, things go sideways and a virus is unleashed in the clinic, making the people therein ravenous and crazed.
Lars Damoiseaux’s “Yummy” reminded me a lot of the sub-plot in Robert Altman’s “The Player” where the two aspiring executives have an idea for the opening of a drama. Tim Robbins’ character snickers behind their backs that they have a movie with no second act. “Yummy” is a movie with a great concept, but no real execution behind it. It’s a gory darkly comic zombie movie set in a plastic surgeon’s office… and then… not much else happens beyond that.
I’m stunned that in a world where we have no shortage of entertainment about zombies, and the zombie apocalypse, that there has never really been a movie surrounding indigenous people. Zombie movies are almost always about fighting for land, dominance, and or resources, so it seems only natural that we’d have at least twenty by now featuring indigenous main characters. “Blood Quantum” is the first of its kind centering on indigenous characters, all of whom are facing a world where they’ve inherited the Earth, and have to figure out where they stand in it.
It pains me because I rarely ever go in to a film, let alone an indie film, wanting to dislike it; especially zombie movies. I’m a sucker for apocalyptic zombie movies, and the very good ones can affect me for days. I’m also a fan of sidestepping typical character molds with a focus on the relationships in the LGBTQ corner. “By Day’s End,” though, is not a good movie. “By Day’s End” tries to have its cake and eat it too by forcing a relationship drama within the mold of a pretty cookie cutter zombie movie, when all is said and done.