Friday, October 26, 2007

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Now THIS is what I’m looking for in a zombie movie. While I managed to mockingly brush off the high praise for Don’t Torture a Duckling on the grounds that “Best Fulci EVAR” wasn’t exactly the highest possible standard to live up to, when I see a film like this, which is boldly labeled as one of the best zombie movies ever made, well, that’s just another matter entirely.

Naturally, it does not live up to that lofty promise. The fact that it came pretty damn close, though, now that’s impressive. The plot is, well, silly, as any zombie movie is going to be, and involves a new machine that kills insects by emitting ultrasonic radiation that affects their nervous systems, causing them to fly into uncontrollable rages and kill each other. This was being used for farming purposes, which surprised me, as I have rarely heard of farmers wanting all insects on their farmland killed, but they’ve always seemed a rather shifty lot. As one might expect, there are some complications with the tech, mainly that they also affect the nervous systems of the recently deceased, causing them to return to life craving the destruction of all living things. I can relate, as I often find myself fighting down that very urge whenever I’m in public or sometimes when I think about times in the past or in a possible future in which I have to actually interact with others.

The film starts off rather alarmingly slowly, and doesn’t really get going until about halfway through, but once it does start it doesn’t really relent at all. Being a British horror movie from the 70s, it’s got a great look to it, with a good amount of grim countryside and dark fog to look at, and the almost hand held nature of the camerawork really adds a lot to the immediacy of the danger. The zombies themselves are pretty hardcore, too. Not only do they look better than the ones in American movies at the time (though not as good as the decayed ones in the Italian zombies movies that came out a few years later), but they seem to be immune to such paltry attacks as a bullet to the head, and now need to be burned to ashes to finally die. They’re smarter than normal, too, as is evidenced by when a group of characters barricade themselves in a tomb, and a group of zombies grabs a log to use as a battering ram. To make things even harder for our intrepid duo, there’s also one of those detectives that you only see in movies, that automatically assumes our heroes are to blame for all the murders, and even tells the guy he knows it was him because of his “hippie hair” and “faggot clothes”. If I ever get transported into a movie, I hope I never need to go to the police for help.

I’m digressing, though. The movie, once it wakes up, is very enjoyable, and you should go check it out. It’s got some good tension, a keen visual sense, and an appropriately nasty ending as befits a zombie movie. If it’s not one of the best zombie films ever, it’s at least a very good one.

Rating: *** ½


mle said...

Hey Zach, Nice review! Is there any way you can tag your items based on your star recommendations? I'd like to just be able to click on your 4-star ratings to choose some flicks to buy. If not, no biggie. ^__^, M

Zach said...

For you, m'dear? Anything.