Thursday, March 20, 2008

Automaton Transfusion

I saw this movie as part of my ongoing efforts to see every last thing featuring zombies that looks anywhere close to non-terrible, and while by those fairly low standards this film certainly succeeds, it really doesn’t excel at all. It’s certainly not a bad movie, by any means, but it has all the same flaws See No Evil had: wonky directing, a paint-by-numbers story, and an ending that, to put it nicely, really sucks.

Here’s the situation: we’ve got a small town where all is not as it seems, which finds itself at the heart of a plague of fast moving zombies, the result of a government experiment gone horridly awry. At the center of this grim scenario are a group of high schoolers that all look suspiciously like they were in their 20s, that are all trying to find each other and escape the surrounding area to safety. I know, never been done before, right?

Still, these kinds of movies aren’t watched for their originality, they’re watched for their violence and humor. The film is fairly light on humor, per se, but there are some pretty nice bits of violence here and there. My personal favorite, which should surprise nobody that knows me, comes when a pregnant woman comes face to face with a zombie, who decides to helpfully alleviate her condition. There’s also a couple nice touches, like how these are the first zombies I’ve yet seen that actually sleep (though I did read about such things in Stephen King’s Cell). There’s also the added adrenaline rush that only comes with the onset of zombies running full speed at our heroes, and (for perhaps the first time ever) having no difficulty whatsoever with opening a door, all of which keeps the film moving along at a pretty steady clip.

Still, though, the unnecessarily flashy directing is a distraction more than anything, if not quite as bad as with See No Evil, and we get an ending that literally flashes a “To Be Continued” on the screen at us, something I haven’t had to deal with since The Matrix Reloaded. And I think we all remember how that all turned out. This isn’t a lousy movie by any means, but it’s something that could have been a lot smarter than it was.

Rating: **

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