Thursday, March 6, 2008

Zombie Island Massacre

You know, I really don’t ask for too much here. When I watch a movie with the name Dracula in it, I do so with some expectation of seeing a vampire named Dracula killing people and drinking their blood. When I see a film titled Cannibal Apocalypse, I’d better see some damn cannibals tearing some shit up. And when I see a movie with the word “zombie” in the title, at the very least I expect there to be actual zombies in the damn movie.

So yeah, not to ruin the big late-act surprise, but there are no zombies to be found in this film. What we get instead are drug dealers posing as zombies to frighten the natives of the unnamed Caribbean island the film is set on so they can get right to the business of murdering all the non-native members of a Caribbean tour. If that seems like a somewhat sketchy plan to you, then I have to confess that it did to me as well. I guess that’s why we’re not successful drug dealers. But anyway, that grave disappointment aside, the film is about the same overall level of quality as Blades (though I’m giving it a lower score because I’m pissed at its deception), giving us a pleasantly watchable film that doesn’t do a damn thing to excel or make itself noticeable.

Well, it’s noticeable in one way. It’s got a score by Harry Manfredini, patron saint of horror music, which means that whenever someone gets attacked or killed, the music sounds almost identical to the music when Jason Voorhees murders someone in Friday the 13th. He gets ragged on a lot for imitating his past success so much, but here he mostly tries to make different music, and so we learn that he was only able to make one really effective score, and so had to keep reusing it to put bread on his table. Seriously, when he’s not ripping off his old stuff, it’s as generic a score as they come.

The film itself, so far as the Troma collection it comes on goes, is definitely the most violent of the three, and is the only one (if I’m remembering correctly) to have any nudity, even if it’s only brief. It also has the most completely bizarre moments, like a Caribbean tour that includes letting the tour guests watch an actual voodoo ceremony, or the characters, now lost and running from what appears to be monsters but which is actually just some stupid drug dealers, randomly find a mansion in the middle of the jungle, and figure that there can only be friendly, helpful people inside. I suppose this next one isn’t that implausible, but I would maintain that it’s still a tad curious to find an empty mansion in the middle of a freaking jungle that has a bunch of working light switches in it. Sure, it’s possible that there could have been a generator somewhere nearby that somehow managed to survive constant swarms of jungle animals deciding to explore it and blowing themselves up, but how likely is that? Really now.

I suppose this is probably the best film in the set and all, but that is a very sliding scale, and it should not be getting a pass on its awful lying title. If you go into it knowing that there’s not actually any zombies to be had, it may work a bit better for you than it did for me. However, and I don’t know that I can stress this enough, you still should not be going into it at all. This whole collection is one big dog.

Rating: *

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