The modern zombie film can be tracked all across the world from Italy and France through Asia, America and the Great White North of Canada, where our latest feast of the undead is about to be unleashed on a pretty suspecting public. So what has Zombie Night brought to the table for the flesh-eating freak inside us all? Well, how about a zombie movie that isn’t really about the zombies but focuses more on the people and relationships that plague our day-to-day lives.
Wait a minute, I know what your saying, George Romero did that years ago. But people, that’s the whole point. Years ago, horror films had something to say about life. They made an impact and the audience sympathized with the victims. After two decades of slasher films and countless sequels, the new breed of horror fan isn’t interested in the poor slob who runs into Freddy or Jason, they just want to see him shot through the eye with a bow and arrow then baked alive in a convection oven. I mean, when was the last time you saw some teenager in a Chucky movie concerned about his friends and families. Sure they’re all sad when mom and dad are torched in bed, but mostly they run, they scream, they trip, and they fall down a lot.
The premise behind Zombie Night is not so different than the stuff you’ve seen before. World War III has broken out in the Middle East and the fall out from the chemical and biological weapons is causing the dead to return to life. All this comes as quite a shock to Mark and Amber who along with Mark’s daughter Emily have been vacationing for the past couple weeks in a wilderness cabin with no radio or television. Soon this unsuspecting family will be forced to join forces with a band of survivors in an effort to find food and shelter in a world that’s gone straight to hell.
It’s fair enough to say, that if your sitting down to watch a low/no budget zombie film starring a cast no one has ever heard of and directed by someone you don’t know either, then your expectations have got to be a bit low. So, as far as zero budget zombie films go, this bad boy has got the guts and gore to stand with the best of them. It’s no ‘Dead Next Door’ or ‘Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,’ but the real selling point is not the carnage, it’s the story of the survivors. To me, that says something about the film.
Zombie Night is populated by a cast of interesting, average, everyday people, some of whom are funny, some of whom are fierce, and a few are real pricks, even by movie prick standards. Nevertheless, they really feel like a cross section of society. Stuck there and forced together by a massive trauma, now they have to not only sort out their past emotions, but also deal with a real live, make that, real dead threat. Sure they spout inane dialogue and often look like they don’t know the camera is still running, but that’s what you have to love about this kind of filmmaking. In one scene, I can’t even tell if the actor screwed up his line on purpose or if the flub was just left in because it’s funny. Simply put, I don’t care either way it was funny as hell.
Overall the performance by the cast members are on par with the type of stuff you would expect to see in a film of this caliber. Direction, editing and sound are all passable but the special effects were extremely well done and I for one never get sick of watching some moaning corpses eating intestines. So grab your friends, grab a plate of spaghetti with tons of red sauce, turn off the lights and take a peek at a pretty decent zombie flick. Oh yeah, and one other thing, you might as well get ready now; a sequel is in the works.