Director Peter Mervis (When a Killer Calls) and Asylum Home Entertainment take a B-film budget, and a zombie story, and squeeze out tons of gore and entrails in the direct-to-DVD Dead Men Walking. When someone experimenting in cellular reanimation develops a contagium that turns the dead into wild, bloodthirsty zombies, it spreads quickly to his friends, and soon he is blowing off heads with a shotgun. Never mind the glass behind their heads never shatters, and a lot of things don’t make sense – heads are splitting and splattering and we’re only in the opening credits.
The police don’t usually believe it when you tell them the people you shot were undead, so its off to jail. Only problem is, “murderer” Travis (Brandon Stacy) got a zombie’s blood all over his face during the slaughter, and now he is infected – being processed into our locale for this film, a maximum security prison.
A CDC (Center for Disease Control) agent named Becker (Bay Bruner) is hip to this, and she assists in carrying out a black-ops plan to contain the inevitable outbreak within a facility designed to entomb the wicked. As the “still in the dark” warden and his guards go through the motions of another oppressive and disciplinary day, the virus festers and begins to spread everywhere. Most who acquire the “virus” turn sickly and spew bloody vomit onto those around them, so this makes for a very nauseating, stomach spewing 30 minutes, as everyone, in time, becomes infected and turns into some very aggressive and hungry living dead.
With a quarantine imposed on the center, and death pouring like a merciless wave down every hall, survival becomes near impossible, and the body count in Dead Men Walking is equally heaped in measure. I know – another zombie movie? Yes. Another low budget zombie flick. I personally felt similar dismay as the first ten minutes rolled. What becomes the driving interest in this movie is your morbid curiosity at how much more further they can go with the wounds and feasts. Everything about this film is amateuristic, but the end result is a gore drenched zombie infestation that feels a bit like Shadow: Dead Riot, only minus the kung-fu, with a prison full of men, filmed like a heavy metal music video.
Final analysis: Recommended for those who value gore above all else. Put it like this. There’s so much sauce on these fries, you wont know or even care about what’s beneath it. Dead Men Walking is a bad film drowned in delicious blood. Do you eat slimjims – heavily spiced near rotten meat scrapings from a butcher’s floor? Do you woof down fast food, throwing care of teenage boogers to the wind? Are you along the lines of, “Grade A – grade B – whats the difference? As long as its drowned in sauce and digestible?” Then Dead Men Walking is your thing. What you see if what you get. Amateur acting, low production value, massive amounts of puke, entrails, and blood. The story never even attempts to try and explain why these biologically reanimated infectants are hungry for flesh and have to try and bite you, like the mythical Romero zombie of popular cinema. Nevermind its for the most part retarded. Its one of the “guts”ier low budget zombie efforts around.