Zombie Apocalypse (2011)
By: J.R. McNamara on April 21, 2013 | Comments
Pinnacle Films | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 83 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Nick Lyon
Starring: Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Johnny Pacar, Gary Weeks, Lesley-Ann Brandt
Screenplay: Craig Engler, Brooks Peck
Country: USA
External Links
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Here is the film Zombie Apocalypse, an Asylum rip-off of TV's The Walking Dead, which was based on the Image comic influenced by every zombie film ever made with an opening chapter that steals liberally from 28 Days Later, which itself stole that same scene (more or less) from John Wyndham's spectacular novel The Day of the Triffids.

Could someone please get me a mop as my brain just melted and dribbled out my ears like grey and red custard!

Zombie Apocalypse doesn't start with that same homage to Wyndam's novel, but instead drops us right in the middle of the action after a brief summary of how a virus attacked France and eventually made its way all over the world, even though the various governments did their very best to stop it.

Blah blah blah...

There is no real synopsis for this film: basically a varying cast of characters are attempting to make their way to somewhere safe, just like The Walking Dead, but every time they get to a rumoured safe place they find it's overrun by zombies, and so they make their way to the next haven, which eventually leads to a pier where they wait for a ferry to come and take them to salvation.

An interesting cast in this one: Ving Rhames gives the same performance he did in the other two dead films he's been in (is it only two? It feels like more) and Taryn Manning plays the annoying white blonde whining woman-child with a gusto that would impress even Bijou Phillips. Other key cast members include The Dead Undead's Johnny Pacar, Deadland's Gary Weeks and Spartacus: God of the Arena's Lesley-Ann Brandt, doing the weakest Michonne impression this side of a Comicon cosplay.

There are a lot of winks to horror fans in this film: we have a very clumsy 'Kirkman' joke (Robert Kirkman created The Walking Dead) that would have worked better if every cast member had looked at the camera and gone "Eh..? Eh..?", Ash's employers S-Mart are mentioned, and a Pittsburgh zombie fight is noted, in what is presumably a nudge to George.

In general, the special effects are ok, but sometimes drop to a lame level.The blood squirts appear to be mainly CGI, as are the muzzle flashes, and if you take a good look at the gun flashes you'll notice they are all exactly the same. Why buy heaps of CGI FX when you can buy one gun flash and use it over and over. The zombie make up in generally pretty good too.

I must say that this film also offers a decent reason as to why there can be both running and shambling zombies, and I have to take time out to say that the final scene is nuttier than squirrel shit but came as such a surprise (I won't spoil it) that I couldn't believe the chutzpah a writer would have to deliver it, even though some may say the idea was nicked from the Resident Evil games/movies/comics.

All in all this story is no worse that about 5 episodes of The Walking Dead. Really, when watching a SyFy/The Asylum jam, originality is not a priority. You've got to wonder at this point if people are still dumb enough to 'accidentally' hire this Asylum copycat shit, or do they actively seek it out?

The back cover says "in the tradition of Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead", and while I can see the Dawn remake similarities, it's as similar to Zombieland as it is to Bridget Jones's Diary. Zombie Apocalypse is like a love letter to zombie filmmakers from an illiterate suitor who knows what he wants to say, but can't quite find the words, and so uses someone else's.
The Disc
The film is presented in a clear but muted anamorphic 1.78:1 aspect ratio and pumps out an active 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack.

This disc has a couple of extras, the first being a making of featurette that is fairly brief, but it is the usual sort of fare so that's kind of a blessing. The gag reel barely goes for a minute and is as funny as the worst nipple cripple you have ever endured, unless you are into that kind of stuff, in which case it is as funny as the worst nipple cripple you didn't get to endure. Then just to fill space they have thrown in a trailer.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Once you get over the fact that you are watching a complete and utter rip off of The Walking Dead, you'll start to enjoy it. For me, it was like all the excellent zombie bits from the TV show were pulled out and made into a 90 minute remix, without all the soap opera drama filler littering up my horror space. I have to say though, if the special effects of the finale had been a bit better realised, this film would have scored higher from this reviewer.

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