Undead

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Undead
Review (5.5/10)
(By Alex Riviello)

Here come the zombie movies. It's pretty crazy how the genre has resurfaced the way it has. But I'm not one to complain...and you shouldn't be either. There's something satisfying about a good, creepy zombie flick. Now we have Undead, a low budget brainmuncher from Australia. Does it rise out of the pack?

It all begins in a small fishing town. Life is simple - the people are happy. Until one day there's suddenly a meteor shower. But not just a regular meteor shower. In one of the first of a few funny scenes, an old lady gets smashed into the ground by one of the rocks. Unlike most people who get a hole knocked through their chest, she gets right back up and takes to snacking on people's brains. Most the town is converted in these first few moments, and the meat (sorry) of the story focuses on a pack of survivors. We've got all your clich?s here - the girl that was just about to leave town, a couple of inept cops, a pregnant woman, the mysterious loner. These guys shows up carrying all sorts of weaponry, including a 3-barreled shotgun made famous by the film's poster. They fight through hordes of zombies in humorous, over the top ways. They all soon find out that there's a lot more going on than just zombies.

Undead makes its intentions clear from the start. It doesn't take itself seriously - taking a lot from horror/comedy classics such as Dead Alive and the Evil Dead series. The only problem is that most of the humor falls flat. There are some genuinely funny moments (zombie fish come to mind) but mostly the jokes are groan worthy. The sub par acting doesn't help at all. The film's greatest flaw is simply that it's boring. There are only so many zombie kills you can take before it doesn't work anymore. Also - there's no suspense - no reason to care for these characters. They're the standard stupid horror people who do dumb things for no reason. (Let's climb up this wall, here!) They're just zombie fodder. It just doesn't make for a good time. There is some originality here, but for the most part it's all been done before, and better.

Even though Undead is flawed, a lot of talent comes through. Twin directors Michael and Peter Spierig obviously know their stuff - they just need a better script. They know exactly what kind of movie they want to make, and it's commendable that they financed this themselves in Australia where most films are government subsidized. They made this with a meager $700,000 (US) - and it includes more special effects than Jurassic Park. The effects are pretty phenomenal for something done for the most part on Home PCs...far beyond the garbage you usually see on smaller films. The Spierig Bros. also edited and did the sound by themselves - years of work went into this. It's just a shame the movie isn't as good as the story behind it.

Undead had the bad luck to be released here after some of the greatest zombies movies in recent times (Land and Shaun of the Dead). To be fair, the movie was made long before these were even started...it just took a while to get over here. And it is an original take on the zombie movie, putting a lot of comedy and sci-fi in the mix. But with so many superior movies out there, I can't recommend this as more than a rental to appease your curiosity. Look forward to more work from the Spierig Bros. though - these guys have potential.

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