- Graveyard: Oh, Graveyard, you could have been a contender. This quirky pseudo-documentary (with the excellent conceit of being filmed from the store's security cameras) follows two hapless 24-hour bookstore clerks who realize after the fact that they are somehow zombies. White collar minimum wage slavery is a brilliant twist on the Caribbean voodoo history of the zombie archetype. Rather than pure consumers of flesh, zombies are once again undead servants at work for someone else's wealth and standing. In this instance, they're even facilitating consumerism without actually consuming anything themselves. Given this historical echo perhaps it's appropriate that black magic, rather than aliens, a virus, or science, raises the dead. Great concept but indifferently executed-- a tighter script shot on film might have ended in a great product.
- Night of the Dead: Leben Tod: Love never ends, but that doesn't mean you should bring your dead lover's body back to life. (I love moral zombie tales.) A pregnant woman trapped in a science compound with her intern husband finds her life constrained by the genius zombie-raising chief doctor. Somewhat more concerning are the smart, hungry zombies that rebel and take over. The film ends with a twist that I must admit I had not seen coming. How rare, to be taken unawares! Much appreciated.
- The Forever Dead: One of those too-rare zombie movies directed (and co-written) by a woman, The Forever Dead suffers from uneven sound and storytelling and I was initially tempted to write it off before a thorough viewing. Two elements redeemed it early on: shot compositions that showed an innate talent and the knee-slapping, yell-worthy undead zombie bunny that kicks off the plague. The complex relationships of the main characters shows promise, but I gleaned more of the plot from IMDB than from watching the film. Nevertheless, rent this for the maniacally giggling rabbit corpse.
- The Ghouls: Your humble Zomploitation proprietress is not particularly skilled at breaking through the alienating grain and crackle of low-quality films. This tale of a third-stringer journalist who makes the paparazzi look morally principled never came alive for me. One of the few lines of dialogue I could easily make out, and thus the sole verbal ambassador I have to offer you, was "Somebody stop that fucking retard!" On that basis this is not a film for me.
- Die and Let Live: We tried to watch it twice but failed. As a plot line, "zombies attack a party" is so relentlessly overdone that a film absolutely requires something to redeem it. Clever dialogue, perhaps (like My Dead Girlfriend) or surreality (like Don't Watch This) or an impressive actor gimmick (like Necropolis Awakened, where one actor plays three main characters).
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Capsule reviews: the lowest of low budgets
Posted by Maddie Greene at 4:05 PM