Zombie Movie Night- December ’11

Hoping to have a holiday-themed zombie movie, Jeff purchased the DVD of Silent Night, Zombie Night.  Perhaps zombies can be defeated by Christmas spirit?   The best way to dispel zombie fear is singing loud for all to hear!

But sadly, if you’re hoping for some Christmas magic from Silent Night, Zombie Night, you will be disappointed.  It’s like they came up with the title first and then threw in some decorations in the background to justify the name.  There’s the inevitable fat mall Santa zombie, but that’s as close as we get to Tis the Season.  Jeff put it best: SNZN is a Christmas movie the way Die Hard is a Christmas movie.  It doesn’t help matters that the action takes place in LA, where there is no snow or any wintery effects to remind us Northeasterners more of December.

This is another sad case where most of the money was spent on creating a deceiving cover!  It’s very well done with the names of actors splashed across the top.  We don’t recognize the names but it’s still a pro-looking job.  Found out later that those names aren’t even the main characters shown on the box but rather, people who show up in the second half in supporting roles.  So weird.  Also, there’s a praise quote that says something like “Better than Zombieland!!!!”  Which is of course a red flag that means it is definitely not better.  Man, as a youth did I learn that trick the hard way when Very Bad Things was advertised as “better than There’s Something About Mary!” and it turned out to be a rather disturbing drama that was played and directed as a sociopathic comedy.

Anyway, the performances and zombie rules vary greatly.  Five minutes in and one guy is waaaayyyy too sure of the way the game is played for a supposedly new apocalyptic phenomenon and his friend’s foot pays a heavy price for that overconfidence.  This guy also has a sleazy kind of charm but the movie falls flat whenever the music swells loudly and the characters try to have moments.  The center of the human drama is supposed to be a love triangle, but it seems like a stupid thing to be dealing with when there are ravenous zombies everywhere.  Most of these people would benefit from a good slap and a reality check.

The ending is terrible.  The all-important menfolk are left to their fates and we’re down to following the two women.  Boring!  Roll credits.  Who cares what happens to them?  We’re out of money so everything must be dropped RIGHT NOW, including the plot!

Silent Night, Zombie night fails as a Christmas movie.  It fails as a horror comedy.  And this review definitely sounds like I hated it, but…I didn’t.  It’s actually a passable zombie flick compared to most of the other home video crap that’s out there and the bad parts aren’t so bad to make you want to shut it off.   It’s decent enough for what it is.  Just don’t expect anything to do with Christmas.  Grade: B-

I still want to see THIS movie instead of the one that's actually inside.

Much like watching a film just for a Christmas theme is risky, so too was watching a movie solely to add one more country to our remarkable list of international zombie romps.  And so next came Hell’s Ground, a horror movie from Pakistan.  Now I am shamefully as ignorant as most other stupid Americans when it comes to very foreign cultures, so I took this as a learning opportunity.  Oh, the women aren’t covered up in Pakistan!  Oh, look, they have newspapers in English!  The “cool” teenagers even comment how Pakistan is a weird mix of the old and the new and the cinemetography totally backs this up this claim. 
The cool kids lie to their parents about where they will be and head off to an out of town concert.  And then they take the inevitable short cut of doom!  Even a crusty old vendor who warns them about Hell’s Ground can’t stop the kids from their determination to be horribly murdered. 
The director had to overcome a lot of censorship and whatnot, as you might expect from what we ignorant Americans DO know about the Middle East, so when he had the chance to make this horror movie, he threw everything he had at it.  Flesh-eating zombies, creepy weirdos who carry human heads around and will literally kill you for a glass of water, creepy old ladies with evil hidden agendas, a Jason Voorhees-esque maniac who hunts and carves up humans for sport, creepy doll parts and chicken feet hanging from the trees and flesh-eating zombie midgets!   And it’s all fairly awesome, even if there are no real surprises or new ground to cover.  It’s like the director fell in love with American horror movies and wanted to remake all of them.   At the same time.  The only knock I have, which isn’t even a “real” knock, is that it’s not exactly a zombie movie.  The zombies have their moment in a pretty good scene and they do get the last laugh, but all in all, they are just part of the backdrop.  The last act is focused entirely on the unnecessary backstory of the maniac and the inevitable showdown with the surviving teen.  Still, for a director who overcame cultural obstacles and financed his movie with sales from his ice cream shops, Hell’s Ground is a little horror gemstone that is well worth watching.  Grade: A-

So the name of the road is Hell's Ground! Pssh, I'm sure it's just a name...


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