To say I have been inattentive to this site is an understatement. Since my last post, we have handed out the Golden Zombey Awards, and watched four zombie movies. I’m sorry, but I have had a lot on my plate lately. My brother puts a lot of effort into presenting our Golden Zombey Awards. I encourage you to check out his site if you want the full run-down, complete with an amazing PDF file. http://askmeaboutzombies.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/2012-golden-zombey-awards/
And now we move on to YEAR FOUR, almost unbelievably. We kicked things off with the interesting case of The Cabin in the Woods. I say ‘interesting’ because it is the most difficult film to categorize that we have ever seen on ZMN. Zombies are a key part of the plot but it’s not a zombie movie at all, really. It’s hard to explain it and to do so would create massive spoilers and believe me when I say Cabin will be a million times better if you have no idea what it is going in. I guess the best way to describe it would be like if you were going scuba diving next to an iceberg. The doomed teens and the zombies are the tip of the iceberg that you can plainly see. The whole rest of the movie is the massive glacier lurking underneath and as you delve deeper and deeper, you get to see the much bigger picture. And it’s also the best meta-horror film since Scream. But here’s where it gets weird. Cabin in the Woods is the best movie we have ever seen on ZMN but yet it somehow didn’t earn the top spot in our rankings. It just has to lose points for not being a true zombie movie on Zombie Movie Night. I believe it ended up third behind The Horde and Zombieland, but it’s better than those two as a film. I told you this was weird. Grade: A+
On the other end of the spectrum is Shadows of the Dead. It’s much more fun to discuss if Cabin should be in the top spot then it is to debate if Shadows should be in the bottom. I mean you have to be really especially bad for us start reminiscing about the merits of Motocross Zombies From Hell. The story goes that a loving, if imperfect couple take a shortcut of doom and have the standard issue car trouble. They spend a lot of time arguing before they notice a dead body nearby. Or is it truly dead? Homeboy investigates off-camera and comes back with a bite. The two abandon their car and run to a cabin…which was…their vacation destination? Their home? We don’t really know, but they spend the rest of the film there and no one misses them. Homeboy gets sick and becomes a relatively coherent version of a zombie; Homegirl catches it from him. 90% of the runtime is them lying in bed talking, arguing and dying. Basically it comes down to Homeboy doesn’t mind killing people to feel better, while Homegirl would rather kill herself. This might be interesting if the dialogue wasn’t atrocious and repetitive. Do yourself a favor and avoid this one at all costs. Grade: F
Since October is national horror month or whatever, plus the ZMN anniversary extravaganza, we always slip in a few more features than normal. The first film of our next event was Evilution. I’m happy to say this one landed on the pleasant surprise list. I try to screen the trailers on youtube before I make decisions and in this case, the trailer didn’t hold a lot of promise for me. Not even sure how it ended up in my queue, let alone at the top. Hobgoblins or something. But lo and behold, the hobgoblins in this case had my best interests in mind, because Evilution is pretty good. I was practically giddy about how much I was enjoying it. Decent plot, decent acting (mostly), effective intentional comedy instead of the usual unintentional variety and even a halfway decent unexpected twist on the normal zombie movie tropes. I will say that the zombies are a little subpar as they are very bad at attacking and are defeated more laughably and easily than aliens in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. The climax also is a bit rushed and anticlimactic. But overall, I very happily give Evilution a B+. Also, whenever I hear Evil Woman by ELO, I change it to Evilution. That’s how a movie sticks with you.
Finally we have Dead Season. A man and woman meet up in the post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland and go through with the typical plan that everyone always thinks of but never usually goes through with…get to the water and go to an island. The bad news for our heroes is that there are still zombies on the island they go to. The worse news is the community of survivors they become integrated into are cultish and military-esque and you don’t even want to know what their food source is. The film does an above average job of delving into the human element of the apocalypse. Like is it enough to just survive? The leader’s daughter is not allowed to leave her house because it is too dangerous. Is that a life worth living? If you’re not particularly useful to the group, is it justified for you to become Soylent Green Jerky? Some might see Dead Season as a pretty obvious rip off of Day of the Dead, as it strikes many of the same notes, but I prefer to consider it an homage. Better to be well-made, yet derivative than a 100% original turd. *ahem* motocross zombies *cough* Grade: B+