My pick for this month was Hunting Creatures, an amateur film from Germany. The setup is pretty simple. A rave at an abandoned warehouse goes horribly wrong because it just happens to be the place where scientists disposed of their failed eternal life serum experiments. Almost everyone turns into zombies, except for some young criminals who ultimately decide to team up with the lead scientist and hunt the creatures down. See what I did there?
Hunting Creatures has all the trademarks of an amateur shoot. Bad acting, bad effects, minimalist plot. I can’t knock the effort put in because it’s clearly not the WORST THING EVER, which is all you can really hope for from a film like this. HC manages to get to the “hilariously bad” level, which ends up saving it from the bottom of the pile. A belly laugh of confusion is still a belly laugh, after all. Most of HC’s unintentional humor comes from its bizarre character motivations. The scene where the young crooks meet the scientists is interrupted by someone bursting through the door and shooting people, but, whatevs! It’s all good. Let’s team up anyway! Oddly enough, the zombie who shows some leadership ability along with true immortality becomes the most sympathetic and likeable character. And the reveal of how he got like that is the film’s funniest moment. Not intended to be, but, like I said, it still counts on the laugh meter.
It’s too bad to recommend a watch, but there are definitely worse zombie movies you could waste your time with. Grade: D+
Next up was, sadly, our second ever disqualification. The Bay, directed by Barry Levinson, is actually a fairly well-made entry in the “found footage” horror subgenre. Instead of some singular handheld nonsense, it is told from many different perspectives in the form of a tell-all documentary about an ecological disaster compiled from government-confiscated footage. The problem is that it feels like it is building to something great and then fails to deliver. If the victims had all turned into zombies or even just crazed killers, the movie would have not only qualified but probably gotten a good grade. As it is, all the decent build lazily climaxes with the dying people just dying and the resolution to the disaster occurs offscreen. So much wasted opportunity here. And definitely no zombies Grade: N/A
After deciding not to change the name to Eco-Disaster Movie Night, we hit up Netflix Instant for another option. We chose Remains, a made for Chiller television production. This one wastes little time setting things up as a massive fireball hits Reno, instantly turning everyone into flesh-hungering undead. Inside a casino are four survivors, a failed magician and his surly girlfriend, an excitable young guy and a douchey jock type. As the horde outside grows by the day, things become more and more hopeless. They make a few failed attempts at escape, they are “rescued” by a military unit with ambiguous intentions and of course, zombies eat people. Most of the film is cookie cutter boring and when its not, it’s full of gaping plotholes. For example, if the zombies go to sleep at night, why are you turning on a spotlight and hoping help arrives, instead of just, uh, ya know, leaving? You can’t complain about being trapped when you’re not really trapped. The acting isn’t bad; Lance Reddick, from LOST and Fringe, even shows up for what amounts to a cameo, but the problem lies more in the characterizations. Part of this might stem from the sound quality, as some characters just speak louder than others. Unfortunately, I wasn’t invested enough to want to figure out what the quiet ones were saying. It gets a better grade than Hunting Creatures simply because of the better production value, but honestly, to me, it was more of a trudge to get through this one. Grade: C-