I swear we are not running out of zombie films to watch. Not even close. It’s a total coincidence that we’ve watched two borderline cases in a row. First was the Evil Dead remake, which I wrote extensively about. The second was our first feature of the official movie night for May. John Dies at the End.
True story: I have had the window open to write this post for a week now. I have absolutely no idea how to put into words what kind of experience watching John Dies at the End is. I didn’t get it, yet I understood it perfectly. What I mean is, I was following along with everything from scene to scene but the overall narrative itself is intentionally bizarre. The confusion is what they were going for. This film has reality bending, alternate dimensions where the timeline has strayed from our own significantly, drugs that either kill you or give you super powers, time traveling, and a monster that takes the form of all the meat in a storage cooler bonding together. It has a zombie, too, though the film never really answers how that fits into anything. I think it was part of showing that the heroes were monster hunters or whatever. Also, the drug could manipulate some people into doing its evil bidding, so that counts on the zombie checklist as well. I enjoyed John Dies at the End a lot, but it takes a hit on the grade for the lack of zombies and not being as apocalyptic as it could have been. I would recommend seeing it for yourself because, as I said, it defies description, but don’t see it for its zombie content. Grade: B
Our second film of the night was also relatively famous, or possibly infamous, but in either case, we had a rare 2 for 2 regarding ‘films I had heard of before’. Obviously looking to cash in on the buzz and pro-USA notion surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden, comes the film Osombie. As you can tell by the catchy title, Osombie presents the premise of bin Laden coming back as a member of the undead. As you can also probably tell by my sarcasm, I wasn’t expecting this to be any good.
But I was wrong! My brother described it as G.I. Joe vs. Zombies and that’s accurate. A group of soldiers are making their way through the desert on zombie-killing duty when they come across a woman who is searching for her brother…a man driven mad by the idea that Osama is still out there somewhere. Turns out he’s half right. Osama is a zombie now and a standard, mindless one at that. However, his minions don’t seem to mind much and continue to carry out a plot which involves turning civilians into unwitting guinea pigs for their zomberific experiments.
For a straight-to-video project, Osombie is above average in most areas. I’d say its weakest point is special effects, but they’re not even close to the worst ever. The CGI is about Syfy Channel level, maybe slightly lower, but it doesn’t hurt the film. What I liked most was that the character development seemed to flow naturally instead of being awkward and clunky. You wouldn’t think I would end up learning most of the names of the zombie fodder, but each soldier was a pretty distinct character. Having the unit meet someone new along the way made it a simple process to learn more about both the soldiers and the civilians as they each got to know each other.
Osombie was a surprisingly fun little romp and turned into an unlikely first pager on our official rankings list. Grade: A