Twitter Plot Summary: Zombies are on the loose as a younger brother returns to the family mortuary, seeking his inheritance.
Director: Jeff Broadstreet
Key Cast: Andrew Divoff, Jeffrey Combs, Sarah Lieving, Robin Sydney, Adam Chambers, Scott Thomson, Denise Duff
Five Point Summary:
1. 15 minutes about funeral parlours. Dull, dull, dull.
2. Jeffrey Combs arrives. Huzzah.
3. Zombie baby! In a fridge! For no reason!
4. A little bit of zombie action… but only a little bit.
5. How many bullets does he have in that gun?!
The original Night of the Living Dead was released without copyright back in 1968, leading to a spate of cheap DVD releases of that original film and, more recently, a spate of cheap straight to DVD prequels and remakes. In 2006 we had Bill Haig’s terrible 3D film, and in 2012 we had a double header of Resurrection and Re-Animation. I’ve yet to see Resurrection, but this is a prequel to the 2006 film from the same director, Jeff Broadstreet. So a prequel to a remake/reimagining of a film that has already been remade. Right… That should have been an instant clue for me that it wouldn’t be particularly good, but lessons learned and all that.
The opening 30 minutes give us one zombie, a funeral parlour and lots of discussions about how said funeral parlours work, in this case a small town, family owned parlour run by the rather stiff/bored Gerald Tovar (Divoff). It’s superfluous stuff that might be interesting to people who have an obsession with the process of burying bodies, but for the rest of us it’s just dull. It perks up when Jeffrey combs turns up, but that’s more to do with my appreciation of him as an actor more than anything else. He’s the younger half brother of Gerald and has come back seeking a share of the inheritance money left by their father. Whilst they’re debating that point, the new assistant funeral director Cristie gets high on ecstasy with employees DyeAnne and Russell and has a couple of zombie-related encounters herself. As far as story goes, that’s pretty much it, don’t expect anything approaching real characterisation, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
Gore fans can at least be appeased by the special effects which are cheap but don’t look that terrible – put it this way, I’ve seen far worse in my time. More impressive is the fact that there are 130 effects shots throughout the film, and some of them aren’t as obvious as you might think. There’s an option to watch it in 3D, but it’s using the old red/blue specs so the effect is minimal on DVD and liable to cause a headache. The other problem with watching these “old school” style 3D films is that they look terrible when viewed in either standard or the 3D edition, which does raise the question as to why they bothered. Probably just because they could.
The problem is nothing of interest happens for the majority of the film. The script is jumbled and if nothing else overplays the fact it’s a zombie film in the promotional materials. Yes there are zombies, but they play such a minor role as to be inconsequential. Broadstreet has said that the story is all about Tovar, but even his motives are poorly constructed.
Thankfully it doesn’t outstay its welcome, but as nothing of interest happens until the last ten minutes it’s not a film I would recommend to anybody who isn’t a zombie obsessive. I’ll be honest, I’d be hard pressed to recommend it even to a zombie nut. Avoid like the zombie plague.
Favourite scene: Combs lists every official film in the Romero canon from Dead 68 to Dead 90 as covered up zombie outbreaks.
Quote: “And the zombie outbreaks. Pittsburgh, 1968. And then 78. And then Louisville in 1985 and again in Pittsburgh in 1990. They say that one was very similar to the outbreak in 68, only more gory.”