Twitter Plot Summary: A guy is handed the Hell Sword, which has the power to destroy an ancient evil which also involves zombies and ninja zombies.
Have you ever reached that point where you think your obsession with zombie films may have crossed a line? To have reached the ultimate nadir? I certainly have, because I have now seen Ninja Zombies. Well, most of it – half the film involves a liberal spray of post-production blood being splattered onto the lens. Onc- or twice this might be okay, but not every couple of minutes. In fact you could turn this into a drinking game, adding to the rules any moment where the action reduces to slow motion, or when the music stops abruptly as someone or something’s head is lopped off with a sword. For some, this might be the only way of being able to watch the whole thing without wanting to rip your eyes out.
A group of geeks, cosplay enthusiasts and jocks try and solve the mystery of the Hell Sword, contending with undead ninjas whilst almost never leaving their apartment. That is, when they are not playing video games, doing an internet geek show or play fighting with toy swords, of course. That’s as far as any attempts at in-depth characterisation go, but then this is a film called Ninja Zombies, what did you expect – Shakespeare?
This is entwined with Dameon (Michael Lee) having a recurring dream – presented in a disturbing desaturated style and excessive use of wibbly wobbly lens flare-style effects. Nice idea behind it, but the final presentation is nausea inducing. The excessive use of geek culture references is not handled well either. The people involved in making the film may be involved in that culture but it’s handled in a ham-fisted manner.
Despite the negatives, there is a pretty cool animated, “motion comic” sequence around the halfway point to illustrate (hah, I made a funny) a brief moment of exposition and narrative about the sword. Sadly it’s a moment which is all too brief and could have been filtered throughout the rest of the film almost like chapter points.
The ninja zombies don’t look too bad either in fairness, but that might be because you can only ever usually see their eyes and maybe their mouth. The idea behind them is similarly decent, it’s just lacking a little in execution. It says a lot about the tone of the film that Troma king Lloyd Kaufman shows up as himself, covered in promotional Troma stickers and acting like… Well, Lloyd Kaufman.
The good news is that I haven’t been put off from watching more zombie films because there are much worse examples of the genre out there. Ninja Zombies may not be a great film or even a good one, but despite its low budget and generally lacklustre performances it has odd moments where the jokes work and the story doesn’t try to overstretch itself by throwing in too many subplots. Even better, as things take a turn for the slightly more serious – but only slightly – leading into the finale, you start to forget about how truly cheap and low budget this is and, despite yourself, you may even end up enjoying it.