Twitter Plot Summary: A group of teens are attacked by zombie vampires but are saved by normal vampires who refuse to drink human blood.
Director: Matthew R Anderson and Edward Conna
Key Cast: Luke Goss, Matthew R Anderson, Spice Williams-Crosby, Edward Conna, Laura Chinn, Joshua Alba, America Young, Cameron Goodman, Johnny Pacar, Lance Frank, Forrest J Ackerman, Vernon Wells
Five Point Summary:
1. That fake blood isn’t going to wash out…
2. Peeps with guns. Shouldn’t this be tense or something?
3. BIG EXPLOSION! Just because!
4. Er… this whole flashback seems arbitrary…
5. Is that Vernon Wells?! YES!
As I have discussed before, I often choose to watch zombie films that do something a little out of the ordinary, where the plot does something more than your standard “surviving the apocalypse” fare. The Dead Undead goes one better – combining vampires with zombies. A recipe for success? Much like Against The Dark, it isn’t even close. In fact, it’s truly diabolical.
Five teens, clearly all in their twenties, arrive at a hotel in the middle of nowhere for a holiday. Oddly the place seems deserted, that is until a group of zombie/vampire things emerge and start dribbling blood on them and stuff. Cue much shrieking and angry acting, which will come to define the remaining 80 minutes of the film. Oh, as will gunfire and pointless explosions, and not even pointless in a fun way. When done correctly a well placed silly explosion can have a decent effect on a film – if you blow something up just for the sake of it then you’re immediately setting yourself up to fail.
The script is full of inconsistencies – no effort is made to give us anything more than a very brief introduction to the characters (or no introduction at all), their reactions are inconsistent and their decision-making flawed. Bad acting is also the order of the day. Mix this with some sloppy editing and suspect camerawork and it quickly loses any possibility of redeeming itself. Sure, the flashbacks to how our group of good vampires were turned aren’t too bad, but they feel like inserts from other films and only seem to be included to pad out the running time, especially given how long each flashback runs for. A restructure of where these flashbacks occur in the film would have helped a little – one character dies heroically after talking about Valhalla, then we see him in the middle of a sword fight. Initially I thought that this was him having reached Valhalla until Spice Williams shows up and it then becomes apparent that it’s a flashback. There’s a couple of good ideas at least – the vampires who refuse to drink human blood are a good idea, as is the setup around the hotel – create more of a Near Dark vibe about it and you’re well away.
Yet again this is a film where the concept is sound but it fails in the execution. What had the possibility of being an interesting twist on the zombie genre ends up being 90 minutes of people firing weapons at swarms of enemies, video game style, interspersed with small sections of dialogue and hard rock instrumentals. The finale is saved, in more ways than one, by the arrival of Vernon Wells, he of Commando fame. It’s clearly setting up a sequel (which I would happily watch if he was a central character), but that doesn’t appear to be on the cards at present. It’s not until these final few minutes where suddenly they decide to do some world building that it starts to show any sign of promise, but by then it’s too little too late. If a sequel does get off the ground, if they can fix the basic errors of this film and create an engaging story then it will at least be watchable. As this one stands, it’s very much a missed opportunity.
Favourite scene: Vernon Wells shows up. Win!
Quote: “When you guys are done with social-hour, maybe you can let us know and we can all go look for bad guys. Is that ok?”