It’s one night both you and the zombies would care to forget.
The Asylum have a fairly bad rap for their slew of low budget mockbusters, but little is said about their otherwise original stories. Thus far I have seen a number of their efforts that have not been cheap knock-offs of current cinematic releases, and in almost every case they benefit from not being tenuously linked to a generally better film. Their zombie films, in particular Rise of the Zombies and this, Zombie Night, aren’t all that bad. True, Zombie Night isn’t going to win any awards, but as far as zombie cinema goes it’s nowhere near the worst the genre has to offer.
The story isn’t all that great, I’ll admit that much. A zombie apocalypse takes place and we follow a few different groups of people as they try to survive the night. That’s it. Anyone looking for deep narrative and characterisation is looking in the wrong place. Also bear in mind that you’re watching an Asylum production, just in case you weren’t absolutely clear on that point. The main thing it has going for it is the presence of a few big names – in this instance we have Darryl Hannah, suffering from serious Plastic Surgery Face (and if she hasn’t had plastic surgery…yikes), former friend of Ferris Bueller Alan Ruck, aka the man who told Captain Kirk the tractor beam wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday, and former Breakfast Clubber Anthony Michael Hall.
The blood and gore effects are impressive, but they are let down by some terrible dialogue (frequently given to Darryl Hannah, poor woman) and a story that meanders and dawdles far too much for its own good. The zombie rules aren’t adequately established and in the end it just runs a few loops around itself and stubbornly refuses to use logic in any capacity. At this point you realise that you’re in full-on Asylum territory, and that you’re not going to get something even half as entertaining as their more competent features.
There’s also a distinct lack of tension, quite a poor state of affairs for a horror film. People make increasingly ridiculous decisions that are almost completely illogical, and when they do make decisions you don’t care at all whether they survive or make it through to the next scene. You probably won’t even love to hate any of the characters. Most likely you will be engrossed in tedium.
A bit of time spent developing the script would have been incredibly useful and made for a far more entertaining film. Gore and makeup effects will only carry a film so far before you have to rely on the characters. Unfortunately they are a mere reflection of real people, so there’s little to entertain you there either.
But as I’ve said, it’s certainly not the worst the genre has to offer. You can easily watch this and enjoy the brief moments of gore, but whether or not you find it worthwhile sitting through the vast amounts of nothing that surrounds the violence is for you to decide. It’s an exercise in patience as much as it is an appreciation of classic zombie violence.