Twitter Plot Summary: Thinking zombies kidnap the living and farming them for food.
It doesn’t happen very often, but every now and again my surname shows up in a film in some capacity. The biggest profile use of Prior lately has been in the Divergent series, but you do on occasion get real life Prior’s who are in the movie business making films. But then when they make dross like Zombie Wars, aka War of the Living Dead (both awful titles), then it doesn’t give you much hope. It would be easy to spend the entirety of this review complaining about the dodgy performances, the noisy curtain wipes that transition between the scenes, or the awkward special effects, but these would be more forgivable if the story had a proper structure and the voiceover narrative had a point.
Kicking off with an opening action sequence that sees zombies somehow appearing and catching our heroes by surprise – in some cases literally appearing out of nowhere when it’s clear they couldn’t have made such a stealthy approach. This whole sequence is to show the heroic actions of two brothers as they try to rescue a group of attractive ladies who have been imprisoned by thinking zombies. The sexism in this sequence alone is rife, but there is at least one female character in the overall story who is in a position of power. This is quickly diminished as one of the brothers takes a liking to one of the rescued slave girls, despite the fact she can’t speak. Their relationship forms one aspect of the narrative, often being a horribly cringeworthy sequence of events as she says things like “Kissing… good!”
As far as the zombie playbook is concerned, every possible cliche is used. On a more positive note, the gore is occasionally impressive and the squibs used to depict heads being popped do their job, even if they are overused within the opening 20 minutes and, indeed throughout. Otherwise you get exactly what you expect – some dubious special effects (surely when a head is decapitated it doesn’t just fall straight to the floor like a stone each and every time?), some equally dubious zombie makeup, and an almost ridiculous use of a narrative voiceover to make up for the lack of clarity in the action being shown. This is the key problem though – the narration doesn’t make any sense and tonally it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a cheeky comedy? A commentary on military power and mindless killing machines? Is it a Planet of the Apes knockoff, but with zombies instead of apes? Who knows.
It’s ultimately a mess, a mix of whimsical humour, cheesy library quality music and a plot that doesn’t offer much in entertainment value. Given that this has a total run time of 80 minutes, it’s surprising how little actually happens in that time. Almost every aspect of it suggests that those responsible have no concept of story structure or what makes a good movie. And to be honest that’s a shame, because in better hands there’s a really good story lurking somewhere in here.