Film Review by Jarred Tito
I Survived a Zombie Holocaust
From the land of early Peter Jackson comes another Braindead movie in bad taste. It’s the third day of shooting the low budget horror ‘Tonight They Come’ on location in the wilds of New Zealand. Director SMP is already beside himself having to work with a self-obsessed leading man and a bimbo actress when into his line of fire comes a new runner, wannabe screenwriter Wesley Pennington. Clearly an accident-prone nerd, Wesley nevertheless tries his best to fit in with the crazed cast and demented crew while falling head over heels for Susan, the onset caterer. But cast and crew are struck down by a mystery illness and suddenly the zombie extras start acting like genuine members of the living dead. Zombies have invaded the Zombie film set and Reel life turns real as Wesley attempts to save the day and escape the film set with a group of survivors.
Well hold the bus and release the blood…here come the zombies! New Zealand is back in the lime light or should I say red light and not the red light district either, or though there is a little bit of ‘hankie pankie’ involved. No we’re back in the red light…the blood light. I see red, I see, red, I see red! Axes are flying, heads are falling and entrails are spilling. It’s New Zealand’s answer to the Hunger Games but with more blood and more dead people that aren’t dead and no games officially. Although an American lunatic uses the zombies as a bit of sport…hunting sport.
This movie has all of the hall marks of a Horror / Comedy which is not unlike one of Peter Jackson’s early 1980’s ‘splatter’ movies. It has a similar feel to them in spite of the improved special effects and Hi Definition camera. But this time it’s not about buckets of blood, aliens from outer space or Muppets gone mad. It’s a film about zombies in a film who then become zombies that are on the film set who are then filmed which becomes complicated when the film crew don’t know which zombies are actors and which ones are zombies. But the end result is that the set eventually becomes overrun with zombies which is what you’d expect in a zombie film, right? Yes. Anyway, the film making runs close to the bone, so close that you can taste it which is a reality too close for many but just right for the crazed director.
I don’t know if the budget was huge for this picture but I can see that the commitment from the cast and crew was enormous. So I must say, ‘hats off’, to all of those involved. The special effects and Art department are first class and could be compared to some of the Hollywood’s big budget ‘Zombie’ type efforts.
There is a lot of Kiwi humour throughout, which I must confess felt a little dated, hence the Jackson reference, but on a whole still entertaining. I liked the ‘Tane’ (Ben Baker) story which was shot as a series of flash backs and present day heroics. That was one of the highlights for me that moved me for a moment or two.
This is definitely a comedy and nothing deep and meaningful like ‘The Returned’ or scary and profane like Zombies Dawn of the Dead. So don’t go with any expectations of being scared. Instead be prepared to be a little grossed at times. Lots of blood and guts just like a zombie movie should be.
Releases: 22nd May 2015
Duration: 104 minutes
Duration: 104 minutes
Starring: Greg James, Leah Guttridge, Amena Jefferies and Reanin Johannink
Director: Guy Pigden (Older)