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Undead (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"Peaceful, rustic Berkeley is a charming fishing community where life is sweet and the people friendly. All that is about to change. After losing her childhood farm to the bank, local beauty Rene decides to leave town and head for the big city. Suddenly, an avalanche of meteorites races through the sky, bombarding the town and bringing an otherworldly infection. Departing is going to be much more difficult than she had planned. The living dead are awakened and Rene is now caught in a nightmare of zombies hungry for human flesh. She manages to find salvation in a small isolated farm house owned by the town loony, Marion. There she is met with four other desperate survivors. Together they battle their way through a plague of walking dead and discover that there is more transpiring than just an infection."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 06 April 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Once again a film has managed to acquire a great reputation with fans and critics alike, despite being one of the worst films I have ever seen.

There is no denying that The Spierig Brothers have talent, drive and ambition, but sadly the film is a wasted opportunity as it is boring from start to finish.

I can totally appreciate what the guys were trying to do but they were a long way short of the mark as the film has absolutely no point to it whatsoever. It is essentially sequence after sequence of the main protagonist shooting zombies and flipping about with his guns a blazin' and having the rest of the cast insult him.

None of the characters come across as likeable here, as we are never afforded the chance to get to know them, something which is a must in a film of this nature. In NOTLD we care about Barbra and Ben, and even in the Dawn of the Dead remake we get to know the characters...hell some of them even have character arcs, so there is no excuse. Nor should it be argued that no one cares about characters in horror movies...we do!!

The saddest thing about the film is that it tries too hard. The humour is completely forced the entire time and you kind of get the feeling that the Spierigs were sitting debating about what they could do to ensure fans would spout out quotes at screenings, horror conventions and the like. Rocky Horror this ain't!!

From the moment the tacky score began to play, I knew this was going to be an out and out farce, and I was right. If you want to see a balls to the wall horror movie you need to see 'The Janitor' as it is far superior and it was made for a hell of a lot less than this!!

The fact that the Spierigs 'only' had a million to make this doesn't even come into it...look at what Steve Sessions and countless other indie filmmakers achieve with a fraction of that budget...christ look at 'Halloween', Carpenter had nowhere near that amount of cash to play with.

I was actually quite insulted watching this movie as it pissed on the memory of many of the greatest genre films out there and did it without any originality. Comparisons to Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi are unfair as their movies were considered to be groundbreaking back in the day. This film just 'borrowed' their ideas and tried to pass them off as their own, unsuccessfully.

I was absolutely bored to tears and even considered switching this off at one point (something I actually did do recently with a film called 'Island of the Damned' which was much worse than this) but I understand how hard it is to accomplish anything in the field, and could appreciate the effort by the Spierigs that went into making the picture.

Aesthetically the film is far too blue (covering up some day for night shots aye boys?) and whilst the effects were good, you can tell that they were done on a PC (or two to be precise) so I don't know why people act shocked when they find out.

In the end, the film was not to my liking and that is my own personal opinion. Credit to the Speirigs, they have a completed feature under their belts, they are evidently hardworking and dedicated, and they have distribution and even some critical praise. In short, my opinion won't mean shit to them, but it's my job (and a privilege) to tell people what I thought of a film. I had intended to give the film one star but on reflection I feel it deserves a two. Coincidentally this is the second time this year that Anchor Bay have released an over hyped movie which has left me dissatisfied. I hope this doesn't become a regular occurrence.

Reviewer: Ryan McDonald @horrorasylum
Location:Sydney, Australia
Review Date: 31 January 2005 My Rating: out of 5

Immensely popular (even with a lot of critics) Aussie horror flick sees meteorites crashing in the fishing town of Berkeley, and causes zombies to rise and cause havoc and bloody death. Humanity's last hope includes gun-toting, brooding fisherman Mungo McKay (apparently his real name, poor lad), incessantly foul-mouthed slimy cop Dirk Hunter and his quieter partner, an expectant young couple, and small-town beauty queen (who is really quite skanky if you ask me) Mason, who proves surprisingly resilient.

Vastly overrated, 'Brain Dead'/'Dead Alive' wannabe is uneven like that film was, but at least Peter Jackson's cult classic had great moments, and a butt-kicking priest. This rather dull film just proves yet again that us Aussies stink at making genre pictures, I mean when a film about a giant killer pig stands as one of your finest genre outings (What? You prefer the dull psychic thriller 'Patrick'?), it really says something, doesn't it? (Especially when that film was made some twenty odd years ago as well).

This is unfunny (then again so was 'Shaun of the Dead', maybe it's just me), weird (generally, alien zombies are a bad idea, I mean, what's wrong with our own Undead? Not sure what that huge metal structure was, either), sometimes bordering on incoherent, and full of characters you'd probably like to take a big chunk out of yourself after ten minutes. Agonisingly boring at times. The cheap, cartoony music score by Cliff Bradley doesn't help, either.

And yet, it's not all awful (though I'm tempted to give it zero simply for being the millionth film to infuriate me with that whole tired John Woo two guns thing- ugh!). The zombie makeup and gore is not only plentiful, but actually very well done for an ultra low-budget film, the production looks quite slick (aside from some bad alien FX presumably done on a laptop), with the cinematography doing wonders to make the film look more expensive than it probably was. In fact, the zombie action was all that was keeping me watching, including a wonderfully nasty hole through some poor cricketer's gut, and I swear I saw a zombie with glasses that looked an awful lot like me. But after about five minutes of Hunter's incredibly nauseating, juvenile character, I was in sheer agony. McKay's triple-barrel shotgun was cool, but his attempt at a Clint Eastwood impersonation was quite forced.

Aside from the dorky-looking aliens, this is a better-looking production than most Aussie genre films, but a poor script, bad acting, and lot of dull stretches between the gore sink this to mediocrity (and I'm being generous, given Australia Day has just passed, so don't call me Un-Australian, either). Watch 'Razorback' instead.

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