Sunday, April 7, 2013

Horror Film Review

Osombie (2012):  This is what you call a high-concept zombie flick.  Think Zero Dark Thirty meets Dawn of the Dead.  And to be honest, there's no way in hell it should have worked.  I expected a cheap movie haphazardly cobbled together to capitalize on the current popularity of both the mission to kill bin Laden and that of zombies.  In other words, I expected to be annoyed and then write a review destroying it with my acerbic wit.  I do enjoy being surprised.

During the attack on bin Laden's compound, soldiers discover the psycho has been fiddling about with biological agents and run into a handful of his "experiments."  They eventually kill the leader and load him into the chopper; however, while over the Arabian Sea, he comes back to life and the chopper goes down.  Guess who walks out of the sea craving human flesh?

Flash forward to a rag-tag unit of mostly American special forces soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan.  Nearly all U.N. military personnel have pulled out due to the rise in undead combatants and non-combatants.  There is no global pandemic, rather it's a controlled program run by terrorists who are creating the zombies and using them as weapons.  Like walking IEDs.  Osama coming back was the miracle they were looking for to justify their hatred of the West.  Or something.  The soldiers' mission is to find the terrorists' HQ and call in an air strike to wipe it off the face of the earth.  Complicating their mission is Derek (Jasen Wade), an off balance yoga instructor who flew to the Middle East on a personal quest to kill bin Laden and his sister Dusty (Eve Mauro) who chased after him and wound up needing rescuing.  After they all find each other, the group makes it to the enemy camp and the final battle is waged. 

As with most movies featuring a tight-knit group of soldiers, the disparate personalities are accentuated.  The tough-as-nails commander (who's killed almost immediately), the token Brit doctor, the lone woman who's very good with a sword, the pretty boy who likes to take his shirt off, the comedian with the nickname Joker, etc.  What impressed me the most was their easy chemistry and the subtle humor that never seemed forced.  I also loved the fact that two of them get into an argument over whether or not zombies poop.  The film, then, is more of a tongue-in-cheek offering than a serious foray into the genre, which is the only way it works.  And as such, it works quite well.


Acting:  Wade is a bit over the top as the goofy Derek.  Sword-wielding Tomboy (Danielle Churchran) is too stiff.  Other than that, performances are all right  Surprisingly all right, in fact.
Story:  Ah, yes.  Well...okay, it's pretty stupid and rife with plot holes, but as it's not meant to be taken seriously, this deficit becomes mostly irrelevant.
Direction:  I won't go so far as to say it's deft, but it certainly isn't awful. 
Production Values:  The budget is unknown, yet it's obvious they had some money to play with and most that probably went to the bazillion rounds of ammo fired.  The majority of the film is exteriors shot in Utah and they look good.  It's hard to screw up outside shots.  So no complaints regarding the technical aspects.
Gore/FX:  Pretty much what you'd expect.  Lots of head shots with CGI blood splatter.  Not an overabundance of zombie munching, though.  Overall, on par with what you see every week on The Walking Dead.  I did like the big gun that made the zombies literally explode.  Groovy.
Scares:  One or two minor ones.  I don't think it was much of a priority.
Ending:  More people live than you might think.  It borders on happy.  I know.  Weird.
Verdict:  Should you see Osombie?  Despite the many negative reviews floating around out there, I liked this movie.  True, it's not a great movie but it's definitely worth 94 minutes of your time.

Rating:  3 out of 5


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