Monday, January 3, 2011

Horror Film Review

Last of the Living (2008):  Told you I'd get a horror movie watched soon.  And a zombie flick to boot!  And foreign, too!  It's from New Zealand, and we have seen horror from New Zealand.  Remember Peter Jackson's Dead Alive?  But while Jackson's spatter-fest didn't follow the rules, Last of the Living follows them almost to the point of cliche. 

We're shown bits and bobs of post-outbreak chaos via stock news clips during the movie's opening credits.  It's rather exciting, really, although nothing we haven't seen a million times.  Still, I felt it boded well for the rest of the film even though I knew going in it was super low-budget.  I need to follow my own advice and keep my expectations low...

Johnny, Morgan, and Ash are three friends sharing a flat in a world decimated by a zombie virus.  Oddly, they seem to be ok with it.  When they decide to run to the grocery store, they act like it's just a trip to the grocery store.  Except they each weapon-up first.  Morgan (in the white shirt, kind of a womanizing punk) takes a baseball bat and does a little Taxi Driver thing in the mirror.  Johnny (older, rock 'n roller, it's his car) has these...sticks.  I think they're martial arts weapons of some kind.  I don't know what he's holding in the movie poster.  And Ash (nerdy ginger who decks himself out in hockey goalie garb) opts for a golf club. 

Here's the're living in a zombie-infested city, no humans left except yourself, and the best you can come up with to fend off the zombie horde is a freaking 7 iron?  Really?  How about a machete?  An ax?  Or a chain saw?  His name is Ash after all.  And I have no sympathy for people who allow belly-crawling brain-munchers to get close enough to bite their ankles.  Guns may be hard to find down under, but there's no excuse for not wearing leather boots.

Anyway, they run into a pretty woman who happens to be a scientist who's close to figuring out a cure who needs to get to a research facility on a small island.  One of the friends sacrifices himself so the others can get to the airport.  Scientist lady knows how to fly.  Of course once they get there, well...things don't go exactly to plan. 

The Breakdown 

Acting:  It's not painful, I'll say that much.  And not too distracting.  For a low-budget zombie flick, that's like an Oscar nomination. 
Story:  Nothing new here by any stretch of the imagination.  But it's a tried and true formula and that's not a bad thing. 
Direction:  Not terribly inspired.  It just follows the formula. 
Production Values:  Location shooting is usually free, so that actually helps.  And they didn't use leftover film stock from a porno, so it looks all right. 
Gore:  This is where they needed to spend more money.  The zombie make up was pretty lame, and I came to realize why the weapons were for bludgeoning instead of cutting.  Beheadings and spurting blood would cost more.  There is one very nice shot of a zombie's head being crushed, though.  Ending:  Pretty decent, really.  Someone actually lives. 
Verdict:  Should you see Last of the Living?  If you're a fan of zombie movies, yep.  If you're just a general horror movie fan, sure.  If you're not a particular fan of either, nope.

My Rating:  3 out of 5

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