Saturday, March 19, 2016

Horror Film Review

Re-Kill (2015):  Zombie flick that's part 28 Days Later and part Cops.  Ever wonder what TV shows and commercials would be like five years after a virus kills then reanimates a substantial chunk of the population?  Well, wonder no more!

It begins with a little girl coming home to discover her house a shambles and her parents gone.  After wandering from room to room calling for her mom and dad to no avail, she sadly sits down in front of the television which is tuned to a channel dedicated to all things post-outbreak.  The Cops-like reality show that happens to be playing is Re-Kill where a reporter and cameraman are embedded within a paramilitary unit tasked with tracking down and destroying re-ans (reanimated folks).  And they're not the slow, Romero zombies.  These fuckers are fast.  Via rookie reporter Jimmy, we're introduced to the unit members who are as diverse and screwed up as you'd imagine and also shown how awful their job is from a perspective of innocence and naivete.  After a few terrifying skirmishes, the unit is ordered into the Zone to investigate disturbing reports regarding the origin of the outbreak and ongoing experimentation.  The Zone, by the way, is the walled-off island of Manhattan that was used as a zombie dumping ground.  No one ever goes there because the last units to venture in never returned.  Jimmy's unit learns the zombies are massing...and organizing.  If a second outbreak occurs, everyone knows humanity is doomed.  No pressure.  In the end, the unit is predictably decimated although one survives to warn of the impending horror.  From the beginning, rumors of an "ark" that would save our species run rampant.  We do learn if those crazy rumors are in fact true.  Take a wild guess...

Interspersed throughout the show are commercials for everything from drugs that claim to protect you from the virus if bitten to public service announcements encouraging all Americans to have sex to help repopulate the country.  These ads work because they're made well and played straight, but they're a bit annoying because they break up the action of the show.

One aspect that confused me was the supposed one camera perspective.  On more than one occasion it's obvious from the angles we're shown it's impossible a single camera was utilized (unless members of the unit were wearing near invisible helmet cams that we weren't told about).  Another...mistake was the use of tension-heightening background music during certain scenes.  Kind of defeats the purpose.

The Skinny

Acting:  Roger R. Cross as Sarge is excellent, his performance chock full of pathos and dread.  Bruce Payne as the subtly psychotic, evangelizing Winston is disturbing.  Scott Adkins as the assholish Parker is too hammy and therefore a distraction.  Everyone else manages a decent job.
Story:  I would have bet real money I'd hate watching a zombie tale by means of a reality show.  I would have lost real money.  Unfortunately, the story itself is overshadowed by the novelty of how it's told, which in a zombie flick, isn't a deal breaker.
Direction:  It's counter-intuitive to think a single perspective film is more difficult than a normal film.  It should be easier.  It isn't.  Which is why I was impressed, for the most part, by the direction.
Production Values:  Pretty high given the budget was just under $10 million.  No small portion of that must have gone to the insane number of extras.
Gore/FX:  Blood?  Oh, there's a drop or two.  Gore?  Yes, yes there is.  The zombie make-up is predictably icky awesome.
Scares:  By golly, there are.  One of them, while they're fleeing in a tunnel under the Zone, may cause sudden and involuntary bladder voiding.
Ending:  Unexpected but too Hollywood-ish.  They could have done better.
Verdict:  Should you see Re-Kill?  Yep.  Not just for the novelty but for the groovy violence one expects in a military vs. zombies flick.  Come to think of it, it's part 28 Days Later, part Cops, and part DOOM (video game, not the shitty movie).  It's worth an hour and 28 minutes of your life.

Rating:  4 out of 5

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