Dance Of The Dead

Dance Of The Dead

Director:  Gregg Bishop

Year: 2008

Tagline: It’s their night to come alive.

 


The start, similar to Dellamorte Dellamore in content, shows us a cemetery groundskeeper whose job description also involves making sure the dead stay dead, with the cause of this seemingly semi-frequent occurrence being the presence of a local nuclear power plant. After this scene, we are introduced to the lucky few who will become our key characters as they prepare for their upcoming school prom, introducing us to the cheerleader, the nerds, the bully and the outsiders who play in a poor Black Flag meets Ramones sounding punk rock band. Cue some teen angst, some rejection and alternative plans culminating in several of our new found friends finding themselves at the local cemetery at night. Realising not only that the whole town is in danger, but more importantly the prom our band of survivors head off back to the school to save the night.

Zombie Quality:  ***

This quality in this film is competent, textbook as Alan Partridge would say, as the movie features a broad mix of decaying, bloody zombies to skeleton head zombies with a defining characteristic being weird eyes (obviously a job-lot deal on contacts was struck by the producers). Although, of note one zombie looked like a black metal panda with pale skin, blackened eyes and bite marks, overall these zombies are competent but nothing special over other movies.

Zombie Behaviour: *

Behaviour in this film is at best inconsistent, we see zombies ably drive and control cars, leaping out of their graves high into the air, some zombies have obviously watched Return of the Living Dead and call for brains, others may use their decapitated head to direct their body (similar to Dr Hill in ReAnimator) . Not only this but I can’t even say if these are running zombies, in some scenes they sprint to chase our hero’s, while in others they either jog or shamble along slowly. Finally, it seems that a non-fatal bite will reanimate along with exposure to the pollution, however this is glossed over and again, inconsistent as it works in some circumstances but not all. As a result I have to give them a very low score on the behaviour front, simply because the film makers don’t even seem to know how they should behave.

Zombie Threat: ***

With the cause being the pollution from the nuclear power plant, no one or rather nothing is safe, as this pollution even causes dead frogs to reanimate, meaning potentially everything that has lived represents a possible zombie threat. Although before the movie is out we know that the whole school is taken over, potentially the whole town but who knows how far this has spread and with the unpredictable nature of these zombies who knows how to really stop them, as it appears not all of them need their heads.

Gore Content: **

Having a 15 rating, should theoretically limit what they can show, and for the most part this is true with the majority of the violence happening either off screen, in darkly lit areas or hidden by bodies meaning that we don’t get to see everything going on. While this may work for certain movies (TCM for example), I feel for a zombie movie we want the gore! Although not copious we do get some fun moments however, with limbs being torn off and used as weapons, heads and spinal cords whipped out and some good periods in the movie being very action intensive helping to keep the interest and keep some credibility and when it was done, it was done well, which I felt helped a lot. As previously mentioned though, I thought they could have gotten away showing more, but I didn’t feel cheated at the end as they put in just enough gore and action to satisfy me and there are a lot worse movies out there.

Overall Rating: ***

Being rated only a 15, and from the initial premise I was expecting this to be a teen-orientated mainstream attempt to ride the zombie bandwagon currently in motion at this time. While I wasn’t too far off, that is an injustice to this film which was competently made in all departments (from the acting, the actual movie and the Fx) and together made an enjoyable, if filler, zombie flick. Many scenes or ideas did seem adapted from other genre classics (the woman escaping the cemetery ghouls by realising the brake to get a way for example), and so for originality, this film scores very lowly but hey this is a zombie movie after all.  This sense of familiarity didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the movie, one might even wonder if it was in there for zombie nerds like me to notice, so if its on or your looking for a fun, throwaway movie you could do a lot worse (And we all have) than this movie. A textbook attempt at a zombie movie, made with a good budget, and distributed by Sam Raimi’s label.


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