Eaters: Rise of the Dead
Its feeding time…apparently
Eaters: Rise of the Dead is an Italian zombie flick presented by Uwe Boll, although his actual input extends only to promoting and distributing the film, with his headline feature more likely to be an attempt to sale more copies and gain more publicity. Made for an estimated $100k the film looks better than the budget would suggest with the subtle CGI, gore fx and cinematography coming out particularly well and the use of limited character numbers keeps the demands down, and one could even potentially see this loosely as a road movie, suiting the budget and restrictions placed on the filmmakers.
Based on an older short film by Marco Ristori, this fully developed project is set in a world where a man-made zombie virus has seemingly been unleashed by someone known only as the plague spreader has coincided with the elimination of fertility, only a handful of men have survived split into seemingly two small factions, and even if a cure to the zombie virus could be found it is highly likely that the human race will die out.
The film itself follows zombie hunters-come-survivor finders Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Alen (Guglielmo Favilla), as they go out to wrangle some more living undead at the request of the Dr Frankenstein-esque Gyno, doing his best to channel Logan from Day of the Dead impression, as he experiments to solve the virus and restore some normality. On their search, Igor and Alen must pass through neo-Nazi territory, who are led by a midget-Fuehrer as they seek to not only wrangle a few zombies but also decide to investigate the mysterious plague spreader.
As the film spends so long with Igor and Alen, it is imperative that the audience can understand and like them, and thankfully the scriptwriters lend the characters an air of charm and likability, which in the case of Igor grows throughout the film and the acting performances really do justice to the film as you get a true sense of camaraderie between the two who really bring the relationship to life.
Meanwhile the undead in this film are generally a combination of sunken facial features, wrinkly rotting skin and bloody mouths with, as expected, some fantastic feature zombies and bloody make up really making its mark and it has to be said the make up guy deserves credit for his work, I would suggest watching the making-of feature on the extra’s for a true and clearer shot of the brilliance involved as these subtleties can often get lost in fast cuts, CGI and live watching.
In line with many modern films, the zombies in this film are capable of running and later on we discover some are even capable of basic speech and the handling of melee weapons. Thankfully, as more a fan of the Romero-style zombie, this doesn’t detract from the film and the script helps explain these points quite satisfactorily. However, while the script is decent (particularly by zombie film standards) it is also very derivative and as a result at no point does the film ever feel frantic or tense and this is such a shame during the more action based sequences.
My other main criticism of this film is that it does not feel like an Italian film, it has no identity as such aside from the language and it could simply be another European shot low budget American zombie film, thus reducing either its novelty factor to many, or better yet it’s key point of differentiation.
Overall this is a mediocre film, the story is very good on paper and the acting is more than adequate overall however the execution leaves a little to be desired and it’s lack of a defining personality hinders it. Even so, there are enough positives for a zombie film fan to enjoy this film and if found cheap enough it is worth picking up.