Rise of the Zombies
Rise of the Zombies
Director: Nick Lyon
Brought to us by the company behind such great TV movies as Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus and Nazi’s At the Centre of the Earth, production company The Asylum Productions have fast become synonymous with B-movie, low budget cash-in trash and enjoy a dubious quality level.
Which is why I initially had low expectations for this movie, but it had Danny Trejo on the cover and was rated an 18 so I thought lets pick it up and give it a whirl and I am glad that I did.
Competently directed by Nick Lyon (also known for the underrated Zombie Apocalypse starring Ving Rhames), the film shows an overrun San Francisco, where over run and under pressure survivors have holed up on Alcatraz island. But when the dead keep washing up, in scenes vaguely reminiscent of Shock Waves, they must leave their prison home and go in search of the fabled and clichéd evacuation zone, all the while searching for a cure from a local scientist.
The film doesn’t waste any time in getting started, within 20 seconds of the title scene we are treated to one woman being torn in half and an unfortunate guy having his head graphically smashed in with a hammer and within 3 minutes all
but one of our heroic group are dead leaving just one pregnant survivor waddling away from a feasting zombie horde.
Surprisingly the gore isn’t the only thing this film has going for it, the zombies look fantastic and the non-CGI FX is expertly pulled off, belying the modest budget and when combined with the quality of the cast including Trejo, Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl, American History X) and French Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun, Stargate) this raises the film far above any expected standard.
Regarding the actual quality of the film itself, it is oddly derivative yet well thought out, full of action but implements strong moments of human emotion and interaction meaning that this is a perplexing movie, taking strong influence from Dawn of the Dead and, especially in relation to building an emotional element, The Walking Dead TV series with some scenes almost ripped off from it, but it works.
These derivative scenes, rather than detracting are pulled though due to the script having some serious thought behind it, with the scriptwriters taking the rare opportunity to not only provide an explanation for the reason behind the pandemic but also to almost give it a credible, perhaps plausible back-story.
However, this is still an Asylum Production and you are never too far away from some dodgy CGI or genuine WTF moments and as such it is best enjoyed with an alcoholic beverage….but you will enjoy it and considering the dearth of high-quality low budget zombie flicks out there at the moment this is a definite one to watch.
And remember….nothing can survive in the cold icy water around Alcatraz….nothing but zombies!