So, comets hit L.A. and people begin turning into zombies. What? No, I’m serious. This is a movie about comets or meteorites or some such nonsense, hitting L.A. and turning people into… well, I guess compelling them to put zombie masks on, because you can see people’s faces underneath the makeup. In all seriousness, I had no idea what to expect from Disaster L.A.. The cover made it look like just another generic, poorly-done zombie movie, but the fact that it was being released by Warner Bros – albeit a straight-to-video release -, and the fact that I had friends assuring me that this one was different, meant that I would give it a chance. Zombie movies used to be my favorite sub-genre of horror, up until they became popular, and studios started exploiting that popularity to death. Lately, I try and steer clear of all-things-zombie, unless it’s something that really stands out. The Battery, The Dead, The Dead 2, these are “good” examples of zombie films. Yes, it’s still zombies, but the filmmakers involved with those films, cared enough about their art, and cared enough about us would-be viewers, to put some thought into the script, and some effort into the execution. For the record, Disaster L.A. isn’t the worst zombie film I’ve ever seen. Hell, it’s not even the worst zombie-related piece of media that I’ve seen this week. However, it’s so soulless, so by-the-numbers that I can’t imagine anyone getting really excited about it.
THE CITY OF ANGELS HAS GONE TO HELL STAY INDOORS. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO VACATE THE CITY. STAY AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE. When meteors strike Los Angeles, the massive destruction they cause is the least of the city’s worries as its inhabitants begin to fall deathly ill from the resulting smoke. But when the dead begin to reanimate and feed off the living, five friends make a run for the coast before they can be killed by the infected – or worse, by government forces who will fight to contain the situation at any cost – in this nightmarish no-holds-barred thriller.
Another thing that really bothered me was some of the acting. Specifically, Jerod Meagher as Turner. Seriously, what was that supposed to be? I’ve never met another human being that actually acted like that. At least not all of the time. I could understand if that was just his drunk persona, but all throughout the movie, every time he speaks, he exclaims it in a way that would trick a listener into thinking it was something really important and exciting, when in reality, it is not. Not everybody is bad in their roles, but Jerod’s performance as Turner is absolutely one of the most annoying things about the film. I almost turned it off because of it, but I knew I had to review it, so I stuck it out. I had already ignored the fact that Turner is supposed to be John’s (Justin Ray) brother, and they don’t even look like they could possibly be distant cousins. They clearly have different ancestries. At the end of the day, I could have forgiven ALL of this, if they would have just given us an interesting story, one where actually care about the outcome of events. Unfortunately, there’s nothing overly interesting about anything that happens in Disaster L.A..
Warner’s Blu-ray release of the film is – what I imagine to be, anyway – the very best it could have been. The production values are shoddy, so much so that I think that a Blu-ray release of the film was somewhat unnecessary. The artificial “grain” structure means that the clarity of the picture suffers, even in well-lit exterior scenes. Also, perhaps if this were released to DVD-only, some of the sub-par special effects wouldn’t have been quite as noticeable. Any time a zombie is on screen, the only thing I could focus on was the perfectly undamaged face I could see underneath the makeup. I can’t imagine that this film was produced with genre veterans in mind, because for the most part, Disaster L.A. represents everything that has turned us against the zombie film in the first place. Like I said before, this is certainly not the worst zombie film I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen worse things than this very recently, in fact. However, that doesn’t make it “good”. If you’re hard-up for some sort of zombie film that you’ve never seen, and you happen to find this at a reasonable (under 10 bucks) price, then go for it. Just don’t expect a hidden gem, because at most, Disaster L.A. is serviceable.