Starring: Allen Maldonado, Lauren May Shafer, Jana Thompson, Gavin Grazer with Courtney Gains and Sid Haig.
Written by Douglas Schulze and Joshua Wagner
Directed by Douglas Schulze
Mimesis, the word meaning ‘mimicry’ or ‘imitation’, is the beginning of what the filmmakers hope to be a series of films in which the premise is that a group of ‘thrill seekers’ set out to recreate classic horror films and play them out their way. The first of these films, Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead, comes to DVD and Blu-Ray Feb 10 from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Seven complete strangers, whose only common link is a love for classic era horror films and their attendance at the same horror convention, are invited to attend an exclusive “horror fan” party at a remote farm after convention hours. The group wake the next day, apparently drugged, disoriented and re-clothed in different attire, scattered between a cemetery and a farm house. The group soon realize they have found themselves living a real life version of the cult horror classic, Night of the Living Dead. The strangers were picked because they bear a striking resemblance to the cast members from the Romero classic, and waiting just outside the boarded up farmhouse is a group of demented sociopath’s eager to “mimic” Romero’s flesh eating zombies.
The premise may sound far-fetched, but the execution is above par as the thoughtful script explains and lays out the intricacies of staging the re-enactment very well. The devices used to set up the zombie attacks and realistic manner of the execution of these provide the film with some bite. Not to spoil anything here, but the resolution of the ability to bite through skin and bone is quite ingenious. The Farmhouse setting works well, with many faithful nods to the original “Night of the Living Dead” coming into play with the dead bodies on the second floor and the wardrobe of the people trapped in the house.
The biggest issues here are the opening act at the convention, which does not work at all, and the performances. Maldonado as our lead comes across very unlikeable and annoying. Why this person would be ‘best friends’ with a convention fan when he constantly rallies against everything and everyone involved does not make sense at all, and his performance gets less convincing the further the film goes along. Sid Haig and Courtney Gains, despite being heavily touted on the cover, are in throwaway cameos here, with Haig coming off particularly bad. And Gavin Grazer, yes he is the brother of big name producer Brian Grazer, is perhaps the worst here as the family patriarch Karl. The Blu-ray comes without any special features to supplement the film.
In the grand scheme of things, the clever script does manage to win out over the terrible acting from a chunk of the cast, but just barely. But fans of George Romero should find enough in the homages and script nods to the original film to keep your interest on screen.
Til Next Time
Movie Junkie TO