“A quaint Australian fishing village is overcome by meteorites that turn its residents into the ravenous undead, leaving a small group of those unharmed to find a way out” (IMDB).
Sounds intriguing and basic, right? I really wanted to like this film but in the end, Undead becomes so unbalanced that it loses track of what it really is. A movie that tries to be a mix of Evil Dead, an old school Peter Jackson film, and an episode of The X Files. Written and directed by the same Australian brothers who created Daybreakers (sigh). While Daybreakers was a bigger budget film, it fell into the same traps that this film did in terms of being unbalanced (though slightly less extreme). While Undead provides times of physical humor and decent makeup effects, this gore-fest begins to consume itself in an attempt to be original and please its audience.
The zombies in this film look really, REALLY, good. They come off looking a bit too much like something from the Evil Dead series but it is easy to ignore that because the cosmetics are top notch (Yes! finally got to use the term top notch). The gore is great as well; some is done with noticeable CGI but not overused to make it seem ridiculous. The beginning of the movie starts out really well too, a woman who is losing her farm to the bank and now has to move away. She is struggling with being a sort of hometown-hottie and is getting a chance to escape to the big city. After that brief introduction, the meteors start falling and turning people into zombies (pretty cool take on a zombie outbreak). She is now stuck in the town she hates so much because the roads are conveniently blocked. The meteors falling added for some effective humor. One scene has a meteor fall and hit an old lady as she is walking across a parking lot (old people getting holes blown through them is funny to me); at that point, I thought this film was going to be a new Evil Dead (that was an insane assertion). The physical humor in the action scenes are done really well too, with shovels going into heads and cutting zombies in half so only their legs are running around. These over-the-top violent action scenes are probably the best part to the film, though they get a little repetitive with their homage’s to John Woo films. Let’s see…what else did I like…..oh, the zombie fish scene was entertaining, as they jump at the redneck character of Marion, and he punches them away (reminded me of Mega Piranha, though done years later). It was a scene that that caught me off guard and truly tickled my funny bone. OK, there is really nothing else to talk about here that made the film good. Time to be a dick, readers!
The music in this film is so FUCKING bad, when is it ok to fill a horror/sci-fi film with ridiculous sounding horns that belong in an episode of Looney Tunes? The use of the marching snare when the characters are getting ready to do something daring, how does that get me into the moment? I get annoyed with these uses in horror films, if it’s a cheap film, don’t try to accentuate the parts of the film that there wasn’t enough money for. Low budget is fine but I can’t stand it when they add elements that are just cheesy. Like I stated earlier, the movie had plenty going for it in the beginning, while not perfect, it was looking like a movie I could thoroughly enjoy but then the dialog becomes more and more annoying. The cop characters made my ears cringe, the male cop was supposed to be some sort of comedic relief but all he does is yell at everyone and say “fucking” every other word. It’s just not funny.
The biggest mistake of this film has to be the genre mashing that it decides to do about halfway into the 100 min duration. It turns out that the town has been surrounded by an alien spaceship and they are here to help cure everyone of the zombie outbreak. Fine, that’s fine. The plot just gets to a point where everyone is running around trying to figure out what’s going on and the zombies just seem like a non-threat towards the end. They only get a little bit of screen time for one last action sequence but it seems rather forced and contrived. The alien presence seems to be more of a fixation but you don’t really care because it’s all pointless. The aliens have quarantined the town in order to get rid of the zombification, at first you think they are the ones doing it but then you find out that they use acidic water to cleanse the town and then suspend them in the air until all is well. Are you as lost in this as I am? It sounds ludicrous and it is! The humor that was sort-of good in the beginning, it progressively begins to disappear as time goes by, so the movie is not even funny anymore nor is it a zombie film in the end. It’s an alien film that is missing all the good meaty material.
The films ending goes on for ages as it tries to reach some sort of conclusion, for it seems as though they were going for irony or hope or humor? None of those come through perfectly and the writers try to end everything by introducing zombies again…..WHY? To leave room for a much anticipated sequel? HUH!? Some big twist! The guy who actually got out of the alien quarantine by flying a plane through an electrical storm was still infected! Like the ending to The Crazies but less horrific and even more STUPID!
I hope you realized that this is scatterbrained and unstructured review; I mean, my points were still there but I wanted you to get lost in the words as I got lost in the film. That is how the film works, constantly trying to find ground and an audience. I was not impressed with the movie at all (except the zombies! They looked exceptional) and there are plenty (sort of) of Australian films out there that are worth your time. I hope I don’t come off as arrogant or snobbish, I am really not. I enjoy bad films (Mega Piranha, The Room, Troll 2, etc.) but there is something that separates the watchable bad films from the good ones. To be honest, I am still not too sure as to what those elements are; but understand that I don’t expect high quality in every horror film that I see. Undead tries to be too stylized, too funny, and too esoteric. Maybe that’s the reason for its awfulness, it just tried too fucking hard.