Monday, March 15, 2010

Zombie weekend

I am not a huge fan of zombie movies, though I do occasionally like a few of them, such as that remake of "Dawn of the Dead" that came out several years ago. But recently I read a review of a flick called "Pontypool" in a British movie magazine, and thought it sounded intriguing. So I looked for it on, and found a couple of others that also looked interesting, so I ordered them all. I spent some time this weekend watching all three.

"Pontypool", set almost entirely inside a small radio station in Canada, has some genuinely creepy and scary moments, and a very unique rationale for the spread of the zombie infestation. It gets a little confusing near the end, but for the most part it holds together.

"Outpost" is pretty good, though it could have been much better with some more thought to explaining exactly what was going on. Like "Dead Snow", it deals with Nazi "zombies", although their true nature is never quite clear. But it has some nice atmospheric sets, good acting, and features Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from HBO's "Rome" series) as the lead.

"Dead Snow" was the biggest disappointment. I had been aware of the existence of this movie from various reports on the Internet, mainly from the "Ain't It Cool" website. I'd seen some intriguing stills from it showing some pretty nifty-looking Nazi zombies in a bleak snowy wilderness. Sadly, the movie itself is atrocious. It wastes its nifty setting and concept and settles for a bunch of silly splatter scenes. The characters are bland and forgettable. And you never find out exactly WHY there are Nazi zombies in the snow -- they're just there. (There IS a half-assed attempt to explain it in some awkward exposition from a throwaway character, at one point, but it doesn't really work.)

"Dead Snow" also suffers from one of my pet peeves in these kinds of movies, and that is giving characters special abilities so they will LOOK REALLY COOL!!! in a couple of scenes, but then those characteristics are conveniently forgotten later on when they might interfere with the poorly-thought-out storytelling. In this case, you see in several quick scenes early on that these Nazi zombies are superfast -- they are almost blurs as they zip past the camera. But later on, the young campers who are menaced by the Nazi zombies are able to outrun them. It makes no sense.

Of the three, I'd say that "Pontypool" is the only one really worth the time. -- PL


Brookslyn said...

Oh how I miss "USA Up All Night".

Tristan said...

There's actually a pretty decent movie similar to Outpost (but in my mind better) called "The Bunker". It's low budget and pretty indie, but I think the thought process behind it is much more intriguing. I gave Dead Snow a solid miss!

Kevin "Jester" McGill said...

Yeah, my wife and I watched Dead Snow a couple of weeks back and we were also disappointed. I kinda forced it on her due to it's "Nazi Zombies" story...but it was a total waste.

Isaac Fisher said...

Hey, thats cool that you found Pntypool. That was shot here in Toronto and a good number of my fellow classmates from back in film school worked on that film. I myself have not seen it, but love zombie movies!

Stan said...

I'm not a fan of zombie movies, but have acquired quite a few in my collection. My favorite is still Return of the Living Dead. It has great Bill Stout art direction, and it never takes itself seriously. It also has a great ending.


Ashley said...

I'm like you I do like to watch some of these on occasion but good ones are hard to find. I did run across one that was fairly low budget but was good, it made reference to "maybe we should go to a mall" giving a shot to Dawn of the Dead. I think it was called Apocalypse of the dead or something like that.

CJJ said...


Of the three I have only seen "Dead Snow"-- watched it Sunday night I think. I agree with what you said for the most part, except there was at least one scene in there that disturbed me to the core and nearly caused me to pass out.

PL said...

"CJJ said...

Of the three I have only seen "Dead Snow"-- watched it Sunday night I think. I agree with what you said for the most part, except there was at least one scene in there that disturbed me to the core and nearly caused me to pass out."

Really -- may I ask what that scene was? -- PL

Jim said...

I'm a huge zombie fan and so am a bit biased, but I loved Dead Snow, it has it's tongue firmly in cheek and is in no way taking itself seriously.

Outpost was great, and is a very low budget film. From what I understand the film makers had to re-mortgage their house to fund it, knowing this going into the film made me enjoy it much more. Only bit I didn't like was the CGI animated Nazi propaganda. The styling of it was spot on but obviously nothing that old would have such fluid animation.

Haven't seen Pontypool so I may have to track that down here in the UK.

CJJ said...

Hey Pete--

The scene that nearly caused me to pass out was the one where the zombies are ripping the girl's flesh from her body, and everything is hazy as she moves in and out of consciousness--I think the last time they show her, her lungs are completely uncovered.

I was pretty sheltered as a kid.