I have a bit of an obsession with zombies (or the living dead if you prefer that term). It started many years ago when, as a kid, I happened to catch a little gem of a movie called “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” – it’s real, look it up. It was awful, but the idea of the dead rising stuck with me. Since then, whenever I saw a movie about zombies, I would inevitably have nightmares about being attacked, narrowly escaping or waking just before the bite. As silly as these dreams seem in the light of day, it doesn't change the fact that I would wake in a sweat with my heart pounding. In recent years, I have decided to take this nightmare-inducing subject head on. Face your fears, right?
So I have, with some great results and some dismal results. I have watched “Dead Alive,” “Army of Darkness,” “Night of the Living Dead,” both versions of “Dawn of the Dead” (yeah, I liked the new one, even if zombies shouldn’t be able to run), “Day of the Dead,” “Land of the Dead,” “Shaun of the Dead” (probably my all-time favorite movie), “Resident Evil” and its sequel (maybe not “zombies” per se but still), “28 Days Later” (again, not living dead but the same idea), “Zombie Lake” (a hilariously bad 80s French flick) and most recently “Zombie Planet.”
“Zombie Planet” seemed to have a lot of potential for cheesy living-dead goodness. Unfortunately it was poorly executed. It would have been better if it had been about 75 minutes long rather than its painful 119 minutes.
The premise is awesome – scientists created an enzyme that eliminates cravings for carbohydrates (think extreme Atkins Diet). But something went terribly wrong and the users of this pill started craving red meat to the point they didn’t care where it came from – raw meat, cooked meat, Fifi! Then they die and reanimate and start attacking others, who (as it normally works with zombie films) also die and reanimate, until the whole world is overrun by the living dead. It could have been so cool. The bad acting and the amateurish production quality didn’t bother me as much as the rambling story and the “Beyond Thunderdome” rip off. There is one actor who, at first, seemed fairly natural. He’s not great but he seems to be doing ok until about halfway through. The director must have pulled him aside and said, “Dammit man! We need more acting!”
On the plus side it would be a great movie for a drunken night with friends. I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more with beers and the ’bots.
By the way, plans are in the works to make a movie version of “World War Z." I’m trying not to get my hopes up.