When the world ended and zombies took over the land, the town of Elwood was founded to protect those still among the living, but threats within the town are likely to end its existence before the zombies even get there.
You know what I want to see, a movie about a town founded and run by the undead, and I don’t mean just a hotel like that one movie about a monster run hotel in Transylvania. I think that was called Monster Hotel or some such thing. I didn’t pay too much attention to that flick after seeing my kind relegated to servitude positions only, in a hotel run by a freaking vampire no less. That’s just offensive. No, I want to see a movie all about the many, many zombie run towns scattered throughout the world. Not any of the real towns mind you, don’t need to be giving away the locations of those, but a movie about a town filled with zombies worried about the living who were coming to destroy their little slice of heaven would be a great change of pace. We’ve heard enough about how freaked out you poor little humans are of the zombie race coming to get you, we need to see more about how freaked out we are of you coming to get us. What’s more frightening? That you could be devoured whole by some hungry ghouls or that you could be shot in the head by some living asshat? Actually, yeah, the first one sounds much more frightening. Never mind, carry on.
Our film begins in the town of Elwood where Doc, a former military doctor, ordered a wall built around the entire city when the world fell to the zombie hordes. Doc is the man in charge of Elwood now, deciding the fate of all those that live there along with his small private militia, but Seiler (played by Billy Zane), a former military man himself, runs the Zombie Killers, a unit comprised of orphans and outcasts that patrol the town’s walls and search outside those walls for food and supplies. Things are beginning to break down within Elwood though as Doc seems to be losing his grasp on reality as the power of his position rots his mind, and religious fanatic Lia (played by Sleepaway Camp fan favorite Felissa Rose) has her sights set on converting the entire town to her line of thinking. Both are focused on an unborn baby who carries within it the secrets to the zombie plague, and caught in the middle are the Zombie Killers whose only concern is for the safety and survival of the town. In the midst of this breakdown the Zombie Killers have noticed something disconcerting, not only is food becoming harder to find, leading them to wonder if the animals are being zombified as well, but zombies are coming closer and closer to the walls. Not only is this a cause of some concern, but the town’s water expert is worried about the contamination of Elwood’s water supply due to old fracking operations at a nearby mine. The Zombie Killers are sent out to investigate the mine, and while they’re out both Doc and Lia move to consolidate their positions, but what Seiler and his team discover might be enough to finally destroy the town of Elwood.
One of the words that pops out in the above mentioned paragraph is bound to be the word fracking. Yes, this film makes a ham fisted attempt to shove an environmental message into the story about the dangers of fracking which comes across about as well as an environut screaming “FRACKING IS BAD” in front of a Whole Foods or where ever those eco crazy types like to hang out. It could have been good if it was handled well, but it was clumsily put together and shoved into the movie with all the tact of a drunk redneck explaining why he doesn’t think the confederate flag has anything to do with racism. Seriously, if you’ve ever been in the middle of one of those conversations you know exactly what I mean. If Zombie Killers was a conversation it would go something like this:
“FRACKING IS HORRIBLE AND YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON FOR NOT PROTESTING IT.”
“But why is it so horrible?”
“BECAUSE IT’S HORRIBLE.”
“Okay, but why?”
That’s how the message felt, and it never turned into anything other than a reason behind the zombies’ appearance on Earth which would have been fine if they hadn’t tried to add an environmental message along with it. The undead in Zombie Killers are the result of prehistoric parasites that wiped out the dinosaurs before going back into the ground, only to be released later thanks to our old friend fracking. It kills the host when it infects them, but controls the brain after death in order to spread to more hosts. As far as zombie movies go it’s a fine explanation, if it had been left at that, it would have been okay, but instead we get “If only humanity hadn’t played with fire by fracking.” Of course even if they had put more effort into presenting their message it would have most likely gotten lost in the film’s Dawson’s Creek like teen drama wherein the characters are more concerned about who is sleeping with who than the ever present death of zombie consumption. This teen drama unfortunately spills out into the characters as well.
I can’t think of a single character that wasn’t a watered down stereotype in Zombie Killers, and those stereotypes seem to get divided into two different types, the teen drama stereotype and the horror movie stereotype. For the horror movie stereotypes we’ve got the naïve pretty boy, the crazy religious fanatic, the jaded old timer, and the redneck trying too hard to be a badass, as well as a few others. For the teen stereotypes we’ve got the bad boy from a hard life, the shy young one, the backstabber, the sex pot, the deep thinker, and the smartass. The only thing the two stereotypes seem to have in common is that they are all unnaturally worried about who is getting laid and with whom they are getting laid. I felt like I was watching an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 with zombies added into the mix where the group all take a trip from their rich kids life to rough it in the wilderness. And then there’s Billy Zane, oh Billy Zane. The acting is mostly terrible with the exception of only a few, most notably Felissa Rose, but Billy Zane takes the cake for one of the worst in the film. I’m usually a fan of the guy, but he is not on his game for this one, only making the movie more enjoyable by chewing up the scenery left and right. It was almost a treat to behold it was so bad.
I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. Not only is the story a mess full of unlikable characters, but the effects waffle between half ass zombie makeup and CGI that would make the producers of Birdemic proud. The CGI is downright laughable with the later shown zombified animals looking like a poorly produced anatomy lesson for 3rd graders. You can most definitely do worse, but you can also do a hell of a lot better.
The Undead Review
Directed By: Harrison Smith (Camp Dread)
Starring: Billy Zane (The Phantom, Titanic), Brian Anthony Wilson (6 Degrees of Hell, Law Abiding Citizen, Mischa Barton (Walled In, Homecoming), Dee Wallace (Cujo, Exit Humanity), and Felissa Rose (Satan’s Playground, Sleepaway Camp)
Written By: David Agnew Penn and Harrison Smith (Camp Dread, 6 Degrees of Hell)
Released By: Class of 85 and Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Year: 2015
Release Type: Straight to Video
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Rotten Heads: One and a Half Heads Out of Five