Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse

mmz1

With Australia in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, three friends decide to wait it out inside of the telecommunications building where they all work, but with the world going to hell, waiting it out might not be an option.

If there’s one place I would imagine is safest among all others during a zombie apocalypse, it’s Australia. Not because of the terrain or anything so obvious, though I’m sure there are plenty of places in such a large country that would make being a zombie difficult, but because of the Australian population’s attitude toward the more aggressive creatures that already live there. Look, I know Australia isn’t the man eating monster its reputation implies, and a lot of the dangers we’ve all heard about have been way overblown, but it’s still got a few real threats that would scare any sane person. There’s the big things that can kill you (crocodiles, great white sharks, pythons, the beautiful avian terror known as a cassowary), the small things that can kill you (some of the world’s most poisonous spiders, snakes and jellyfish, as well as a freaking snail that can kill you even if you have gloves on), dingoes because everyone knows at this point that dingoes eat babies, and if the documentary Wolf Creek is to be believed, insane serial killers that will torture you for the fun of it. What do the people of Australia do when confronted with such a laundry list of horrors? Kind of shrug, maybe acknowledge that these things are somewhat dangerous, and then laugh it off. They have a spider that will chase you, sure, it’s chasing your shadow, but it’s still chasing you. They have giant huntsman spiders that aren’t dangerous but still have the terrifying ability to wrap their disgustingly long legs around a good chunk of your face. They have the duck billed platypus. Enough said right there, but still, they shrug it all off and go about their day like it’s no big deal. You want to try and eat a people like that?

Our film begins with the zombie apocalypse already in progress and telecommunications employee Darryl (Alex Williamson) getting everything he can into a small pack before heading out on the only vehicle available to him, a riding lawnmower. His destination is the office he shares with friends Joel (Jim Jefferies) and Roy (Greg Fleet), both of whom have agreed to meet up with Darryl so the three can hole up and wait for the military to sort it all out. Joel is already there awaiting the other two, and Roy is coming along later as he needs to find his daughter and look for more supplies, something which won’t be easy considering the stores and supermarkets have become combat zones for the living. Eventually Roy and his daughter Emma are able to get together supplies, supplies somewhat better than the random assortment of junk Darryl packed, although Darryl did at least manage to bring a shotgun, and make their way to the office, but with little in the way of food and water, the military is going to have to clean the apocalypse up quick if our six survivors hope to do what the title “survivor” implies. Did I say six when I’ve only mentioned four? That must because I’m still trying to forget the last two people who join the hidey-hole after Roy and Emma, Emma’s clueless boyfriend Lachlan and Lachlan’s best friend Ryan, a character who made me want to destroy my television every time he opened his mouth.

mmz2

{If the movie had just been these three, we’d be having a much different conversation. From left to right, Roy, Darryl, and Joel}

Have you ever been to an awesome party, one where everyone was laughing and having a good time, where the food was great and the setup was amazing, but instead of being able to enjoy the whole thing you have to leave a few hours early because a couple of loudmouth jackasses that think they’re funny came in late and ruined the whole thing? If you have then you’ve already experienced watching Me and My Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse, a film with so many good things that worked well but one ultimately spoiled by one of the more unlikable characters I’ve come across in a while. The gore is both gorgeous and gruesome, the three leads (Jim Jefferies, Alex Williamson, and Greg Fleet) do a good job, and the humor isn’t bad even if the jokes start to feel repetitive after a while, but the character of Ryan (Matt Popp), and to a lesser extent Lachlan (Andy Trieu), completely destroyed any sense of enjoyment for me. Ryan spends most of his screen time trying, and failing, to be witty, nearly every sentence that comes out of his mouth an attempt at being clever, and he never stops. It’s a constant barrage of the types of things teenagers say when they think they’re being smart or funny, so Ryan is less the edgy {25-year-old} teenager they were hoping for and more the annoying little jackass that everyone tries to ignore because explaining to them why they aren’t funny isn’t worth it when they’re buried so deep into their own ego. The especially sad bit is that there is a very funny character in this film that could have potentially been a hilarious addition but ends up completely overshadowed by Ryan’s poor attempts at being funny. Alex Williamson did a great job with the character of Darryl, making him a humorous, if not perpetually lost, individual that had some of the best comedy in the movie, even if much of it was stoner comedy, but the laughter is stifled by having to deal with Ryan. Considering how well done most everything else is, I’m tempted to blame actor Matt Popp for the snafu, but I don’t think it’s Popp’s fault that the character was stuffed to the gills with horrible quips, given far too much ego with no reason for having such, and told to act like the high school version of a late night television host. Lachlan isn’t as bad, but he suffers from two problems, a constant pissing match between him and Roy since he’s going out with Roy’s daughter Emma and being Ryan’s best friend as this means seeing Lachlan is always bound to bring the annoying teenager around.

mmz4

{If only the movie could have focused on these two instead}

It’s really a shame because before Ryan came into play, I very much enjoyed the banter between Joel (Jefferies), Darryl (Williamson), and Roy(Fleet). Williamson I already mentioned, Jefferies isn’t in it a whole lot after about twenty-five minutes, but his brand of cynical humor was definitely on display for fans of the talented comedian, and Fleet was excellent at being overprotective towards his daughter without just being an asshole. In fact, Fleet was both my favorite character and had my favorite line. I have no idea if “I’ll Nick Cave your head in” is a thing people say, but if it isn’t, it should be. The three had a great chemistry together, and while I do think the comedy between them would have worn thin as the movie progressed even without Ryan, I believe that chemistry would have shown through nonetheless to help balance out some of the more repetitive and predictable jokes. Even the regular conversations they have are enjoyable, but it’s all ruined by one terrible, terrible character. I even think Lachlan would have been more enjoyable had Ryan been cut from the film as the tension he brings had some humorous elements due to Darryl having a thing for Lachlan’s girlfriend Emma. Coupled with the absolutely amazing FX work, Me and My Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse should have been a very enjoyable zombie flick. The gore in this movie looks amazing, and there is lots of it, all done with practical effects. People are dismembered, disemboweled, and generally ripped apart, and it all looks amazing. There are some very gory scenes involving people being completely mutilated, and I didn’t see anything that didn’t look great. Even the zombie makeup is done well with the zombies looking torn up, diseased, and decaying.

mmz3

{This is the same face I made every time Ryan showed up onscreen}

I know it seems silly to knock an entire movie simply because of one character, but my ability to enjoy Me and My Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse was utterly destroyed because of this one character. I’ve seen a lot of unlikable characters, some because they were supposed to be unlikable and others because they were either poorly written or played by talentless actors, but few have been this bad. There’s maybe a handful of films where a single person has made a movie nearly unwatchable for me, and this is one of them. There are a few problems that have nothing to do with Ryan like a few too many quips and the slightly confusing zombies. I don’t think a creature that can figure out how to use keycards and get past electrified doors using logic could be considered as stupid as the characters seem to make them out to be nor do I see the point in only being able to kill them by shooting them in the head if we’re told they aren’t undead, but those are nothing compared to the one character I couldn’t get past.

mmz5

Here’s the thing, I’m not going to tell you not to watch this one like I might other films that I disliked this much for the sole reason that if you can get past such an annoying person being a part of the film, there is a very good zombie movie underneath. Despite the difficulties I had watching Me and My Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse, I’m actually excited to see what writer/director Declan Shrubb does next. I’m just hoping Ryan isn’t in whatever it is.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Declan Shrubb

Starring: Jim Jefferies (Killing Hasselhoff, Legit), Adele Vuko, Alex Williamson, Greg Fleet (The Day of the Broken, The Death of a Friend), Andy Trieu (Kitchen Whiz, The Swordsman), and Matt Popp

Written By: Declan Shrubb

Released By: Sanguineti Media, ScreenACT, Silversun Pictures, and Solar Pictures

Release Year: 2015

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
Image | This entry was posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s