Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Apocalypse of the Dead

Director: Milan Konjevic & Milan Todorovic
Screenplay: Vukota Brajovic, Milan Konjevic & Milan Todorovic
Producers: Milan Todorovic, Vukota Brajovic, Loris Curci, Zeljko Mitrovic
Starring: Ken Foree, Kristina Klebe, Emilio Roso, Miodrag Krstovic, Vukota Brajovic
Year: 2009
Country: Serbia/Italy/Spain
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 96 min

Apocalypse of the Dead (AKA Zone of the Dead) is a low budget Serbian zombie B-movie due a UK DVD release in March. Featuring a lead performance by Ken Foree, star of Dawn of the Dead and featuring a plot combining Night of the Living Dead with Assault on Precinct 13, Apocalypse of the Dead is clearly made by fans of the horror and exploitation genres. So the question is can these first time directors channel their fan-love into something close to it's influences?

Well the short answer is no. Apocalypse of the Dead shuffles (and runs) down a well-trodden path of zombie-movie clichés. The premise is that an experimental gas which can bring dead cells back to life is being transported across Serbia. Things go wrong of course and the gas container is accidentally blown open unleashing a zombie plague across the city of Pancevo. Our protagonists are chiefly a group of Interpol agents transporting a dangerous prisoner to Belgrade who end up having to work together to fight off the hordes of the undead surrounding them. Along the way they meet some teenagers coming home from a wild party, an old English professor and a psychotic bible-quoting skinhead with a never-ending arsenal of weaponry at his disposal.


That last sentence probably perked the interest of action and horror fans, but unfortunately the skinhead is criminally underused, only really pulling out all the stops at the end of the film. Plus, although he provides the film's most fun moments, he's also one of the weakest actors, struggling to deliver his pretentious dialogue with any conviction. The performances in general are a real sore point in this film. Now I usually don't care too much about the acting in zombie movies, but here it's really quite painful. The main cast members aren't the worst I've seen, they fit in with the B-movie vibe (Foree has some nice moments), but most of the supporting cast are Serbian actors forced to speak English all the time (even to each other), probably in an effort to make the film more appealing to an international audience. It means that anyone not in a starring role is either badly dubbed or stumbles through a language that is clearly not their mother tongue. Why they didn't just subtitle all of the Serbians and keep the main cast members speaking English I'll never know - their characters are supposed to be from the US anyway.


As I said though I can usually forgive cheesy performances in a film of this type, but unfortunately it didn't deliver in the departments that matter either. For me a genre movie succeeds if it either does something original with it's concept, goes way over the top in the exploitation stakes, or simply does what that genre does best (i.e. scares or excites). Apocalypse of the Dead never really does any of these. The filmmakers do nothing original at all, apart from maybe set it in Serbia. Every zombie cliché you can think of is included, from the group member being bitten early on who will need to be killed at some point (I'll let you guess when) to the old character asking to be left behind to die. As for going over the top and doing what a horror film does best, this is where the film disappointed me most. The film starts very poorly, largely because it relies heavily on the terrible supporting cast, but also because it takes a while for any serious zombie carnage to kick in. The only really impressive and exciting scene comes at the film's finale when the survivors have to fight through a vast wave of the living dead armed with a variety of guns and a samurai sword. This scene is great fun, but was too little too late for me. There are one or two moments in the middle which are entertaining enough too, such as a decapitation by harpoon, but generally it's just a queue of cheaply reproduced scenes that we've seen many times before.



I generally like to give all types of films a chance, especially horror and action movies because I'm a fan of the genres. Apocalypse of the Dead however just felt a bit lazy. The potential was there for a fun 'beer and buddies' movie, but it's overuse of actors working away from their native tongue and far too many clichés just left me wanting to revisit better films. Those who are big zombie fans and don't want anything extra added will get a few kicks from this, but I'd prefer to whack Evil Dead on again.

3/10

30 comments:

  1. This movie is good. The review is not.

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  2. Movie is shit. Review is OK.

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  3. I liked it for what it is. Entertainment.

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  4. Don't get me wrong, I love a good trashy zombie movie usually, but this just didn't entertain me enough. I found it a little dull until the end when it finally kicks off. By then it was a little too late for me though. I was maybe a little harsh giving it 3/10, but I thought it could have been a lot better.

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  5. No this movie is a solid 3, the supporting actors were truely terrible. The movie is certainly worth a look but id suggest feel free to fast forward when you suspect theres going to be some flat inane pointless cliched dialogue between the supporting crew

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  6. Your Movie Is Fucking Shit And A Fucking Waste Of Money Get Life You Stupid Wankers

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  7. Pathetic excuse of a movie, the guns never need to be reloaded haha please. What a disgrace followed by totally shit actors, i hope they don't want to be professional, and as a bonus to this worthless movie the speach is unsynced -.- SORT YOURSELF OUT. Title 2 Chapter 11 )1:28:55 "well i have two empty guns" & "What a shame i'm out of ammo" 01:30:00 Same actress shoots a zombie which sounds like a fucking lion WTF ???.

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  8. No this movie is a solid 5.

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  9. What a "bleeding" shame. Ken Foree (one of my heroes) acts like he's on Prozac, that'l explain the tablets, and drags himself lazily thru the film. Acting abysmal, story week but somehow keeps you intrigued enuf to stick with it. Yeah its gets better towards the end (not difficult) but Im sure Kens legs would have been chewed off in the time it took him to get out of the railway carriage window. Maybe he stopped for a meal, or to read a script, audition for and star in a better film. I did enjoy spotting the references to "Dawn" they were funny. Yeah I'd watch it again, just out of respect for Ken and cos its not "Diary of the Dead"

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  10. not much good, but ok

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  11. This is by far one of the worst movies i have ever seen. theres a scene where the survivors claim to be out of ammo. then 5 seconds later they are shooting zombies again. but thats just a small part which bothers me. the whole movie uses nothing origonal, the audio is terrible, the acting is less convincing than the zombie groans which sound like dinosaurs. i wouldnt even give this film one star, there was clearly no effort to make this film make any sence what so ever. i know this film is low budget so i couldnt have expected a great film but ive seen plenty of low budget films that produce some pretty impressive material. i love zombie films i really dont see how anyone can say this film is worthy of being in the bargain bin at your local petrol station. at most its probably worth downloading for a laugh.

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  12. haha

    "theres a scene where the survivors claim to be out of ammo. then 5 seconds later they are shooting zombies again."

    i know exactly what your talking about! i have 3 bullets then shoots off a whole magazine! lol

    some of it just didnt make sense, like when they baricade the door, then the girl tries t get out then Erotic Smile guy decides to run, and jump, and shoot! even though the zombies aren't even in t room! lol, 1/10, 1 for zombies lol

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  13. oh yeah how could i have forgotten that bit XD, what a lame excuse to use a slow motion shoot'n'dive like normally when that happens you expect somthing major to happen like he shoots an gas pipe and whipes them all out but he manages to kill one or two. youd expect more from a guy who looks like hes fresh from the set of a hugo boss photoshoot. oh and another bit that makes litterally no sence which quite alot of zombie films are guilty of is the time difference when people go from normal to zombie from a bite. if you recal when the nun was bitten she was fine then an instant later, screaming mini t-rex. but when it comes to the cliche cop partner he takes half of the film to change. in the end your just thinking hurry and die! please all of you! especially the hugo boss erotic smiley guy.

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  14. haha spot on! i need to stop buying movies by just looking at the cover! if u look at the cover of this film, it shows you THOUSANDS OF ZOMBIES, BURNING BRIDGES, HELICOPTER CRASHING, BURNING BUILDINGS....none of these things were in the movie! haha, and the retard cunt didnt have a tattoo on his head, and i dont think i saw him with 2 machettes either! lol

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  15. Craig (the guy before last)8 April 2010 at 07:00

    haha indeed andy. it seems they spent more time/money on the front cover than anything else. people on here who have said this movie is good or a 'solid 5' the only thing solid about this whole movie was the brick wall which you ended up smashing your head into trying to end the torment of waiting for anything interesting to happen. Dave you were not in the slightest bit harsh you were rather generous.

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  16. this movie was ok to me it was really interesting having another horror movie with some familiar actors in ti which i give them a 2 thumbs up


    tweett

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  17. 2 thumbs down! lol, its gettin a 1/10 as i said! i need t watch a decent zombie movie :(

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  18. Didnt like it...normally i love zombie movies, but this one wasn't so good. Most of the actors were amateurs, sound and music was poor imitation of zombie movies from 80s... Overall: good idea-poor execution!

    Ivan

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  19. i have to say that religious frick who killed all zombies is the worst actor I have ever seen on the screen! Most of other actor were pretty bad too. Not to mention the music, spec effects, and dialogs... Horrible waste of money!

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  20. First of all, the Serbian actors who struggled with English was, I think, a very strong point of the movie. Americans may not know this, but not everyone in the world speaks English. Even foreign ambassadors sent to the US speak mostly in broken English. The actors' and actresses' struggling with English really gave this movie a realistic feel to it.

    The plot was actually pretty darn good for a movie with limited budget. The script could be written a little better, but then again it was fine considering the budget they had to work with.

    The religious freak's lines were annoying at times, but who knows may be that's what religious freaks really sound like.

    My only beef with this movie is they should have hired someone with some experience with law enforcement and firearm handling. Throughout the movie, I kept screaming in my head "that's not how you hold a gun, you idiots!"

    These were suppose to be interpol agents, damn it! The first sign of trouble and they froze? Especially that female interpol agent... she froze pretty much throughout the movie. I'm a former cop and had been in a fire fight before I went for a career change. I find it hard to believe that an interpol agent could freeze that easily. I saw my partner shot dead right in front of me and I didn't freeze. Every cop knows that you can always dwell on your emotion later after the fact. Dwelling on your emotion at the critical moment will only get you killed. You'd expect an interpol agent to at least be as conscious as I was, if not more.

    So, in conclusion, this movie could have been much better if they didn't rely so much on character stupidity to forward the story. Just because people are caught in a zombie apocalypse situation doesn't mean all their common sense go out the window. Movie producers need to understand this very simple fact.

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  21. I wasn't trying to say that Serbians speaking in broken English wasn't accurate, what bothered me was that there are many scenes where Serbians are speaking to eachother in English, which makes no sense! Also, it's not about the quality of the English, it's the quality of the acting. It's much harder to act in a non-native tongue and when you have 80% of the cast doing this it seriously affects the quality of the performances in the film. I just felt that the filmmakers should have had the courage to use subtitles from time to time or go all out and not have any Americans in it at all and make it a Serbian film in the Serbian language. This of course would be a riskier option, but it would have made a better film in my opinion.

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  22. Just made the mistake of ordering this film through movies on demand...

    The film needs to be its original tongue with subs it really suffers from dubbed american voiceovers and very poor flat lighting combined with a frame rate that is much to high for a 'movie' it seemed too smooth and raw without any kind of style to be enjoyable as a film.

    poor technical effort... this one is a stain of Ken Foree's career

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  23. this movie looks like dawn of the dead, and if this is the case men is a total fake, dawn of the dead was a crap movie, with no sense of the of the basic rules about zombies histories.

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  24. Funny how their clips multiply at some points without showing us they found more ammo. O-M-G THE BULLETS ARE MAKING BABIEEEEES O.o

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  25. Absolutely TERRIBLE movie. Storyline, terrible. Actors/actresses, terrible. Directing, terrible. Only good thing this movie had going for it was the special effect make-up. And what was with the zombies roaring like dinosaurs?! Original idea having them do that, but absolutely ridiculous. Don't waste your time. I wasted mine, AND $5 ordering the movie....can I get my money back?

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  26. Ok, for all of you who actually believed she was "out of ammo" when she told the convict that, SHE WASNT! Yes, she soon after shot a zombie! That was showing you that she was lying to the convict to let him go! Morons! I knew she wasn't out of ammo when she said it! That is why she shot the damn zombie, to show you that she really wasn't! One little clever move in the whole movie and you didn't even get it. The movie was ok for what it was, a zombie movie!

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  27. tesco sell this on dvd for 3 pounds and its a good value for money film and is quite interesting for example

    theres a scene where all the dead are lying down recharging from the sun getting heat i thought this was very interesting idea.

    if you like zombie films then this film is good for you just ignore the reviews above they act like they expect brad pitt and julia roberts in a budget movie.

    well worth a watch and is better than zombie flesh eaters and all those italian zombie films so if you liked them then this is fine

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  28. i have to say... really bad acting skills and the english language!... what up with that!? its like watching a caratee chinese movie translated to english!

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