I watched a movie on the SyFy Channel yesterday titled Zombie Apocalypse. I feel like I need to justify this. I caught the flu and was feeling miserable and wanted something on television that didn’t require too much cerebral effort while I laid on the sofa like a sick puppy. So I turned on the SyFy Channel and was treated to a marathon of zombie movies.
Though a lifelong science fiction fan and admitted trekkie, I am not a connoisseur of zombie movies, or even of horror movies in general. I can’t pretend to be an expert giving a review. I can only give you my impressions of the movie as viewed from my feverish stupor.
This movie has the feel of something that would be produced by a high school student production. It’s what you’d expect if the English class wrote the script (and not even the honors English class) and the extras were made up of fellow classmates and the family and friends of the production crew; if the make-up was done by the cosmetology students from the community college; if somebody who is good with a Mac did the special effects; if they borrowed a lot of the props and probably built a few in the machine shop, and filmed the scenes in deserted backlots in Toronto. Somehow, they talked a Hollywood B-lister, Ving Rhames, into starring. The production budget was raised from a PTA bake sale.
The story follows a group of survivors across the country, trying to make it to the island of Catalina off the coast of California. Along the way, they kill a lot of zombies, some of them get turned into zombies, and some of them just get eaten. Oddly, they keep killing the same zombies, though I suspect this had more to do with a lack of extras than the re-spawning abilities of the undead. They do eventually encounter some kewl zombie zoo animals.
The acting isn’t horrible. It’s what you’d expect from a community theatre. There is some dialogue designed to get you interested in the characters, but it was written by somebody with the emotional repertoire of a teenager. The gory fight scenes, which follow one right after the other, fill in where a more expensive movie would have drama.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie. I was entertained, though sometimes not in the way the film makers wanted me to be.
So why am I talking about a zombie movie?
There were archers!! Well, sort of.
Some of the survivors were the school archery team of some university (I didn’t catch the name) and their coach. And, on the screen, their arrows went exactly where they were supposed to.
Allow me to clear my throat here.
I know that the budget was near zero. But is it too much to ask that they find a real archer who could give the actors a half-hour lesson on how to shoot? Or lacking that, isn’t there some professional responsibility on the part of the actors to say, “Hey, if I’m going to shoot a bow on screen, I’d better look like I know what I’m doing.”
It was painful to watch these actors playing competitive college archers, demonstrate that they hadn’t held a bow in their lives until five minutes before filming started.
The scenes which show them loosing arrows are almost comedic. I tried to find online photos of these scenes, but the produces wisely kept them off the internet. Ironically, there was a bit of dialogue where one survivor asks the other, “Why bows?”
“Because all the ammunition was already taken. The sports stores still had archery equipment.”
“That’s because almost nobody knows how to shoot a bow!”
Zombie Apocalypse was followed by Resident Evil: Apocalypse (see the connection here?) which I could stomach until the scene where, knowing that the dead once again walked the earth, they decide to take a short cut through the graveyard.
I don’t believe I’ll ever develop a taste for zombie movies.