January 30, 2009

A zombie film guide, part 3 (of 4).


Here’s part 3 of the zombie marathon thing. This time, I’ve got a few horror/comedies, a few cult classics, and the famous Resident Evil series. This puts the list at thirty strong now. That’s a hell of a lot of zombie movies. Just one more part of the list left. I’ve got two or three hard to find flicks left to watch, then I’ll finish.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun is probably one of the best comedies I've seen, plus it's about zombies, so it really couldn't get much better than that. At its core, it's basically a parody of zombie films, but it really is so much more. The story is simple: "a man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living." It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, good friends in real life, and they're damned hilarious together (just like in Hot Fuzz). There are so many examples of great lines and witty dialog, some not so obvious. For example, Nick's character and a roommate get into a fight and he tells Shaun that the next time he sees him, "he's dead." And later on, he tries to attack him as a zombie. The whole movie is tight, and any fan of zombie movies should check it out, if you haven't already. Plus, Kate Ashfield is smoking hot, as seen above. "You've got red on you."

Best line: "As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "I" in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team...I don't know what he's talking about."

Fido (2006)

A kid's best friend is actually his family's pet zombie. The whole town has pet zombies in this future world/50's era. Something happened to cause everyone who dies to return from the dead. If you're rich enough, you can have a funeral (complete with a head coffin after it's severed). If not, you come back as a zombie pet controlled by a special collar. It's a horror/comedy, obviously. I kept forgetting to check this one out since I first heard of it back in 2005, and finally remembered a few weeks ago. I'm glad I did too. I never would have imagined stand-up comedian Billy Connolly taking a role without a single line, and yet, he's perfect for the part. Aside from the kid doing a good job too, Carrie-Anne Moss actually provided the best bits of humor in this one. I never pictured her as the comedy type, but she's actually better at this than drama. Go rent this.

Best line: "Bill, just because your father tried to eat you, does that mean we all have to be unhappy...forever?"

[Rec] (2007)

A TV reporter and a cameraman are following the fire department on their night shift. They answer a call from a lady who's trapped in her home, which happens to be an apartment building. When they arrive, it goes to shit. This is actually the film that unoriginal American Hollywood execs decided to remake and release last year, called Quarantine. It's not on my list, because I haven't seen it, nor intend to. Not because it's a remake. Because I heard that almost nothing is different, except gone are those annoying little words that they put at the bottom of the screen that I hate reading because I'm lazy. Nope, just this version, in Spanish. [Rec] was filmed from the cameraman's point of view, ie. Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project, and it's scary as hell. Seriously. It's definitely more of a modern horror than campy or sci-fi crap like Resident Evil. Dark hallways, creepy lighting, it's all there. Don't be a lazy, illiterate douchebag. Rent [Rec] instead of Quarantine. Foreign horror remakes are starting to give Disney a run for it's money on telling someone else's stories.

Best line: "What's your show called?" "While You're Asleep." "While You're Asleep? Then who watches it?"

The Evil Dead (1981)

Five friends take a little trip into the woods to stay at a cabin, and while there, they set loose demons and the undead. The first of Sam Raimi's cult classic trilogy, and just like the other two, it's good, campy fun. This was back in the day, when Raimi wasn't afraid of that R-rating and liked to get his hands a bit dirty. Back in the 80's, this was a good movie because it was cheesy and campy, but now it's just kind of crappy, which is also good, of course. It's still worth checking out, because this is where ass-kicking Ash got his start.

Best line: "I know now that my wife has become host to a Candarian demon. I fear that the only way to stop those possessed by the spirits of the book is through the act of...bodily dismemberment."

Evil Dead II (1987)

It's kind of a sequel, kind of a remake, kind of a retelling. Take your pick. Doesn't matter really. Ash escapes the crazy shit from the first movie, then...takes refuge in a different cabin with other people. No matter how you look at it though, the sequel is leagues greater than the original. The first movie desperately needed some humor. This one has it. Ash is starting to turn into the prick that he is in Army of Darkness. This movie also has a massive amount of blood compared to Evil Dead, though it’s extremely overdone for comic value. That's the reason that these are cult films. It's just not the general public's thing. But it's definitely mine.

Best line: "Hey, what do you say we have some champagne, huh, baby?" "Sure." "After all, I'm a man and you're a woman...at least last time I checked."

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! - Strippers vs. Zombies (2008)

Not to be confused with Zombie Strippers!, though not much different. Same old shit: a failed experiment goes wrong and ends up creating a bunch of zombies. Oh, and trust me, its as amazing as it's two titles. Some strippers, their friends, and others barricade themselves inside a strip club with the undead beating down the doors. There are no stars in this one. And no plot. The action is terrible. The dialog is the verbal equivalent of not wiping after you shit. One of the guys even "parodies" the infamous line from another shitty movie, Snakes on a Plane: "I'm sick of these motherfucking zombies in this motherfucking strip club." I like crappy movies. But I don't like movies that are so terrible that I can't even laugh. I just feel ashamed for downloading it, and watching it, and especially finishing it...

Best line: "Don't say another word, you fucker, or I swear to God I'll blow your pimp ass in half!"

Resident Evil (2002)

A global corporation accidentally releases the infamous "T-virus" in one of it's large underground facilities. Alice, confused and suffering memory loss, goes down into the building with a group of soldiers to kill zombies, or something like that. Resident Evil is based of a series of badass zombie video games, of which have nothing in common with the movies, save a big house at the opening...and zombies. But actually, this is the only Resident Evil that doesn't suck a hard one. It's all action and one liners, but at least it's all good. Milla Jovovich stars as Alice, playing the only role she knows how, which is always hit and miss, but works this time. Also playing a role she was apparently born into is Michelle Rodriguez. The action though, is actually very well done. This is really the only one of the three to see. I just read today that the fourth is announced, and will take place in Alaska. Brilliant. Because there are lots of people to turn into zombies in Alaska...

Best line: "Bitch wouldn't open the door, so I had to fry her."

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Alice is out of the facility, supped-up with some secret serum, and is ready to hand Raccoon City a new one. But Umbrella has plans of their own: an eight-foot tall, bazooka carrying zombie Bigfoot named Nemesis...and he knows kung-fu. In this one, they decided to try pulling more stuff from the games, namely Nemesis (minus the karate) and Jill Valentine, who's hot but can't act. Just like the first one, the action is dead on, but unlike the first one, the dialog blows. Sometimes you'll hear those kinds of lines that make you squint because it was actually painful to watch and hard to imagine someone getting that kind of a job, and getting paid to write it. Anyway, it's a big step down from the first, but I wasn't expecting much. Its proof that a big Hollywood budget won't necessarily make your movie any better than Zombie Strippers! or House of the Dead.

Best line: "GTA, motherfucker! Oh, yeah! Ten points."

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

The survivors of Raccoon City are now traveling across the desert of Nevada hoping to reach Alaska, which makes sense from the standpoint of a story, but not a sequel. In keeping with the tradition, they introduce more characters from the game, who mean nothing, because they're bad actors portraying flat characters, who all like to get out at every stop on the ride just to get themselves killed. I can see the pattern here. The action gets better and better while the plot and dialog and reason for keeping this series going all begin to fade away. While I liked this one slightly better than the last, it's definitely not noteworthy, and the ending in itself is one of the most retarded things I've seen from a big summer blockbuster. And I've seen Independence Day.

Best line: "I knew your sister. She was a homicidal bitch."

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

After the fans of the Resident Evil video games bitched enough, Capcom wised up and gave them a movie based off of the video games. A purely CGI flick starring characters Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, the story takes place some odd years after Resident Evil 4. It begins at an airport, with an outbreak of the T-virus, and the story starts taking some turns along the way. While I would have rather seen a live action version of this, I can't ignore the amazing CGI work done here. It's on par with the best, which is amazing considering it never got a theatrical release. The original voice actors reprise their roles from the games and since they've done this all before, they do a great job. The action is great. The dialog is never moronic. And the story is on par with the games. It really makes me wonder who thinks they know what the general public will like and not like. Maybe the same people that want to make a zombie movie in Alaska, or remake Oldboy, or make a movie about 2012.

Best line: "They aren't fast, we can get by them."

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