More ambitious than The Nurse, but not a success.
Awaken the Dead gets off to a good start with an interesting visual under the credits. The camera races through a metropolitan area which has been flooded. The cityscape is in black & white, and is animated or maybe rotoscoped. This gives way to a few live color shots of an unflooded urban area. This is the last we see of the flooding. It is also the last decent cinematography we will see for a while. For the next 90 minutes, the screen will be very grainy and frequently washed-out to the point of being monochrome.
The “action” begins with a priest lying in bad with his arms out, crucifixion-style. Just in case we don’t get it, he has a huge black cross tattooed on his back, and his name his Christopher Gideon. In another part of the city, Mary Payne wakes up topless, but lying on her stomach, so she may as well be a nun. Gideon has received a letter directing him to Mary’s house, where most of the movie will take place, to meet Mary’s father.
The film again taunts us by threatening to become good with the introduction of two Japanese schoolgirls. They look up at a jet as if they had never seen one before and begin rubbing their eyes. A few minutes later, after they are zombified, they disembowel a guy. I’m still on board
Gideon and Mary see out their windows that the world has been overrun by zombies, or at least their street. Soon they are joined by a Jehovah’s Witness and a survivalist couple.
After the survivalist couple zombies-out, the priest goes outside guns-a-blazing. I hesitate to include this pic lest it make this movie look good.
After this fight, Gideon is sporting an eye-patch, and looks a lot like the Governor from The Walking Dead. The three remaining humans find a letter telling them to meet Mary’s father at an old church.
Mary’s father explains that this is a government operation testing a new weapon. Buildings stay intact, no soldiers die, zombies kill everyone. Shockingly, the government does not consider this a success, and kills him. The same jets do another flyover, releasing a chemical which kills the zombies.
No cities were flooded in the making of this movie.
- Cinematography: Just dreadful. I don’t even think it was incompetence or budget restraints; it was just terrible choices.
- Acting: Mostly terrible.
- Dialogue: Terrible, repetitive.
- Make-Up: Really looked more like Insane Clown Posse than zombies.
- Story: Adequate. You don’t really need much for a good zombie movie.
- Sound: Not well-recorded. Sound does not get enough respect — in this, and many low-budget movies, expectations are lowered upon hearing the first word of dialogue.
I rate it a 4.
- This was clearly a low-budget movie, yet it has a cast of 122 in IMDb. Sure, 97 are list as “Zombie”, but you still have to feed them lunch.
- There is a nice Dolly Zoom early on, but it just serves to show how dreary the direction is otherwise.
- A 10% trim off the 1:41 running time would have helped. Or a 90% trim might have left a pretty good short.
- Also available on YouTube, but why would ya?