Now this is more like it. And by it, I mean it is more like the movies in the $5.00 collection than its ritzy high-falutin’ diskmates in the $7.50 box. A terrible transfer is probably to blame for many of its woes — not as bad as Curtains, but pretty bad. So it is not a sharp image, and the cinematography and poor sound quality are probably related to that issue. The zombie make-up rarely consists of more than a bloody nose.
It is one of the rare films that opens with a ballad and pulls it off. Morgan is wandering the deserted streets of London (because all cities in England are London). His journey is effectively inter-cut with very short bits of TV news footage covering the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse and breakdown of society (and doing it better than Fear the Walking Dead). There is not a single other person seen, and the zombies were also apparently considerate enough to clear the streets of blood, bodies and cars (i.e. they probably filmed at 6 am Sunday morning in the business district).
Our protagonists are Morgan, Johnny and the nerdy Ash who live together in one house. It is not clear how many humans are left as the streets are barren; but the phones work, and Morgan even calls a girl for a date — although he does get a voice-mail, so she’s probably a goner or, in my experience, screening her calls.
They suit up for a trip to the market for chips and beer. And rather than the leisurely stroll we usually see, these guys literally run to the market. Along the way they have a few entertaining run-ins with the undead so this almost comes off as the zombie version of Help!.
This is even more true as they are running through the market in a musical montage with their shopping carts — but it is a sense of fun more than fear that is propelling them. Right through to the nicely-choreographed zooming through 3 un-manned check-out lines, pulling a hard 90 degrees and heading out.
They go on living their bro lifestyles, drinking beer, talking about girls, playing the drums, watching exercise videos of bikini babes. They get bored and, housing being a breather’s market, they decide on a whim to move to a new mansion. Along the way they rescue a hot chick from a church. And by “rescue” I mean they get her father killed, lose a new zombie antidote and blow up the church; but they do end up with the hot babe, Stef, on the team.
Incredibly, they drive all the way to The New Zealand Research Centre — OK, possibly it wasn’t London after all — and pull into the empty parking lot. You’d think there might be survivors there working or at least cars of the dead that worked to save humanity until they dropped dead like in The Stand. But no.
Stef is able to synthesize more of the antidote, and they head for the airport to fly it to anti-zombie island where the real research is done. There is a time-factor, though, that adds suspense to the humor. And actually works.
This was a very enjoyable watch despite the technical shortcomings of this print. Like Hide and Creep, it was was just low-key fun and I can imagine watching it again. The music seems to be stock, not always fitting the scene, but that just added a certain charm whether it was intended or not. The characters were well-defined and likable for a change, and the actors were fun in portraying them.
One of the best of the set.
- The cover says “Shaun of the Dead’s Got Nothing on These Slackers” which is pushing it a little far. But a good print would have made it perfectly respectable.