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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Horror DVD Of The Week: Zoombies (2016)


While it's doubtful this will spawn a franchise like Sharknado (that's a special kind of lightning you can't catch in a bottle twice), The Asylum's latest offering - Zoombies - had the potential, on paper, to be another cult classic.

The Eden Wildlife Park is about reopen after a major upgrade, to turn it into a family-friendly visitor attraction, when several capuchin monkeys are brought to the veterinary unit, exhibiting signs of an unknown virus.

Attempts to find out what's wrong with one of them results in its death and then immediate return to life as a zombie-monkey, which promptly kills the vets and infects its kin.

The monkeys escape, and soon all the animals in the zoo are turning into vicious undead monsters, as the few staff on duty - and a coachload of new interns - struggle to prevent the infection from spreading outside the park.

I appreciated the fact that there's no hanging around with Zoombies. It opens with a television advert for the park, and then the infected monkey shows up and all hell breaks loose. And all that's even before the opening credits.

The film is part Zoo (the TV series where the animals of world turn on mankind), with a dash of Jurassic Park, all mixed in with horror movie-standard zombies (even though, for a change, these can't spread their zombie infection to humans).

Unfortunately as the virus spreads and more, and larger, animals become infected, the story becomes increasing preposterous and ill thought out, the acting takes a hit, and the special effects deteriorate (particularly memorable examples being the fuzzy-edged CGI elephants and the least convincing zip line experience in cinema history).

Elements that would be seen as foreshadowing in a regular film - such as the bond zoo owner Dr. Ellen Rogers' (Kim Nielsen) young daughter, Thea (La La Nestor) has with the gorilla Kifo (played by Ivan Djurovic in a great ape suit), or lead character Lizzy's (Ione Butler) backstory about why she got into working as a security guard - turned out to have no bearing on the plot of Zoombies.

For the first half-hour or so, I had high hopes. This movie was never going to win any awards, but the core idea was intriguing, the set-up was good, and even the majority of zombie creatures were pretty decent (and I didn't even mind that Kifo was obviously a bloke in a furry suit).

Sadly, as the film progressed, I kind of got the impression that all the effort had gone into front-loading the story and no one had really thought out a convincing ending.

There are moments when Zoombies hits that "so bad it's good" sweet spot, but disappointingly not as many as I was hoping for from the previews.

2 comments:

  1. Damn. Any news on Zombeavers' Zombees?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No news. I suspect it's not high on the writer/director's priority list ;)

      Delete

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