(Psst: This promo image is the best part of the movie.)Syfy's Zombie Night opens with a family in a car driving by a bad traffic accident scene. Dad (Hall) is telling his kids to not look.
The girl in the car, Tracy, gets a call from her boyfriend, telling her they need to turn around and get back to his house because his dad is locking everyone in the safe room.
Dad cuts out of traffic, cutting throug a cemetary of all things, when he hits someone in the cemetary. But of course, it's not a person.
Then more bodies start to crawl out of the ground.
We watch a news broadcast talking about the dead waking up. We pan to a cop car, where all officers are being recalled to the station in an urgent call for help.
At the station, the cop who made the radio call hears a sound come from a morgue drawers (or something like that) and the dumbass opens it.
Back at the cemetary, rather than go hide in the car, our intellectually beleaguered family goes and hides in some small storage shed.
While the daughter's friend ran and has climbed a tree to get away from our hungry dead. Then in a another brilliant (not!) move, she leaves her safe perch and runs... into an open grave. Gobble, gobble, and I don't mean turkey.
Meanwhile back at the houses of our troubled families, they're having their own problems. The police station is still having issues.
In the house they hear a big noise from upstairs... but they decide that even though they're all downstairs, that it's OK. It's nothing. All too classic.
Yep, loud thumpings from our upstairs are usually always nothing. I tend to turn the TV up louder when I have strange sounds in the house.
OMG, during a news broadcast, the family's Romanian (or whatever) baby sitter (or whatever) starts sputtering out some witchy stuff about how the dead will rise. WTF?
A cop gets into a shuffle for his gun and shoots a child, who gets right up, undead dead.
And the disaster (of a TV movie) goes from there.
If you thought that was bad, that was only the first 30 minutes.
Zombie Night had an opening splash screen saying this is an Asylum Production (yes, that Asylum that does mostly knock off productions) and I'm trying to figure out which if any one movie they're trying to rip off, or if they just ripped off several movies at once. IMDb says it's produced by Indy Entertainment. Meh, it didn't matter who made this.
The movie stars Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill), Anthony Michael Hall (Dead in Tombstone, The Dark Knight, 'Awkward'), Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Speed, Twister), Shirley Jones (Grandma's Boy), Jennifer Taylor (Two and a Half Men), Rachel G. Fox (Desperate Housewives) and other desperate acting hopefuls and fading past stars.
Oh, and lots of quickly done up zombie walkers.
As you can see this movie from director John Gulager hit on as many popular nods to the zombie genre as you could possibly fit into the first 20 to 30 minutes. And they didn't do it well.
To see Daryl Hannah, Anthony Michael Hall and Alan Ruck relegated to what I amount to 'probably losing a bet' to be in this movie is pretty disheartening.
There's talent on screen and they're reduced to zombie acting. No, not acting like zombies... but rote, horrible direction in how they acted.
And then there's Shirley Jones, where almost every single scene she was in in that first 30 minutes was horribly funny. Or horrible or funny. She kept acting as if she was having a paranoid panic act, thrashing around and crying out constantly.
In this movie, Shirley Jones let herself be reduced to an annoying footnote in the world of acting.
Additionally, I normally try to dive into the characterization of a movie. When I watch an apocalyptic movie, I try to feel the horror of the situation.
With that said, I found myself laughing out loud in several moments of the film. That's not like me, but I couldn't help it.
Overall, we're not given enough story about any one character, the mystery zombie plague is not explained (Or was it when I was screaming in emotional pain and missed it?), and some of the living cast needed better fitting costumes. (Cop uniforms should not be baggy, loose fitting, 3 size too large outfits. Just sayin')
If you see Zombie Night on the schedule, and you insist on checking it out, get a six-pack and lots of hot wings. At least that way, you'll be enjoying something during this grueling test of your crap filter. (I had a co-viewer in the room crying out, "Oh my god, really? We're actually watching this???")
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