Listen up, Horrorview readers: If you don’t dig blood, this movie is NOT for you. Eric Forsberg (Snakes on a Plane) and his wife Karen have put together one of the most blood-soaked pieces of cinema in recent memory.
Dr. Gabriel Schreklich (Graham) runs a hospital of sorts, where he has created a serum to resurrect the dead. He just hasn’t perfected it quite yet, so the patients are coming back with an inhuman hunger for living organs. His nephew, Peter (Womack) is working with him, and keeping his lovely young and pregnant wife, Anais (Jalalian), hostage until their baby comes along. When the living dead get loose, Anais must get help to save herself and her baby.
It doesn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong for the doctor, who lost his wife and daughter in a car accident, just after being attacked by a re-animated (and very angry) frog. As he’s researching, with his nephew and the burly assistant, Gunther, a couple comes in desperately needing emergency medical aid. The doctor winds up using the serum on the couple, and they proceed to start eating people, including the woman’s mother.
So how does Leben Tod become a film? Simple, grab a talented horror writer, make him sell his house to pay for filming, and give him a dedicated crew. Then, use more corn syrup in your filming than Coca-Cola puts out in a month, slosh around a lot of organs, and twist the hell out of the ending. The result is a cool flick that will make viewers queasy and inspired at the same time.
Did I mention there’s a lot of gore? Okay, at one point, the doc has a WHEELBARREL full of guts. Not a bucket, not a cooler, a fucking Wheel barrel!
The only Forsberg who isn’t in this film is the Philadelphia Flyers All-Star center, Peter. I was starting to think that Forsberg was Swedish for “cast”.
Graham’s performance as Scherklich seems to be a one-speed bike for the film’s first Act. However, once the skeletons are revealed in his closet, he makes the most of his chance to show his range. Little Lola makes one hell of a living dead girl, and Lyons’ Schatzi is just hatred incarnate. There really isn’t a bad actor on the list, but they really take the cake.
Did I mention there’s a TON of gore? I mean it, if you add up the organs and gallons of fake blood, it’s probably an actual ton. Really, I mean, Peter Jackson 101 here.
The low budget takes away from the film in a few ways, but the drawbacks aren’t too bad. There are a few moments in the action scenes where the dummies are too obvious, and some inconsistencies, but it’s all passable because the acting and gore are as effective as they are. The Chef Boy-R-Dee shots could be edited out without the film losing any of its effect.
If you’re checking out the flick with a girlfriend who just can’t take the gore level (or the boyfriend in some cases), have them look for the little inconsistencies that come about with filming on zero budget; doors opening the wrong way, clothes changing in a shot, etc. That’ll be fun for people who don’t want to watch a lady eat her mom’s brains.
For guys who don’t dig blood, there are some fantastic breasts in the film. That’s it. All I had to say in that paragraph.
Robert Bayless does a very consistent job with the original score, fitting in perfectly with the mood of the film, as often as that jumps around. The sound effects, however, are just like the blood, cranked up to 11. There are overlay effects for every syringe and moving organ anyone could imagine.
The only knock on the film is that the ending is shot way too quickly. Once the cool twist hits, it should be given a little more time to really impact viewers. There are a couple of really cool things that hit at the end which could be spaced out a bit better. Otherwise, the pacing is great.
In all, Leben Tod is a very well done flick about Ghouls (not Zombies, really, ask the director), which overcomes its budgetary limitations through an effective script and exceptional acting. When the actual production DVD is released, viewers can only hope for some extras which help flesh the film out and dive behind the scenes (and some better cover art).
The DVD includes a music video of “Feel the Disease” by the band Kissing Violet. Fans of Braindance or Celldweller will dig the female-led goth rock tune.