When writer Alex Garland and director Dan Boyle unleashed “28 Days Later” on the world, their breed of zombies (called “infected”) were more like sharks in a feeding frenzy than mindless drones. Others have jumped on board, re-writing the definition of what a zombie is and why to fear them.
David A. Prior has the same idea for the zombies in “Zombie Wars” (aka “War of the Living Dead”). These bloodsuckers are fast-moving and hungry, but without the digital flash of Boyle’s beasts. Instead, these undead are a lot more reminiscent of Romero’s “Day of the Dead”. The visuals used are close to those in 1985 film. At any point in time, viewers might expect them to break into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
Ok, two paragraphs in and it’s all been zombie talk. Well, that’s the gist of the film. Prior offers some facts via voiceover, but it simply sets the scene (and isn’t necessary (see: “Blade Runner” theatrical cut)). There are millions of zombies, no one knows how they were created, but mankind is now reduced to slaves for food.
The main protagonists are brothers Brian and David. Brian is a little tougher, remembering the stories of man’s dominance more. David, the younger brother, looks like NY Giants QB Eli Manning. I was waiting for him to drill a zombie through the head with a football.
Their enemy is the zombie leader…basically a poor man’s leatherface without the chainsaw. For the most part, there are no masterminds, Bond-esque villains or even a Dr. Phibes, just the guttural general leading the pack.
Zombie Wars is not a campy flick. It doesn’t redefine zombies (even though it gives them a primal society). The writing is decent other than a few character judgment flaws. The zombies have the numbers but the humans have the tactics. It can be interpreted as either a nice analysis of battle strategies, or a bunch of guys who just love pig intestines, red dye and corn syrup.
Other than the matter-of-fact approach by the heroes and the rampant (and very easy) violence, the majority of character behavior and motives make sense. The film is shot very well, with plenty of on-screen beheadings and limb removal. The crew does a good job reusing extras and actors, and the shots vary enough that the film never seems like it was shot in a one-room apartment. The zombies vary in size, shape and style (even if they do all have the same moan). The good guys even have the equivalent of red shirt ensigns.
All American Pictures is a three-way partnership of David A. Prior, Ted Prior and William H. Ferrell. The trio also wrote, directed and produced “Lost at War”, the story of soldiers who undergo a bizarre series of events while on battle missions.
For information on “Zombie Wars” and All American Pictures, see the official site at www.allamericanpictures.net.