Friday, July 29, 2005


Undead (Directors: Michael and Peter Spierig)

This is the Spierig brothers' first major film. They also wrote the screenplay. Good for them.

Welcome to our generation's Manos: The Hands of Fate. Undead was made two years ago in Australia and is getting a U.S. release from Lion's Gate this summer. Lion's Gate has been particularly good at picking product and giving them bold release dates. Crash became the big surprise hit of the summer, but this movie nobody can save.

OK, I get it. This is supposed to be a humorous take on the zombie genre. Yes, it's 2003 production predates Shaun of the Dead by a year. But really, this movie has no clue. It's not even trying to be funny enough, let alone actually being funny, to be a worthwhile comedy. The movie has monkey-spunk production values that Troma wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole and a rubber glove attached to it. Really, the film looks like it was accidentally thrown in with the whites on laundry day.

The premise is your usual crap: aliens fall from the sky and then start turning people into zombies. The zombies, naturally, want to feed on everyone. This means some hilarious death scenes--people cut in half, blood splashing everywhere, people's spines protruding from their waist with no torso, heads split open, and so on. There are survivors who hope not to be taken by the zombies, but then there's some alien abduction bullshit in all of this, too. What the point was, I might have been dreaming of leaving the auditorium during its explanation. I couldn't tell you what it all meant, or how everything fit together. It is a mystery I am willing to let go unsolved.

Yes, it's trying for camp. I enjoy some good camp; there's nothing wrong with it. But it's not over-the-top enough to be a good campy movie. Sure, the death scenes are ridiculous, but you can find that even in the most serious horror film. By the way, one character spouts some version of the word "fuck" so much in one scene that he may have eclipsed Joe Pesci's entire fuckalogue in Goodfellas. It's hard to watch. Anyone wanting you to watch Undead with them doesn't like you. You need to find another friend if that person suggests watching this. You may not want to end the friendship right then and there, after all, that person may not be educated on how bad this is. I was looking for Tom Servo and Crow somewhere in my aisle. This might have not made the cut for MST3K. It's that awful.


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