Mickey and Ben, a pitcher and catcher roaming through a post-apocalyptic New England landscape populated by slow-moving zombies, catch a hint of a possible haven over some purloined walkie-talkies. The mysterious voices they hear, though, don’t lead to salvation.
This 100 minute movie was about 80 minutes too long; I imagine that the world after a zombie apocalypse would indeed be incredibly dull, and that the survivors would tend to get on each others’ nerves, but one doesn’t watch a zombie apocalypse movie expecting the experience to be quite so tedious. I thought that the movie would finally pick up after an hour, when three additional living characters are introduced, but after a few minutes of real drama we get locked into an even more claustrophobic space with Mickey and Ben. I was rooting for the zombies toward the end, and even then was disappointed by a lackluster conclusion with a zombie hoard that can’t even catch a man who has been shot in the leg.
Zach’s girlfriend Beth miraculously returns from the dead, but she’s a little different now …
This movie works only so far as Aubrey Plaza’s performance gives it some soul. Her mix of quirkiness and rage gives depth to an otherwise slapstick parody of zombie apocalypse movies that feels like a sketch comedy stretched well past its breaking point. It has its enjoyable moments, and is sometimes genuinely funny, but doesn’t quite deliver on its promise.
At a military lab besieged by zombie-like “hungries,” a team of scientists and soldiers experiment on children infected by the fungus that creates the hungries to try to find a cure. The lab is overrun and a small group of survivors flees with one of the children reluctantly in tow; in the post-apocalyptic landscape overrun with hungries, a terrifying vision of the future emerges.
This is a nice entry in the zombie apocalypse genre, with an interesting take on the cause of zombieism (a fungal infection similar to Ophiocordyceps unilateralis), some strong characters (particularly the girl Melanie), and a thought-provoking ending. It clearly owes a debt to “Day of the Dead,” but its characters are less black-and-white, and the acting is quite a bit better. While there are certainly credulity gaps, as in all such movies, the logic of the infection and responses to it holds together surprisingly well, and the ending is certainly surprising and satisfying.
Night of the Living Dead
Seven people are trapped in an isolated farmhouse during a zombie apocalypse. As deadly as the shambling, hungry dead outside are, the real danger comes from themselves.
I probably haven’t seen this movie for 30 years, but I felt that it still held up. Its choppy, grainy look gives it a kind of timelessness, and while the acting, special effects, and premise are fair to preposterous, the core ideas are solid; every zombie movie since “Night of the Living Dead” is in some way a response this wonderful, horrible, thoroughly original film.