This film was picked based purely on having a nifty title, a 50/50 rating on Amazon Prime, and there being zombies in it. It was a gamble, and it absolutely did not pay off because this is one of the worst films I’ve seen in a long time. I often used to say “I can’t remember the worst movie I’ve ever seen, because it was so dull that I forgot it”; this is simply not the case, as the unending dullness of this has seared itself into my mind forever. It’s a bad zombie movie, a bad plague movie, and just outright unenjoyable.
Things start as they mean to go on: slowly, badly acted, inconsistent, and dull. Some jerk (Jason Tobias) and their jerk son (Danny Ruiz) are out hunting zombies in the cold landscape of somewhere unimportant but Northern. They do this by having a trail of light torches because the zombies hunt by heat. By which I mean they can detect burning things and then once near the burning things totally ignore it in preference of any humans that are around. The humans are hunting them with a rifle, at about 20 feet. Because range advantage is for losers?
After the jerk dad gets bitten, he doesn’t die, so they head off to a house. It’s incredibly important you know about the bite, even though it’ll have no impact on anything till much, much later. Chekov’s Zombie Bite, if you will. Anyway, the dad lets his son carry the rifle until the danger is around because he’s a jerk. In fact, he’s such a jerk that the first thing his wife (Marci Miller) does when he gets home is try to kill him. This is presented as some case of mistaken identity, but when you find out they’ve been in this zombie-filled wilderness for several months. So, either they forgot to agree on an “I’m not a zombie” signal, she wants a quicky divorce, or the writers decided to put what they thought was a moment of tension but actually just confuses and annoys the audience. This happens a lot in the film; all the signals signposted for a specific emotion or reaction and you end up feeling nothing.
Eventually, after 30 minutes of nothing, the plot turns up in the form of some psychos that have decided to enslave people as human shields and great the POV jerks by trying to gun them down. They hose the general area (because ammo grows on trees after the apocalypse) in a generalised murder spree and then are taken down by The Jerks because our suffering can’t end swiftly. The Jerks then don’t kill the psychos, who are absolutely clear about how they’ll kill The Jerks first chance they git, and agree to walk into the incredibly obvious trap. Why? No idea, it’s never explained or alluded to or even investigated beyond a cursory nod in its direction. Any possible facet for intrigue or development is avoided as if the whole thing be shaken to the ground if just one actually meaningful thing happened.
Meanwhile, we the audience just hope everyone dies as we’re halfway through the film, don’t give a crap about any of the characters, and just want everyone to stop monologuing. Especially Mumma Psycho, who talks like a hick fortune cookie on Bath Salts. Oh, and there is also a flashback to when Mr & Mrs. Jerk first meet. Although actually, it’s just them out on date night doing a five-minute “we don’t know each other” bit to perfection to amuse absolutely no one but themselves in a bar. This does nothing but enforces the fact that either The Jerks are insane or the writers are useless, possibly both. Then again, maybe people like this actually exist in the world. If so, I hope I never meet them.
The rest of the film’s 100 minutes of runtime is more of this, with no other plot going on. People talk, incessantly, whilst saying nothing of importance or value. Background on The Jerks is dripped out and fails to make us care about any of them. The setting is expanded upon and makes no sense whilst also not upping the stakes. Zombies continue to be never a present and inconsistent threat, and at no point is there one single reason as to why The Jerks don’t get rid of The Psychos. “I’ll do anything to save my kids” Mrs Jerk makes clear, except shot the cannibal who tried to kill you, uses other people as human shields, killed someone whilst your prisoner and is currently threatening to kill you whilst your husband is off on a trip to what they have told you is a trap. Could it be some kind of trauma response to the situation? A better script at least hint at the idea.
Either this film is far less intelligent than it thinks it is or it thinks its potential audience is so starved of entertainment that they’ll fall for any old pony (…for which I have to raise my hand and say “I did”). It doesn’t work as a thriller, because of the inconsistencies of threat and absence of motivations. It fails as a zombie film, because they don’t do any serious chewing till the last 10 minutes and even then Mr Jerk can hold off the horde of five of them with ease. It doesn’t work as a plague film, as there is no real social commentary or critique beyond a both blunt and half heared “companies bad, government bad, people bad” and, again, no consistency on what’s actually happened. It doesn’t even work as a bad film watch, as it’s far to long and lacks the vibrant energy of a decent stinker.
Most frustratingly, the basic components for a good film were there, quite possibly each nicked off of something much better that knew what to do with its respective parts. This is evident from all the suggestions for how to do a better job screamed at the screen whilst watching it. But they have been put together with absolutely no care, attention to detail, or even apparent understanding of what makes the most basic of characters engaging for such an extended period of time. This could be cut down to 30 minutes and it would still seem bloated because there is just nothing there. I heartily encourage you, even if you are a fan of bad movies, to not watch this. It is Trash, and I can’t remember hating a film so very much for existing.
NB: I put off writing this for about two weeks, as I really don’t like doing negative reviews. So I kept on coming back to try and do something a bit more positive. That failed, as I just couldn’t find an angle that didn’t fall back to “I still resent spending time watching this!”. But I also accept that at the end of it all writer, co-director and star Jason Tobias made a movie, which is no mean feat. I wish I could have found the joy in viewing it that those involved had from making it. But I didn’t.