For this zombie filled review, Anna Platano, a member of Dixon’s Vixens joins me for a review of Rise of the Zombies. Anna has proved herself to be a true horror fan by not volunteering for one movie, but by taking on two films this month. I think you will appreciate her writing style. It is more a blow-by-blow rendition of the film with some interesting opinions scattered throughout.
The Dixon’s Vixens are a group of ladies (as well as a few gentlemen – who are called Mixens) that share a common interest – they love AMC’s The Walking Dead and have an even greater love for the Dixon brothers themselves (Meryl – Michael Rooker and Daryl – Norman Reedus). They are an online community who get together at comic book conventions and talk to each other daily via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. They also participate in fundraisers and group events. You can learn more about the Vixens at their official webpage which can be found here.
So let’s get the review moving!
During a zombie apocalypse ,a group of survivors hide on Alcatraz Island to escape from rising zombie hordes. When their refuge is overrun, and upon hearing that a scientist may have discovered a cure, they leave the island to seek him out. (summary from IMDB)
Anna Platano: I really enjoy zombie movies and culture. I have thought about a zombie apocalypse plan and have a pretty firm one in place–but not too firm, because I want to be able to quickly adjust to the varying outbreak scenarios without being stuck in one line of thought. I am a proud member of the Dixon’s Vixens. I am taking an online course at UC Irvine called “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”
I went into Rise of the Zombies hoping it would be what I call a full circle movie–it’s so bad that it comes back around to good. Unfortunately, this was not the case. There was no real ramp up to mass outbreak, you were just kind of thrust into it. Below are my as-you-go observations, which I recorded in order to save you the 90 minutes that you will never get back.
[SPOILERS] Wow. The effects are Sci-Fi Channel movie quality! French Stewart! LeVar Burton! Mariel Hemingway! Ethan Suplee! That kid Jesse from The Fast and the Furious! Holy Cow. DANNY TREJO! I see some slo-mo fighting in my future.
So it appears that there has been a zombie apocalypse and some people are living in Alcatraz Island. Suddenly, the zombies have made it to the island and are overrunning it. And there is my slo-mo zombie battle. Apparently these guys have not yet seen the wisdom in weapons that do not require ammunition. Nor have they embraced conservation of ammunition. They are shooting zombies with wild abandon. And LeVar Burton’s daughter just got bitten and he is watching her turn.
Meanwhile, back on land the very pregnant lady who shockingly survived a rollover accident at the opening of our movie (while not wearing a seat belt) is eating a twinkie. Nice nod to Zombieland. Back at the prison, Danny Trejo has decided that they should leave via a large lifeboat to head for the mainland and rescue by the armed forces. Everyone who has ever seen a zombie movie knows exactly how this is going to turn out. LeVar Burton is staying behind–and apparently is an epidemiologist or a microbiologist of some kind and wants to stay and do some research.
As the group departs, they are attacked by more zombies that just happen to be heading out of the water. Ethan Suplee is the only one who seems to see the wisdom of using the crowbar on the zombies. The remaining survivors have made it off the island, only to have it attacked by zombies in the water, where they lose a person and all their food and water. Apparently appropriate planning is not this group’s forte.
LeVar is doing some research. I am guessing that this will be all he does for the entirety of the movie. The SF group is arguing about whether to go find a vaccine or head to an evacuation spot in Petaluma. Danny Trejo thinks they are all crazy for looking for the research and vaccine. The groups split. This can only end badly. There is the Ethan Suplee/Mariel Hemingway in one and Danny Trejo/Jesse from The Fast and The Furious in the other. Oh dear. There is a zombie in the Petaluma groups house. Danny Trejo was just bitten. They are all screwed in the Petaluma group. ZOMBIE DANNY TREJO!!!!! Slo-mo Jesse running from zombie Danny Trejo and escaping. I am finding this entire scenario disappointing.
Back to the vaccine/research group, who are foraging on a bridge. Oh my god. Zombies shimmying up the Golden Gate Bridge. Why are there none ON the bridge? What attracted them? This makes NO sense. And they keep shooting the zombies…and the zombies flip a car. Really?! I don’t think zombies would have the coordination and brain capacity to work together or flip a car.
They found the pregnant chick. Pregnant chick has been bitten. They are going to cut the baby out…Holy cow this is comically terrible. OH SNAP worst stunt baby ever and it became a zombie. I am so glad this dangling plot wisp is done.
Check in with LeVar…you guessed it. More research. The vaccine group has made it to the lab, and no dice, but they are considering heading to the water treatment plan to try to find French Stewart and his zombie research. Oh, and now having an argument about the existence of god. Oh look, LeVar doing more research. Oh boy. Gross and poorly done scene of LeVar cutting out a chunk of his own skin to feed his daughter. Eww. Oh snap. LeVar’s daughter just bit him and he dropped a grenade on Alcatraz.
The remainder of the now re-united group–Mariel Hemingway/Ethan Suplee/Jesse from The Fast and The Furious head for the water treatment plant. They seem to FINALLY be getting the idea of blunt weapons. They are driving a truck and siphoning gas as necessary. There is a remarkable lack of broken down cars everywhere except the Golden Gate Bridge and no hordes of the undead, save those occasions when they randomly make a coordinated attack.
Oh look, zombies at the plant. That they keep shooting. Now they are electrocuting them using water and electrified riot batons. French Stewart is still alive and very much teetering on the edge of sanity. Ethan Suplee, the only one who can pilot the proverbial helicopter on the roof, has just been bitten and they had to cut his arm off. Also, they didn’t tourniquet the wound until after they cut it off…I swear that if French Stewart and Mariel Hemingway are the only survivors, I will be so peeved. Jesse got scratched on the way to the helicopter and they are testing the vaccine on him, while taking off. Shock of shocks, it worked. They fly off into the sunset to a lab to make more of the vaccine/cure/whatnot.
Quite honestly, this movie ended for me when Jesse escaped zombie Danny Trejo. They could have gotten way more mileage out of zombie Danny Trejo. I found the LeVar Burton storyline to be superfluous and poorly thought out, as was the pregnant lady storyline. I guess they needed the filler to get the movie close to 90 minutes. There are a lot of things in this movie that make no sense in my zombie universe. The way the zombies attack seemingly out of nowhere and the way they work together. The lack of cars everywhere but the bridge. The overall lack of zombies. The special effects were special, but not in the good way. By the end of the movie, I honestly wanted everyone but Ethan Suplee to die, just so I would be free of their over-acting and unlikable characters. Not to mention their inability to grasp the notion of blunt weapons and their use in a zombie apocalypse. But that’s just me.
PJ: OK, I’ve watched some really bad movies. Movies that made me angry for wasting my time. This film just wouldn’t ever end. It had a poorly developed plot, poor acting in a lot of cases, and inconsistent story line. There is so much that I didn’t like about this movie that it would be easier to discuss what I did like. Except I can’t think of much that I even did like.
Here are some of the things that really got under my skin:
- You can’t hold a shotgun away from your body, shoot, and get head shots every time. The gun would fly out of your hands and guess what? You’re not aiming at all. Pistols need to be aimed for long shots.
- Hitting zombies, or any creature, with a car will damage a car. It’s not a pinball machine.
- Having extremely long discussions about religion and a higher power during a zombie attack or after a zombie attack can be a risk to the audience as well as the zombie bait.
- First rule of survival: lock down your immediate area. Alcatraz was the perfect base, except these dummies didn’t do anything to protect themselves. It was annoying.
- Spiking a baby like a football is not cool, even if it is a zombie baby.
Overall, I’m going to give this movie a pretty poor rating. I can honestly only give it a 2 out of 10. I really didn’t enjoy myself and I couldn’t wait for it to end.