The acting is top notch for the budget and genre. It’s helped a lot by smooth flowing dialogue, a quick moving script and great direction. The storyline is very streamlined and even in moments when it does slow down, it’s never boring. The special effects are decent and rarely take you out of the film. There are moments when fire looks incredibly fake, and my complaints about CGI blood and horror effects stand true here as well. I hate them, they looks like crap, and while you can argue low budget practical effects look fake as well, they have a certain amount of charm that their computerized counterparts never seem to possess. That being said most of the CGI effects are done surprisingly well, except for the ending scene, but even those are passable and quick (SPOILER ALERT: kitties).
Let’s talk zombies. These guys are the fast moving variety, although they like to see with their hands and not with their mouths. There are several altercations in which characters come into contact with zombies and are able to get away simply because the undead are more into grabbing and molesting than eating. This happens several times and kind of serves as a misdirection for when people do get bit. The makeup effects are a little lacking here, but nothing too bad. It does appear that some of the undead are wearing little more than Halloween masks, but these are mostly background actors, which you need a lot of if you’re going to create a horde of flesh eaters. There’s also a few moments in which the zombies have seemingly laid traps to lure people in, then ambush them. It’s not new, but a nice touch even if the only resulting discussions amount to a few mumblings of “they’re getting smarter”. One thing’s for sure, no matter how quick these zombies catch up to their prey, they’re no match when it comes to hand to hand combat. This is proven time and time again as our heroes dispatch double digits of these rotting corpses in a single encounter using everything from a samurai sword to a grenade.
Veteran zombie killer Ving Rhames is obviously cast for his involvement in the Dawn of the Dead remake, but Zombie Apocalypse wisely chooses to replicate the warm, dry look of AMC’s The Walking Dead. There’s even a rooftop scene that is awfully familiar looking, not to mention the alley ways of the city. If you’ve seen The Walking Dead season one, you’ll recognize the resemblance immediately. One of the bad things about making a low budget movie set in post apocalyptic Los Angeles is you can’t afford to stop traffic. After having seen so many low budget post apocalyptic films my eyes immediately scan the background for imperfections such as these whenever there’s a road or bridge. And there are a few, but with the way the shots are setup I think the vast majority of viewers will never notice the moving vehicles on them. Besides, who’s to say it’s not a caravan of other survivors? (Ok that’s the suspension of disbelief whore in me coming out.)
The biggest lesson to come out of Zombie Apocalypse – join an archery team if you want to survive. Zombie Apocalypse is entertaining and fun, a super quick and easy watch with just enough blood and gore to keep zombie fans enthused while not offending anyone with a weaker stomach. Definitely check it out if you like anything undead.
Director: Nick Lyon
Stars: Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Lesley-Ann Brandt