2 1/2 Stars
This is the fourth zombie movie I’ve watched and reviewed in the last 48 hours. Luckily there are a surprising amount of different ways to implement the walking dead. After Effect (A.K.A. The Removed) chooses the super-human, fast on their feet and quick to kill undead. If only they showed up much sooner, instead the first half of the film falls more into the psychological thriller territory, something that the script and cast barely pull off. When the blood does begin to flow though, I have to hand it to the filmmakers for going the practical effects route rather than with digital blood spurts. It’s just more fun to see how covered in blood the actors had to get to pull off the stunt. It was also brilliant how they worked in the clean-up of the blood stained sets into the ending of the film, I can hear the director now, “we need lots of coverage of you guys cleaning, so get to scrubbing!”.
The military is at it again, once more at the center of a zombie uprising. Luckily this is just the testing phase to their new biological weapon, and thus it is contained. Sucks for the few college students who have shown up for what they think is a drug test to earn a few bucks for tuition. Lacie Donovan knows the trouble of trying to balance schoolwork with actual work all too well. She needs the money to stay in school, so when she sees a flyer for easy cash she decides to go for it. That is after a hot guy schoolmate tells her he’s doing it, and so should she. After the group of testies each get their chance to act witty and funny it’s time for the “procedures”. Nothing about this place sits well with Lacie, but she begrudgingly moves forward with the process. After the “procedure” the group awake in their rooms, but now they are detainees and trapped in the building with something. Can they get out alive?
This is a straight forward thriller with little scares. It’s not poorly put together, but the first half is far too slow. The actors are strong, but it feels like everyone wants to have the “good lines”. Enough with the Whedonistic and Gilmorish approach to dialogue, it’s not flattering to actors or writers when as time filler. While I think all the actors brought their A game, lead Tuckie White was the definite stand out. There’s a moment when she’s watching the rest of the group from afar, it may be strange to say, but that quiet look is easily her best performance in the film. If only the script had more moments for its capable players.
Regardless After Effect is effective as a little “trapped in” thriller, with much help provided by Dave Holden’s score. The ending “clean-up” montage sequence in which military black-ops move in to clear the building is easily the highlight of the film, due in part to Holden’s blatant yet effective rip-off of John Murphy’s pulse pounding 28 Days Later score.
And what of the Baldwin that any producer could afford? Danny Boy is barely in this, you wouldn’t miss him if he was cut out, and you might miss him as the cut stands. Another true B movie with nothing more to offer than twiddling away some time while providing a mild amount of entertainment.
Director: David McElroy
Stars: Daniel Baldwin, Tuckie White, Jeremy Kahn, Jake Hames, Lily Hex, Zack Hawkins