With Roger Cross, Bruce Payne, Mark Adams, Scott Adkins, Rob Boltin, Daniella Alonso
Written by Michael Hurst
Directed by Valeri Milev
An outbreak has led to the reanimation of the dead. The usual scenario of "the infection" and the "gang of survivors" fighting for preservation is pretty much in tact, but represented in a new way via a TV broadcast. The word "zombie" never gets used, but that's what it is.
The world has adapted to this problem of reanimated dead (known as Re-Ans), with special walled-in security neighbourhoods, vaccines, and the establishment of R-Division, a special team created to "re-kill" the living dead.
The exploits of R-Division is documented by an embedded TV crew with a show broadcasting various missions as they head out to clear areas where these ghouls run rampant.
TV ads run in between, like Re-Ans vaccines, cigarettes (because, what the hell?!), firearms, the Coalition to Repopulate America (a parody tone that feels as though this may be the outcome if Trump becomes president!) As pioneered in Verhoeven's RoboCop (and extended in his other classic Starship Troopers), these ads have a blatant satirical flavour (but feels unbalanced when they try to jump back to the R-Division and the serious outbreak issues, the attempts to extract the humanity from the characters not always succeeding).
Additional inserts of people's survival stories and "where-were-you when the outbreak happened" interviews punctuate some scenes, as well as news clips and other bits utilizing stock footage and created or "re-enacted" pieces related to the crisis.
Character-wise there are the cliche tough guy / jock / douche special forces members of R-Division, as well as the frustrated pensive one, the religious one, the rookie, the single female team member, the cameraman etc. It keeps things diverse, but doesn't always succeed. Some of the cast over-acts, others try too hard to come across as natural, and the shaky, constantly zooming camerawork is annoying in their attempt to try and make it look gritty and real. It's bound to make some viewers car-sick.
Considering the budget, the scale of the carnage during some R-Division and Re-Ans skirmishes are often convincingly done, but contrived situations set up for story exposition can feel forced as the narrative is driven towards The Zone - the sealed off Manhattan area in the former New York City...
An admirable retake of the zombie theme and 'found footage' style horror film, but far from mind-blowing.
2 / C
- Paul Blom