Monday, April 30, 2012

Zombie Awareness Month Zombiethon 1: 2012: Zombie Apocalypse

At the very last minute possible, I decided to celebrate my favorite monster archetype with a month-long moviethon. May, if you were unaware, is Zombie Awareness Month. So, I'm celebrating in style with a few old favorites and as many as I can of those I have not seen. Now, I've probably seen most good zombie films, which means I'm steeling myself for an onslaught of laughable B-movies. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. Since I had time, I started a day early.

Kicking it off is digital-gorestravaganza, 2012: Zombie Apocalypse. Starring Ving Rhames, himself no stranger to the undead (or to straight-to-video crap, for that matter), the dude who plays Darnell on My Name is Earl, and a bunch of people I don't really recognize, 2012:ZA is a nonsensical suckfest that manages (because it IS, after all, a Syfy Original) to be almost fun in its campiness. I chose this movie for a couple reasons. First, because I try to, at some point, watch as many bad Syfy Originals as possible. Second, and most importantly, because I had just over 90 minutes, during my girls' nap, in which to actually watch a movie, and this one clocks in at just under 1:28.

This is one of those movies -- and Syfy is famous for them -- that make me wonder whether digital blood is really that much cheaper than good, old-fashioned squibs and models. Don't get me wrong: in general, I'm not a lover of gore. I don't hate it, but it isn't the reason I watch movies. That said, the effects in this movie are just laughable. There are moments where the blood doesn't even match the location of the hit. It's like somebody just handed people sharp objects and said, "Just poke and stab anywhere; we'll do the rest." And then did it badly. In one memorable scene, I distinctly heard a single gunshot, and watched as wounds opened up in two places on the same zombie.

Seriously. Check out the dude in the fright mask (far left).
There is also zero uniformity to the zombie makeup. Some are clearly in masks, others in grayface. It was as if the director just emailed a bunch of friends and said, "er, try to look like a zombie."

What else... Ving Rhames wields a sledge hammer, because that makes sense. They have a Michonne-like character who, um, at least has a katana (and just in case you awoke from a month-long coma before popping this into the ole blu-ray, and therefore missed the reference, they also refer to an unseen character named "Kirkman"). Shotgun blasts can apparently lift heads from bodies with the strength of a low-powered rocket, while a 50-cal machine gun barely manages to poke holes in the undead (looks like somebody neglected weapons research 101 before filming). Oh, and the presumptive main character (after the first half hour, I'm honestly not sure) weeps uncontrollably after killing a zombie that looked like Alice Cooper in Prince of Darkness, but immediately thereafter just sort of yells angrily upon learning of Crab-man's death before quickly getting over it.

Also, the zombies who don't just kinda shamble into blunt objects have quickly learned to team up and make plans at least as well as most 9th graders. But they do it being utterly unable to communicate through any means beyond barely-audible grunts. Take that, 9th graders.

Of course, all of this probably makes it sound like I hated it. Not at all. Granted, it's your standard Syfy Original fare, and does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself. That said, it IS a good 90 minutes of absolutely mindless entertainment.

Ah, campy fun.