It was late on St Patricks day evening when I first decided I should watch something Irish to celebrate, despite not being even slightly Irish myself. I’m saving the Leprechaun series for my sister blog , and Irish zombie movies are a rare breed. Ex-celebrity Samantha Mumba performed OK in the pretty decent Boy Eats Girl, despite not whopping out her norks, and Zombie Genocide is still on my ‘waiting for it to appear on eBay or something’ list, so I’m left with Dead Meat, a little SOV number from the early days of modern zombie cinema. Well it was made in 2004 actually, but from the plot, effects and camerawork this could easily have been an 80’s video nasty.
After an initial scene involving a farmer, some mad cows and a bit of bloodshed the film starts proper with a scene stolen from a little movie called Night of the Living Dead. A guy and a lass are driving their old car down some country lanes, when they happen upon a fella who they take to be human at first, but when he starts munching on the chap it becomes evident that he is anything but. The chick makes a dash for it leaving her bloke bleeding in a field and races to an old abandoned building nearby. Here she encounters her next zombie (actually it’s her boyfriend who must have followed her in there) and they get into a right proper scrap.
It is here where the film really takes hold and drags you in. The gore scenes are spectacular, and gloriously old-school in their execution. No CGI in sight, but plenty of red sauce and entrails. Even an eyeball gets sucked out of a guys’ head with a vacuum cleaner, all in the first 10 minutes. It harks back to the glory days of zombie horror, with no pretentious self-awareness, no speedy zombies, no gangs of sexy youths, just this young lady and a strange friendly dude wielding a spade whom she hooks up with early on.
These two survivors don’t hole themselves up in any building and have arguments, oh no. These two race around trying to find safety for the whole film. The meet a few friendly characters along the way, but mostly it’s just the two of them looking out for one another as they flit from abandoned farmhouse to crumbling church, sneaking past zombies and bashing a fair few in the noggin along the way.
For such an obviously cheap film it’s very impressively shot, with great use of lighting and environments, some brilliant music and plenty of early Peter Jackson inspired camerawork. Although it is fairly generic sounding in terms of story it’s a thoroughly enjoyable ride, unapologetically going along with conventions just for the fun of it, as the writer\director Conor Mcmahon clearly knows what works and what doesn’t in this glorious zombie genre.
There are even some great comedy moments, a highlight of which was the sleeping zombies standing in a field who have to be stealthily passed by. (A fabulous scene of which the significance passed me by on first viewing). Oh yes, these zombies are not caused by scientific experiments for once, but from an outbreak of Mad Cow Disease as witnessed in the opening scene.
This is an amazing zombie film, proving that great undead movies can still be made, not by trying to be unique and original but by simply taking the traditional zombie film we all know and love and just reveling in it.
Gore Score A
Norks Score F
Originality Score D
Overall Score A