Zombie Movie Review: REC3: Génesis

REC3 Poster

REC3:Génesis takes place on the same day as the previous films in the series, but this time in a far more open and daylit space – at a wedding in a luxury stately home in Spain. Things kick off in traditional REC style: shot in a camera POV style following the build up to and immediate aftershow of this big wedding between Clara and Koldo. Ah, and what a ceremony it is! They’ve done alright for themselves, able to have a big wedding bash in such an enormous house – seemingly bereft of any staff of owners but with a bitchin’ sound system that you can hear from anywhere in (and even under) the building. The perfect place for a good old knees-up. It does happen to be right next a graveyard where some mysterious people dressed in hazmat suits are ‘spraying for bugs’, but that can’t mean anything bad, can it?

Well as is often the case with zombie movies one of the attendees has turned up with a bandaged up wound on his hand. We didn’t see exactly how he got this, but he mentions that he is a vet who was bitten by a dog earlier in the day. (Surely just a coincidence that the little girl resident from REC1 had said that her dog had gone to the vet for being ill just as the zombie outbreak occurred in her apartment?)

Somewhat surprisingly this vet dude gets progressively more crazy as the party goes on, possibly due to alcohol, possibly not… Finally his illness starts to take over and he goes a little bit too crazy and starts attacking people and spitting blood all over the place. Damn, that dog he’d been treating must’ve been infected with a fast acting rabies or something?

All the while this is being recorded on video cameras by the guests, but this doesn’t continue for long. In what is one of the greatest (non-gory) moments of the film the torch is metaphorically passed from the REC of old to the REC of the future, and the POV format is ditched (really quite cleverly) and we’re now treated to a far less restricting and traditional approach to a zombie movie.

It’s not only the filming style that is more traditional than the previous films in the series, but the story and style too. The film becomes a good old-fashioned zombie movie, something we haven’t had many of in recent days. So what is a traditional zombie movie then? Well, one that involves running and hiding from the ghouls, some bickering and arguing, many great laughs and more importantly some gruesome zombie deaths – being dispatched in a variety of ingenious (and gory) ways.

The characters here are all superb and really play to the films strengths. There are the typical hero / heroine in Koldo and Clara, some great comic relief guys – (spongebob, sorry, John Sponge and the appropriately named ‘Royalties’ to name a couple) and a few useful exposition types who help further the plot and provide contextual links to the REC mythology.

So, as it’s a more traditional zombie film how does it fit into the REC universe? Well apart from being filmed predominantly away from the POV style, not being set inside a dark apartment and also playing more for laughs than for scares, it fits surprisingly well. They same mythology of the zombies is intact, it links in quite nicely to the previous films and provides a few more clues as to the origin of these creatures. Sure, it’s a totally different beast to 1 and 2 but that’s no bad thing. Sticking with an old formula for a third film in a series would have been a safe and potentially dull route to take, whereas with Génesis the series has been given a good shove into a new direction which should help make the final (and apparently very dark and serious) part 4 stand out just as well.

Gore Score B
Norks Score F
originality Score C+
Overall Score B+

Zombie Movie Review: REC2

REC2 zombie movie poster

Following on directly from REC; not just by being a sequel but actually following on directly from REC, REC2 covers a small group of armed police who go into the apartment block immediately as the closing credits of the first film would be running under the impression that they are there to check for survivors. However, what with this being a horror movie things are not as they seem.

After meeting up with an appointed government representative the team are filled in on the real purpose of this mission and the group of chaps have to race around the apartment building in the dark from floor-to-floor with their helmet mounted cameras (yes, this is how they keep the handheld camera theme going) in a similar vein to the first film for another 90 minutes trying to get to the bottom of the situation.

However, as much as it may sound, the movie is not really a retread of the first. The is a side stories going on here involving a group of kids breaking into the apartment to see what’s going on which provides a nice change of scenery (well, a change of characters at least – they’re still all stuck in the same apartment as everyone else from this film and the previous). There is also a change with the direction that the zombies take: No longer are they the mysterious infected, this time we know why – and it is an altogether more daemonic situation that we expected.

OK sure, there were hints in the first film as to what was going on, but they were really just there for effect – we had no idea what was really going on in that small apartment block until this movie (and even here it’s not completely answered – we’ll have to wait for the next two films for that).

So, as a movie how well does it do? Well it’s not as scary as the first one – possible because we’ve seen a lot of this already done in the first one, although it does have it’s moments – more so than most zombie films these days. Is it gory? Well again, nowhere near as much as the first. However what about as a story? Well this movie actually has a story, so it beats its predecessor in that respect. (All REC was about was just some woman running up and down stairs being chased for 90 minutes). But is it better than the original? No, probably not, although it’s a darn sight close. REC took a claustrophobic formula, ramped up the action and gave it all a fresh approach. REC2 is very similar, and where it improves over the original is with the story and the characters. However it does all take place in the same setting and probably isn’t different enough to be superior.

Gore Score C
Norks Score F
Originality Score C
Overall Score B+

Zombie Movie Review: Big Tits Zombie 3D

Big tits zombie 3D poster
Wow, naming a movie Big Tits Zombie 3D is about as subtle as crowbar to the eyeball. Even without knowing a single thing about this film you already know whether it’s one you’ll enjoy or one to avoid. Well this review is for those people who expect to enjoy this flick. (Or for those who have never heard of the film but have stumbled over here because they’ve been looking for some particularly ‘specialist’ material in their web searches).

So, does this movie deliver on that title? Well three-quarters of it does, yes.  It has Zombies. It has Tits. And it’s in 3D (although this reviewer decided to experience it in 2D due to the belief that red & green glasses just obscure the ‘quality’). However, if you’re looking for zombies with massive norks then you’ll be sadly disappointed. As will you be if you were expecting big norks on any of the characters. However surely you’re not shallow enough to dismiss a film called Big Tits Zombie 3D just because the norks aren’t as big as the title suggest, are you?

However, moving away from the mammaries (sadly) and onto the actual movie. BTZ3D (actually a more catchy title, especially if you pronounce the ‘Z’ in the American – and therefore incorrect – fashion) follows some slightly exotic dancers who discover a hidden passage in their stripper changing room that leads to a huge scary dungeon filled with occult memorabilia that they accidentally use to summon a legion of the undead that (predictably) go on the rampage.

This rampage is filled with reasonably interesting looking zombies, the occasional short-lived topless wrestle between some of the ladies, and plenty of terrible, terrible CGI gore. Honestly, it’s probably better to watch it in red-green 3D than the standard version as it might obscure some of the dreadful blood-spray effects.

Yes, it’s one for the ever growing zombie sub-genre that is the ‘strippers-and-zombies’ movie. While certainly not matching the heights of the genre highlight ‘Zombie Strippers‘ it certainly beats ‘zombies! zombies! zombies!‘ for enjoyment, although sadly the most fun comes from the ridiculous introduction on the DVD from the movie director – a massive perv that has somehow managed to convince a studio to give him some money and a cast that don’t mind briefly getting their norks out and being covered with blood in order to make a low-budget zombie-stripper movie. Still, that’s probably every mans dream, to be fair.

Gore Score C+
Norks Score C- (sadly)
Originality Score C
Overall Score C

Zombie Movie Review: Re-Cycle

re-cycle movie poster

Here at Devouring the Zombie Films of the Living the occasional film that defies the typical rules of the ‘zombie’ criteria ends up getting reviewed on the site. There’s an easy way to tell if a film is actually a zombie movie or not, and that is to ask: “Has that film been reviewed on this site?” If the answer is Yes then it is a zombie movie, argument over. If the answer is No, then either it’s not a zombie movie (i.e. Evil Dead) or it’s just not been added to the site yet.

Carriers was such a movie recently reviewed, prompting discussions both here and through Twitter as to its validity as a zombie movie. (It is, just accept it). In order to restore balance to the Universe it’s time to go for a non-debatable, straight-up zombie movie! Well, that was the plan anyway but the movie that found its way into the DVD player was the Asian curio RE-CYCLE; a bizarre movie that might as well be a long dream sequence than an actual zombie movie.

Having said that it certainly deserves to be reviewed here, if not for the storyline (which most certainly would not be classed as a zombie movie) but for the dozens of genuinely unsettling undead ghouls roaming around and generally scaring the bejesus out of whoever is watching.

So what do these ghouls have to do with this crazy movie? Well the movie ponders what happens to those abandoned ideas, memories and even people who fall by the wayside as we go about our daily lives. (The long forgotten dead being such a case). The Directors ‘the Pang Brothers‘ do this by throwing the heroine of the film into a world of not only her own, but of the world’s discarded past; filled with lands of unread books, abandoned buildings and forgotten relatives which forces her to face some of the unpleasant abandoned areas of her own past in order to return to her waking life.

It’s more than just a bizarre dream trip on offer though; the opening 45 minutes are pure Asian-horror (definition: creepy in a way that no other culture have mastered) as the young lass – a successful writer struggling to put together her newest novel – sees glimpses of her discarded ideas given life to ‘haunt’ her flat, not only in the apparition way but also to leave creepy answering phone messages and even worse; leaving the taps running in the bath!

It’s a difficult movie to review. It certainly deserves to be seen, if not for the plot but for the beautiful cinematography (real and CGI) that truly adds to the dreamscape style. Is it a zombie movie? Not really. Does it have zombies in it? Most definitely. Is it incredibly scary in parts? Sure. Is it a bit preachy about abortion? Yes, if you want to take it as such. Is it gory? Not even slightly (as far as I remember). But is it good? Yes, without a doubt. It might depend on whether you choose to interpret ‘Abortion Land’ as just an interesting scene or as the entire meaning behind the movie, but there’s a lot more going on here than just being a movie about not abandoning and forgetting your past.

Gore Score E
Norks Score F
Originality Score A
Overall Score B+

Zombie Movie Review: Plaga Zombie- Mutant Zone

Plaga Zombie Mutant Zone Poster

Poster for Plaga Zombie Mutant Zone

A long while ago we reviewed the fantastic original Plaga Zombie with the view to watch its sequel pretty sharpish. Well not being ones to drag things out, just over two years later here we are with the followup ‘Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone’. So was it worth waiting to hear about what happens to Max, Bill, John West and co?

Well Mutant Zone doesn’t hang around as it picks up pretty much where the first film ended, with the 3 chaps dumped by the FBI in the middle of the still zombie-infected town with only a mysterious bodybag for company. These dudes trek around the city for 90 minutes trying to find a way to escape while avoiding the strange FBI people, still lugging the bodybag around trying to find a knife to open it up to find out who is inside. (Exactly where are all the damn knives? They’ve all gone missing from every house this troupe shack up in. Also, didn’t some of these characters die in the first film?)

Anyway no matter, while there is a plot at play here this film is mostly about the zombies, fights and gore. Yup, this movie is basically just a massive fight scene with the occasional random quiet period (usually where something confusing happens) just to split things up.

  • Brain and spinal cord pulled out the back of a zombie skull? Check
  • Hedgetrimmer blade used as a decapitation sword? Check
  • Zombie face ripped partially off so that it just flaps around in the air? Check

Yup, there’s crazy gore a plenty going down in the Mutant Zone. And not only violence either as there are some great gory comedy scenes too; a highlight being a zombie holding his guts in his hand which he can squeeze to aim toxic farts at the humans. Oh yes, this is a high-art entry into the zombie catalogue.

There’s not much more to say about this film without going into the nonsense plot, other than to mention the great characters (one of whom even has his own theme tune that will stick in your head forever) who perform brilliantly and totally make the film the fun ride it is. So we’ll just end this review here with the suggestion that if the opportunity arises to watch this movie it should be taken. It seems to be a bit of an undescovered gem and needs more love if we’re ever going to get a 3rd film.

Gore Score A
Norks Score F
Originality Score C
Overall Score A

Zombie Movie Review: Zombie Hunter Rika

AKA Rika: The Zombie Killer \ High School Girl Rika: Zombie Hunter

Poster for film Rika the Zombie Killer

Poster for movie Zombie Hunter Rika

Back to Asia and a follow-up of sorts to the zombie / soft-porn flick ‘Girls Rebel Force‘, Rika is an altogether classier movie – although still has some cheesy nudity to keep the fans happy.

What must be admired about Japanese zombie movies is the sheer bonkers nature of their plot, and Rika is no exception. While visiting her long-lost Grandfather in a backwoods village in Japan with a friend and some other visiting relatives, young Rika discovers that the village has been inexplicably taken over by the walking dead. One particularly close encounter causes young Rika to lose her arm, but fate is on the lass’ side here – not only because one of her companions happens to have stumbled on a disembodied Samurai arm (complete with sword in hand) but also because her demented Grandfather is a master surgeon. So we have Rika and her enormously muscular (if incredibly rubbery) super arm and her troupe of random friends as they go off zombie hunting, tracking down the master zombie and his henchmen to dish out some payback.

What sets this apart from Girls Rebel Force is that this film goes for fun over titillation. Sure, there are some great sleazy moments (3 maids arguing over who has the biggest norks but whipping them out and comparing them) but the overriding essence of this movie is just crazy gory nonsense. Oh yes there is some nice gore going on here – loads of rubbery flesh ripping and head decapitation, blood a plenty and some great makeup too (particularly the suspiciously friendly zombie with the disgusting googly eye!)

It’s trash, it’s stupid and it adds nothing to either the Zombie movie canon, or movies as a whole but by-gum was it a good fun waste of time.

Gore Score B-
Norks Score B-
Originality Score B-
Overall Score B-

Zombie Movie Review: Mutants

This film is showing on Netflix Instant US. Visit Blog of the Living Dead for details

Mutants Zombie Movie Poster

Mutants Zombie Movie Poster

It has often been said that 28 Days Later has a lot to answer for, a complaint that is usually uttered by bloggers out of anger at all the running zombie-type creatures that have spawned since that great 2002 movie (although surely running zombies have been around since at least Return of the Living Dead back in the mid 80’s, but hey). While that may or may not be a valid complaint, something that can’t be argued is that 28 Days Later has been responsible for some truly great movies, possibly the finest offspring being MUTANTS; a little French number from 2009.

Some bird and her fella are trying to escape the current epidemic of human-mutants in a little ambulance (that probably belongs to the lass as she seems to be a nurse of some kind) a great choice of vehicle during a zombie apocalypse for sure – although probably a bit slow on the acceleration to be perfect – when this glorified ice-cream van unsurprisingly runs out of fuel (well it can’t be that efficient a vehicle really, driving around with a portable surgery in the back!) The pair have to hold up in a random building out in the snowy mountainous woodland they seem to have found themselves in. Unfortunately for the chap he’s recently been infected with the zombie contaminant so it is up to the chick to either try to cure him, kill him or contain him until a cure can be found.

What starts out as a pretty standard humans-escaping-zombies movie turns into a study of a mans descent into madness as the chap slowly turns from human boyfriend into crazy violent zombie nut-job. Sure, all she needs to do is whack this dude over the head or inject him with a huge dose of killer nurse drug to prevent him from turning, but can she do it? He is her other-half and the only link back to humanity she knows. Plus she believes she has found a cure herself, so she can’t really kill him off without at least trying to get the cure working, can she?

This was a great movie. The pacing was spot on, there’s loads of gross bloody moments and the performances by the two main leads – particularly the main dude – were a horrible joy to watch. There are the standard Zombie clichés present here – People trapped in a building with zombies trying to break in, arguments between the survivors about what to do, suspenseful ‘is there a zombie behind that door or not’ moments and some ass-kicking zombie death too. Sure, it was bloody while not being particularly gory, and it was sadly lacking in the nork department, but then I guess that would have turned it into a different sort of film and to be honest it works perfectly well as it is.

Gore Score B-
Norks Score F
Originality Score C
Overall Score A-