Zombie Movie Review: Cowboys and Zombies

AKA: The Dead & the Damned

cowboys and zombies movie poster

The search for a great cowboy-zombie-western continues. Following the abject failure of The Quick and the Undead and Undead or Alive comes Cowboys and Zombies (also know as The Dead & The Damned); possibly an even cheaper entry into the genre.

Cowboys and Zombies starts off with a big shoot-out in a traditional Western town (complete with the first of many uses of dodgy-CGI blood-splatters) where we find an effeminate-sounding-Tom-Cruise-look-a-like-cowboy-bounty-hunter as he cleans up the town before heading off to collect his spoils. Although already the owner of a tasty-sized cash pile he’s still on the look-out for more, and is directed to a nearby village where a local woman has allegedly been kidnapped by a nasty Indian. Off trots ‘Cruise’ to try to re-capture the lady and claim his reward. However, unbeknownst to him this village also happens to be the location of a pair of redneck yokels that are celebrating their latest find – a mysterious glowing rock in a wheelbarrow. Hmm, what could this mean?

As is the way of things it turns out this rock is actually a magical zombie-egg of sorts that causes anyone who comes into contact with it becomes a member of undead hungry for human flesh! Will Tom Cruise manage to rescue the girl before falling foul of the zombies? Is the story of the kidnapped girl all it was made out to be? Is the Indian in question spectacularly stereo-typed complete with leather waistcoat, long-hair and tomahawk? Well who’s to say.

Featuring some of the best scenes of gratuitous norkage we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing for some time, Cowboys and Zombies is a mixed bag of a movie. The acting for the most part is atrocious (although to-be-honest it’s debatable whether this actually harms or possibly improves the movie) but the zombies creatures are superb (in particular a blind and skinless revenant who stalks her prey by sound alone). The plot is mostly garbage too, and the direction isn’t much better – although if you’re a fan of watching a guy sat in a tree doing nothing for 10 minutes, or wandering through the trees doing nothing for similar periods of time then you’re in luck. However overall there is enough nonsense going on that gives C&Z a certain charm. For example one thing we learnt from this film is that the wild west must have had some great laundrettes; these chaps were spotless all the way from start to finish, regardless of the amount of blood, dirt and zombie vomit they encounter.

Cowboys and Zombies is one of those films you’re most likely to watch with your mates in the ‘you’ll never believe the amount of norkage in this dodgy zombie-movie I saw the other day’ type category. It’s not a great movie – in fact it’s not even a good one – but if you’re a fan of women in corsets stripping off in the woods for no reason whatsoever then you’ll get some enjoyment out of this.

Gore Score C
Norks Score A
Originality Score D
Overall Score C-

Cowboys and Zombies is available now from Left Films


Zombie Movie Review: The Quick and the Undead

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

Vector image for zombie movie Quick and the Undead

Vector image for zombie movie Quick and the Undead

I recently had a conversation about how on earth Zombie movies can still have even a modicum of originality, considering they have been around for over 70 years and almost exclusively revolve around dead people coming back to life and eating people.
“Well” said I, “recently we’ve had Fido”… and then that was as far as that conversation went.  However, had I been thinking properly instead of just drinking wine I could have remembered I had this little number on my shelf awaiting its first viewing, which certainly had the potential to be rather interesting.  A Zombie Western.

Set around 80 years in the future after a virus has turned most of the world into shuffling Zombies, The Quick and the Undead follows a bounty hunter who makes a living hunting down and killing off any Zombie throughout the country, and collecting their fingers as evidence to claim his reward.  However, he’s soon double crossed by his old gang and left for dead, his haul of fingers stolen.  Luckily being invincible he comes back from the dead and heads off after his old gang to reclaim his bounty.

However that is basically all that happens, one dude wandering around until he catches up with his old gang.  That’s it.  Sure there are some Zombies along the way that need dispatching \ running away from, and there is a slightly interesting parallel storyline involving the leader of the nasty gang trying to increase his haul by infecting healthy villages with the Zombie virus so he can kill them off and claim a larger bounty, but none of these ideas go anywhere.  Heck, even the idea of an indestructible hero is barely covered and is rarely used at-all in the movie.

The gore is reasonable, the direction is actually rather good, and the cinematography and overall look of the film is top drawer.  There is a great concept there but sadly the whole thing is spectacularly dull-ass boring.  It’s neither scary, funny, or tense.  The characters are uninteresting and really badly acted and to cap it all off there’s not a single nork shot in sight!  Sheesh, what a waste of time.

Gore Score C
Nork Score F
Originality Score B
Overall Score D