Starring Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Eddie Steeples
Directed by Nick Lyon
Distributed by Asylum Home Entertainment
God bless Ving Rhames.
He certainly makes the best of the roles he’s being offered as of late (what IS up with that anyway?) and the latest from The Asylum- ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE certainly has the eternally badass actor making the best of the another bad situation. But despite the simple story, gaping plot holes and lackluster visual effects, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE ends up being better than it has any right to be and may actually be one of the best from the often cheesetastic Asylum stable (that’s not saying a whole lot but I think it’s high praise), making it at least worthy of dropping a few nickels on a rental fee and the 90 minutes you’ll spend checking it out.
With the ongoing onslaught of zombie-themed projects popping up just about everywhere these days (a computer company actually references a zombie apocalypse in a recent commercial), ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE at least tries to be better than a lot of their low-budget, high ambition peers by at least giving fans a movie that at least ‘feels’ high-budget but also attempts to work in a few simple twists as well that aren’t completely shocking but are definitely entertaining.
In ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, we meet several groups of survivors that wind up coming together as they make their way to the coast. Their plan is to catch a ferry to Catalina Island, a supposed safe haven from the undead. Along the way we learn that the zombies are getting smarter and that the virus can infect other species as well. The first group is led by Rhames’ character named Henry and includes highly emotional Ramona (Taryn Manning), the strong-willed but terrible with a sword Cassie (Lesley-Ann Brandt), the ill-fated Billy (Eddie Steeples from “My Name is Earl”) and a few more victims ripe for the picking.
For what you’re expecting, the acting in ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE is definitely above average, mostly anchored by Rhames’ ability to carry the film on his extremely capable shoulders. Manning doesn’t do a whole lot more than cry at every turn but she does it well, folks. The rest of the supporting players are all fine in their own right but they all pretty much pale in comparison to the sight of a digital zombie tiger (frankly I’m hoping the beast gets his own spin-off movie!) which is worth the rental price alone. Ridiculous and awesome all at once- I can only dream of how this beast would have looked with some more money behind him.
But the thing is, Asylum specializes in a certain brand of low-budget horror that appeals to a specific fan base and with ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, I think they’ve almost finally got their own formula down to cheesetastic perfection.
Asylum’s Blu-Ray presentation of ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE looks fantastic and crisp and I was completely surprised at the end to learn they shot the flick on film. I think going that extra mile for some ‘authenticity’ definitely worked in favor of director Nick Lyon here as shooting on film definitely gives the movie a much ‘bigger’ feel to it.
For supplemental material, we get a Behind the Scenes featurette for ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, a gag reel and trailers for several other Asylum flicks. All standard stuff that was presented well.
Overall, if you go into ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE with your expectations in check, you just might find it to be a somewhat entertaining low-budget zombie flick that has just enough good stuff going on (and zombie tigers!) so that you don’t mind the bad stuff as much. If you’re up for Asylum’s brand of horror, there’s no doubt you’ll want to check out ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
Movie- 2.5 out of 5
Special Features- 3 out of 5