A government project goes badly awry, as all government projects do, and, just as inevitably, a plague of zombies is loosed upon the local community. A group of high school students are the only ones able to mount any kind of defense against the flesh-eating ghouls. Sounds reasonable to me.
Writer/editor/director Steven C. Miller and friends put this together for a mere $30 0000, and for that, they should be applauded. The effort is surprisingly slick and sick, and many of the gore effects are effectively done. The zombies themselves, though, are a bit slapdash in appearance. The high school characters are so familiar, furthermore, that they barely qualify as characters. Then there’s the odd decision to shoot the action so that all movements have the herky-jerky, headache-causing aspects that suggests that the entire film was shot on a cell phone. And did I mention that the film ends on a “To Be Continued” cliffhanger?
A mixed bag here. The dialogue has an rather detached quality to it, the sort of thing one associates with dubbing. The plentiful rock score also sounds disappointingly thin, and thus doesn’t provide the action the kick it is clearly meant to. The main score, on the other hand, is big, deep and impressive, doing its job very well.
The box lies. The 2.35:1 widescreen aspect is NOT anamorphic. This would normally be a problem, especially on larger screens, but as the film is so grainy to start with, there is no degradation in the picture as far as the transfer is concerned. The all-important gore, I’m happy to report, is spectacularly red and wet. The colours as a whole are strong, as are the contrasts.
Miller is joined on the commentary track by producers William Clevinger and Mark Thalman, and their enthusiasm for their project is certainly infectious. This carries through to the “Trials and Tribulations” making-of featurette, whose homebrew qualities are more endearing than the usual corporate fluff. The deleted scenes (some of which are montages of clipped moments) also see Miller providing commentary. Miller’s short feature, “Suffer or Sacrifice” is on offer too, as are two music videos: “Can You Hear Me Now?” by Blinded Black and “Arsenaholic” by Dancefloor Tragedy. The usual trailers are present too.
No zombie masterpiece this, though its energy and gore are praiseworthy. But what does that title mean?