Zombie movies can be easy to make because they are relatively cheap to produce. All you need is an isolated area for the characters to hold up in and some no name actors for fodder. The only area of the budget that needs to be high is the makeup and blood effects, especially if you’re eschewing any type of deep meaning for rock’em and sock’em bloodletting. Films about the undead taking over the world are rife with artistic potential. Themes like Men vs Themselves and Soul vs Physical body can be explored like no other genre can. Or like Romero has done in the past it can be used as a metaphor about consumerism and the counterculture. Ewe Boll’s “Zombie Massacre” does pretty much nothing with that potential.
Before I get to the summary, and this might be a sad admission, but since I am somewhat familiar with you Ewe bolls previous work I thought the disc started right up into the movie like some other discs do. There were a lot of quick edits of people shooting zombies and news reports all set to hard rock music. I actually thought it was a novel approach, creating a quick yet semi-deep back story by previewing what has led up to the beginning of the film. Alas it ended up just being a chaotically edited zombie preview from another movie. Once I started the actual film, the opening scene was laughably bad. The Secretary of State and a U.S. General, both with heavy accents, dish out all the bad exposition needed. They need to secretly go into an infected town and blown up a nuclear reactor, wiping out everything, including all evidence. This is only a vehicle to give a quick rundown of the team of “master assassins” that will be on the job. They are the usual roughnecks with various degrees of specialties and names like Mad Dog, Dragon and obviously the main tough guy’s name is Jack Stone.
The first third of the movie is extremely talky. Unless you’re going for an artistic approach or something with deeper meaning you’re better off leaving dialogue to a minimum and get straight to the action. Yes, it’s good to have some character development but when the characters repeat the same hackneyed tough guy lines over and over again it doesn’t achieve anything. Another dramatic killer is that the few emotional scenes there are ring hollow. One of the mercenaries just lost a lifelong friend by blowing his brains out after turning into a zombie however he is laughing five minutes later about something else.
We know by now that artistic integrity is out the window, so we’re left with just enjoying this on a pure action level. The action is terrible. In this type of movie where the action should be the only redeeming quality it is ultimately anemic. Shots have almost no bass impact and a 9 mm and a shotgun apparently sound the same. Early on a man kills a zombie with repeated blows to the head with a brick however it is so unrealistic that it’s almost like it’s supposed be slapstick but it’s not. People throw away guns because they’re out of ammo even though they have ammo in their ammo vest. Every 10 minutes or so the group will dispatch another group of zombies and after the third time this happens in the exact same manner as the previous two a guy says “Jesus chief, this is getting serious.” Also, maybe it’s the germaphobe in me but nobody is ever worried about the possible blood splatter that could happen in their faces. Mad Dog does many point blank headshots when he is screaming right in the zombie’s faces. The soldiers continually make a point that they are running out of ammo however they shoot television cameras to break them instead of using a blunt object. And near the end a car that was working perfectly fine just minutes earlier suddenly won’t start now that zombies are running towards it.
I’m fairly certain everyone involved with the cast and production is suffering from arrested development. All the actors try to strike “cool” poses that maybe only pre-adolescent boys would appreciate. The woman with the swords is always striking a pose even when there’s no call for it. We get it, you’re a master swordsmith. After all this, the most offensive bit by far is Ewe Boll as the cuss-mouth U.S. President. Not only can you detect his German accent it almost seems amplified and there is no explanation for it. The icing on the cake is the ending which happens to be the most de-attached ending I’ve ever seen. It just makes no sense considering what came before it.
And now for the pros. The make-up is actually quite good. Oh and that lady’s Rocky II tiger jacket in sleeveless denim form.
Presented in its OAR of 2.39:1, Zombie Massacre’s 1080P image is certainly more pleasing than the film itself. It was shot digitally which leaves little room for error. Colors are muted for most of the movie which tends to leave it being a flat experience. The blood fares the best boasting some nice reds although sometimes it looks little muddy.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is fairly serviceable as the music and sound effects help create a clear and immersive experience. There is some low end but nothing that will blow your zombie head off. As noted earlier gunshots are anemic lessening the impact significantly.
Extras are slim as there are a couple of trailers and a short Storyboard feature with a small introduction. The most substantial extra is “Superfreak: The Making of Zombie Massacre.” Easily the best and only worthwhile quote from this extra is one of the directors saying “We did not have a clue about how to make another movie”
If I had those 90 minutes back I could’ve planted a rose garden. I could’ve volunteered at an orphanage. I could’ve watched Schindler’s List. This is barely SyFy level quality. Recommended to people who hate themselves.