A. Zombie Reviews… 2012: Zombie Apocalypse

by A. Zombie

Rated: R (Strong zombie violence and gore.)

Starring: Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, and Johnny Pacar.

Is there a complaint form available for an undead guy being tortured by a group of slayers? Honestly, forcing me to watch a Syfy movie and then retain enough of my decomposing brain cells in order to review it is cruel and unusual punishment. Governments have laws against this sort of treatment. It isn’t fair that those laws only extend to the living. I want to call my senator!

I still have to review the movie, don’t I? Let’s get this over with.

2012: Zombie Apocalypse (2011) was the Syfy channel’s answer to the current trend in zombie-related movies and television shows. Essentially, they took every single genre stereotype and crammed it into a ninety-minute film.

A virus sweeps over the globe and infects over 90% of the population in a matter of weeks, turning them into ravenous corpses. In an effort to contain the zombies, the United States government wipes out all modes of transport and communication.

After being holed up in a cabin during the beginning of the outbreak, a trio of survivors is forced out of hiding to find supplies. As they gather food, they are attacked and nearly-simultaneously saved. The survivors band together with their rescuers to stay alive. The group decides to head west—where there’s been a rumor of a safe haven on Catalina Island off the coast of California.

The dialog is predictable, as are the frequency of zombie attacks and the method of their demise. Half of the cast didn’t seem to know the hell to hold the weapon they’d been given, let alone how to swing it in a way that’d believably kill anything more threatening than a dust bunny. And can we stop with the computer-generated blood splatter, already? It never looks right. Use the extra money from that to buy backup wardrobe pieces and use real fake blood.

While I’m on makeup effects…there are typically a few “layers” from camera to background as far as extras are concerned. The zombies closer to the camera are “hero” zombies, extras or stunt persons who have extensive work done on their makeup for close-up shots. Back from them are main zombies, who are made up to be on camera a good amount of time, but not with enough detail for close ups. Behind those are “filler”—extras with minimal makeup, a lot of blood, and never get close to camera. Sometimes when a makeup department is small, they will make up masks similar to the zombie look needed for the film and put those on the filler extras. You shouldn’t be able to count seven of these masked extras in frame. It looked awful, watching them run right up to the camera and seeing the latex masks jiggle.

My final word on 2012: Zombie Apocalypse—Zombie Tigers. That is when I quit the movie.

I’m giving this film two-and-a-half partially-eaten brains out of five. If you want to torture yourself or friends, go ahead. Grab some popcorn and adult beverages; you’re going to need them to get through the whole thing unscathed.