It is super rare for critics to agree on anything. It is absolutely unheard of for every critic I’ve seen thus far to gush over a foreign-made zombie/comedy flick with a ton of found-footage style camerawork tacked onto the beginning.
What is this miracle film bringing the masses together despite the chaos in the world?
One Cut of the Dead is a 2017 Japanese zombedy from writer/director/editor Shinichiro Ueda. Somehow the film lurked under everyone’s noses until it started the film festival circuit. Since then, it’s everywhere. Folks who generally snub the genre can’t stop praising the fun they had during their screening. Honestly, it feels somewhat like a dream the last few months as more and more information drops about OCotD. This can’t be real. The masses do not just rave about a low budget zombie film on this level. There has to be a catch, right? Not one that I can find. Currently the film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb users give it 8/10 stars, and the Google users rating is 91%. It’s not just critics hyping the piece anymore. Everyone’s onboard to ride the fun train to zombie slaughter town.
The key here is that the movie hooks viewers from the beginning. Opening with a single-take scene, it drops right into the middle of a harried director’s attempt to make a low budget zombie film. There’s problems everywhere, including a leading lady who can’t manage a single decent take of one particular scene. Bad acting quickly drops to their least important problem as real zombies invade the set and they’re forced to fight them off. Yes, this sounds impossible to produce as an uncut scene, yet there it is. If the footage from the trailer is any indication, the camerawork and editing during this opening sequence is some of the best from the genre in years.
Possible spoilers below!
What keeps viewers engaged is when Udea flips the plot on its head, taking the timeline back to show how the film crew got to that impressive zombie sequence. It’s a solid look at how filmmaking can be a comedy of errors at every turn, yet still provide a way for a person to reach above their station in the world to create something life-altering. Some critics call the non-zombie sections charming and heartwarming, again proving that this film is breaking all the rules of the genre.
Unfortunately, there’s no US distributor yet, so the only way to catch One Cut of the Dead is via a film festival. I highly doubt it’ll go long without landing on a streaming platform, though. We’ll totally be back with that news when it drops.
Thanks to the stinger at the end of TWD’s season eight, fans knew going into season nine that there would be quite a bit of drama around how, exactly, this newfound peace will be lead and nurtured to last into future generations. In order to make it work, they brought Maggie to the forefront to take over as leader for Hillside. It’s the perfect arrangement, putting the farmer’s daughter in charge of the farming community, and Maggie has the backbone to see that her people not only pull their own weight, but are showed the respect they deserve. “But we’ll see that Maggie is just, you know, she’s not gonna just fall in line with everything Rick’s doing because she has to take care of her own people now. She’s got her own agendas and she’s gonna follow them,” showrunner Angela Kang explained during The Walking Dead Season Nine Preview Special.
Too bad Rick disregarded that respect when he alone made the decision to keep Negan imprisoned in Alexandria.
As seen in a recent teaser, Negan doesn’t plan to sit quietly in a corner to rot under Rick’s watchful eyes. His monologue is manifestation of the fear eating at Maggie since the second Rick gave Negan the role as prisoner of war. The guy will never lay down and stop plotting to save himself. Matter of fact, Rick, Maggie, and their folks built the exact thing Negan strived for—a cooperating network of communities with a constantly flowing supply chain. The main difference is, there’s no preferential treatment in this new society. No room to grow into a management position and lord over everyone. For Negan, that’s a flaw he’ll gladly fix once he finds a way out of Rick’s little prison.
It won’t be an easy fight if Negan does get out. Probably. Maybe. In a clip from one trailer, there’s a call for help from the Saviors, with a reply echoing the group’s standard response when asked who they were. So obviously someone out there is still feeling loyal. But are they enough to upset the applecart this far down the road thanks to the time jump? Hilltop looks pretty secure in the few glances we’ve gotten from the various trailers/teasers. If Alexandria got the same sort of treatment, it might be enough to hold Negan in and his still loyal followers out. But none of that matters if Negan works his magic from the inside, playing with people’s heads. Not to mention, Negan has the added bonus of looking for gaps in everyone’s armor while they deal with the Whisperers.
A little quick casting news, since we’re here discussing Hilltop anyway. The production team announced the addition of two new characters straight from the comics (with a few changes to fit the story). Joining the bustling community for season nine is Brett Butler as Tammy Rose, and John Finn has been cast as Earl, Hilltop’s blacksmith.
Well, Syfy did it again. They withheld information about the starting date for Z Nation until a month before the premiere. Which is a tad annoying, given how supportive the fanbase has been since day one. You’d think they would be eager to share the good news with us, like in the past when the schedule was usually sorted around July. However, over the last few years, there’s been less and less press for the show from any official sources which aren’t the producers’ Twitter pages or behind-the-scenes selfies from the cast. Matter of fact, so few outlets have snagged this news, the only way to verify beyond social media that Z Nation does indeed return on October 5th was to find the little note on the show’s website banner.
The same frustration about the late announcement for the premiere date stretches over to the fact that there’s still no full trailer online, despite there being one floating around in the ether that was shown at SDCC in July. The best we have since then is a teaser attached to the announcement for the season five premiere. It is only available on Twitter from an official source, so that’s the link you get. At least it’s something to get us ready for next month, right?
In the teaser we’re given a glimpse at the latest generation of zombie, Talkers. There’s also a good look at a couple new characters. For most of the teaser, Katy O’Brian, as George St. Clair, gives Operation Bitemark the lowdown on the Talkers. In other clips, a man in a black hat and Warren face off with a zombie, and Murphy and 10k have their first encounter with a Talker. Bet Murphy’s surprised he’s not the only supernatural creature capable of holding a conversation anymore.
We’ll be back with news about Roberta and the gang soon. A. Zombie will bring you reviews for Z Nation after season five begins on October 5th at 9 PM.
On the back of what some critics call a misstep with his latest Cloverfield film, J.J. Abrams took a leap in a vastly different direction for his newest project, Overlord. Joining Abrams at the helm is director Julius Avery (Son of a Gun). The rated-R horror film is not connected to the Cloverfield franchise, according to Abrams in an interview from April. He went on to add that this new film is “bat shit crazy.” Which, honestly, I’ve got to agree after watching the trailer.
Overlord takes place during the brutally violent Battle of Normandy. American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines and make their move on a Nazi-occupied village. As they infiltrate the military operation, the paratroopers realize there’s something far more dangerous than Nazis waiting for them. “A thousand-year army needs thousand-year soldiers,” they’re told. Does their training cover fighting zombies?
One of the most striking things about the trailer, aside from that insane air battle, is the violence of the zombie transformation and movements. We’re seeing yet another variation of this creature, and it’s quite startling. The danger in the way they’re using computer graphics to enhance the actor’s performance and makeup is going too far, making the creature almost cartoony. It’s a fine line to walk. Many films who’ve gone this route have been dragged about the heavy-handed CG. No one is fooled by digital blood. Ever. Going off of what we’ve seen in the trailer and still photos, this team may have actually found a way to pull it off, though.
The only way to know for sure is to watch the film when it’s released. Overlord will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest, which runs September 20-27th in Austin, Texas. Julius Avery will be in attendance, along with the film’s stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, John Magaro, and Mathilde Ollivier. Overlord will then hit theaters nationwide on November 9th.
A couple years ago director Yeon Sang-ho made a name for himself within the horror genre with his unexpected hit Train to Busan (2016). It’s a well-earned spot. Busan had the potential to be just another locked “house” style zombie film. Instead it took the genre and gave it a fantastic, brutal twist. This is the kind of film you watch alone first to get the shouting out of your system, then show it to friends while watching their reaction. Despite how odd it feels to call a movie with so much blood refreshing, Busan is so different from the zombie media released in the last few years, it really does put a little pep in my step just knowing there’s still new ways to tell the age-old apocalypse story.
In the beginning of August, several reports appeared stating that Sang-ho has begun early pre-production for a sequel to his zombie masterpiece. When I say early, I mean really early. Contracts are still being drafted. There is a script, and the vague filming date of sometime early in 2019. Oh, and a name: Bando (Peninsula).
Sang-ho has clarified a few things about the upcoming film. Keep in mind, this is a second-hand translation, so some details may be off. “It is an extension of Train to Busan, after the virus has spread throughout Korea, but the characters are not the same. It shares the same world view and is a zombie action film that deals with the aftermath on the peninsula of what happened in Train To Busan.”
Fans of the original knew that the old cast probably wouldn’t make a return, but hope springs eternal for some reporters, it seems. Hopefully whoever they do bring onboard to star in Bando has a similar magnetic energy as Busan‘s Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, and Jung Yu-mi.
We’ll keep you updated if this movie does indeed begin production next year. Want to watch Train to Busan? It is currently available to stream via Netflix.
A Sons of Anarchy Star is the Newest Addition to TWD by R. C. Murphy
Casting news from the Walking Dead camp comes at a whirlwind pace nowadays. Over the last month or so, we’ve learned that season nine will introduce yet another survivor group, the Whisperers. This crew is straight from the comics, with their reign as Grimes’ adversary coming after All Out War wrapped, just as it is planned on the show currently. What makes the Whisperers different from other foes Rick’s group has faced is their heavy-handed use of undead skins to blend in with the creatures. The show has already announced actors for the Whisperers’ leader Alpha and her daughter Lydia—Samantha Morton and Cassady McClinty.
At the end of August, they announced that another Whisperer has come onboard. Beta, Alpha’s second-in-command, will be brought to life by Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy, Bates Motel). It’s not hard at all to imagine Hurst filling that all-too memorable walker skin mask. Matter of fact, just a day after the announcement, Hurst found himself in the makeup chair with his head covered in goop so the makeup magicians for the show can create said mask.
Fellow cast members wasted no time welcoming Hurst to the fold via social media. Some joked around a bit, possibly alluding to a gruesome plot line from the comics which may or may not happen; it depends on how much tweaking they have to do in order to not only make up for Carl’s absence, but also writing off two community leaders this season. However the Whisperers story line plays out, it’s bound to be incredible based on the casting news alone. There’s no way they’d squander this much talent.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 7th. Catch up on previous seasons via your favorite streaming service, or keep an eye out for one of the many mini-marathons AMC hosts at random.
Seems like just yesterday we sat down to discuss a new show from The CW that surprisingly brought the zombie genre into the rom-com fold with little fuss and quite a bit of laughter. Fast-forward five seasons, suddenly we’re counting down to the final days of cute brain foods and failed ‘ships for Liv.
Filming for iZombie‘s fifth and final season began the first week of August. Series stars Rahul Kohli and Rose McIver continue their longtime tradition of kinda live-tweeting their onset time together. There’s also the ongoing saga over whether Kohli’s new house is haunted or not, as witnessed by co-star/roommate Malcolm Goodwin. Either they’re working too many hours on the show and hallucinating, or someone didn’t ask for the property’s history before moving in and there’s a poltergeist waiting to yank Kohli into a glowing closet. Let’s hope it is more of the former than the latter.
So far it looks like Ravi will spend his usual amount of time dealing with dead bodies in and out of the morgue. Liv’s more human look is nowhere to be seen for this season so far. McIver’s from-set selfies are very much Classic Liv; the one who embraced her zombie features without apology even when the undead still lived under the radar. Which makes sense, Liv only donned the human disguise to perpetuate the Renegade myth easier. With Major installed as the head of the snake the team and Renegade’s people fought last season, there should be no need to sneak around curing sick people, right? Maybe the world will even grow to embrace the undead and not fear them. Though one can understand their hesitation thanks to the zombie army Fillmore-Graves amassed in Seattle.
Peace will be hard to come by, that we know for sure. To help the political side of the city’s plight play out, the production team is finally bringing the city council into the equation. Playing zombie city council member Zed is legendary NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Zed is one of just two council members who remained in Seattle after Fillmore-Graves triggered the outbreak which prompted a quarantine of the city. The second council member is a human and the differing opinions, plus the murder of the mayor, puts even more pressure on Peyton as she fights for all of Seattle’s residents equally.
It’ll be quite some time before we get an airdate for iZombie‘s final season premiere, but we’ll be here to bring you the news as soon as The CW makes its announcement.
There hasn’t been a wealth of information coming from the Z Nation camp while they film this summer. We got a peek at season five when the cast and producers took a break from the set for their SDCC panel, but as always, they kept the juicy bits close to their vest.
Until now, that is.
Looks like the post-apocalyptic world is expanding yet again. We’re finally getting names and faces for the long-teased NewMerica settlement. First up is someone you may recognize from another popular zombie show, Katy O’Brian. After her short stint on AMC’s The Walking Dead, finding footing in a slightly different version of the apocalypse should be a piece of cake. The big difference is, O’Brian is making the leap from an unnamed Savior character to what’s being billed as the hero of this newly found settlement.
O’Brian’s character Georgia (a.k.a George) St. Clair went from starting her first year of college to leading a group of student and teachers from her school all the way to NewMerica in the eight year span of the zom-poc so far. Using that trust, she’s shifted from survival mode to planning mode and is one of the political heads in the settlement who wants to form a new country. Unfortunately, that also puts her on the frontlines while dealing with the new breed of highly intelligent zombies.
I’m not sure what’s worse, dealing with the politics between Alexandria and the Saviors or being the one everyone looks to in order to fight an enemy with far more deadly potential than anything they’ve faced before.
Given how long both shows have been on the air, it’s only a matter of time before more actors like O’Brian make the jump to the SyFy series in order to expand their genre resume. And, hey, we’ll welcome them with open arms.
That’s about it for Z Nation news, save for a few from-set snapshots the cast posted late in August on Instagram. While there are rumors for a season five premiere date, I’ve found nothing official to confirm it just yet, so don’t believe everything you read when googling. That doesn’t mean you can’t hop on one of many streaming services to watch the previous seasons in a glorious, blood-drenched marathon, though.
We’ll be back with more Z Nation news as soon as they drop the premiere date for season five.
Earlier this summer we dropped some news about Jonathan Maberry‘s expansive franchise, V-Wars making the jump to the small screen. Netflix wasted no time getting the cast together to film up in Canada.
Which means it should come as no surprise that the air date for this show seems just as hasty.
Reports coming from, of all places, CatCon, say that the show’s star Ian Somerhalder suggested a premiere date as soon as March or April 2019. The franchise’s author repeated the statement when asked about the premiere on Twitter early in August. So there you have it, the newest man-eating nightmare will descend upon the living in no time at all, barring any production glitches or differing news from Netflix itself.
Speaking of glitches . . . . If you’re a fan who enjoys watching behind-the-scenes footage while the scenes are still being shot, some of the stars, like Adrian Holmes, have taken to Instagram to document their time on set. Which is how we got my favorite bit of news so far: Someone accidentally locked the keys in one of the show’s cop cars. No worries, they found someone to unlock the door and save the day without calling the actual police. Other from-the-set news includes the first look at Somerhalder’s character, Dr. Luther Swann. For anyone who wasn’t a The Vampire Diaries fan, you won’t understand why it’s a little weird to see Somerhalder in a on-set photo looking, well, like a regular human. He hit everyone’s radar on the flat side of the heartbeat, so it’s interesting to see him representing the living in his new series.
In a recent interview with PopSugar, the show’s star revealed why he just couldn’t stay away from the potential he sees in V-Wars. “[V-Wars] has a message. I loved my experience and my family on The Vampire Diaries, but [with V-Wars] we get to tackle real, social issues without bludgeoning people over the head.” Somerhalder went on to add, “There’s no rating on the show, so it’s actually a lot more realistic. The way things happen in life, you can show. The social issues that you’re not able to address in network television, you can intertwine them into a fictional narrative that actually is not that far away from the truth. It is a genre show, but the performances are so grounded in truth that they’re hair-raising. We’re working very, very hard, and I hope you guys like it.”
Can’t wait to see the cast or Jonathan Maberry’s words in action? You might want to take a look at the program for New York Comic Con closer to the event’s starting date. Maberry announced his attendance at the event earlier this month and suggested that the show’s cast may also be there that weekend. In what capacity, I’m not sure. None are on the official guest list as of this moment and it’s too far out for the panel schedule to be released. NYCC takes place in NYC at the Javits Center on October 4-7.
We’ll be back with more V-Wars news when it happens. Hopefully there’s some real promo shots in the near future. The Instagram snapshots are fun, but I don’t think we’ve gotten a real look at these characters just yet.
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
With the official countdown to the season 9 premiere underway, it was only a matter of time before we got more casting news from The Walking Dead. They’re hard at work, wrapping up Rick and Maggie’s final season with as much energy as possible. Which is probably why the production team brought in one of the comic series’ most talked about foes to be the newest bump in the survivors’ path to their long-promised utopia. Everything I hear about this group sets my hair on end. Who on earth goes around wearing zombie skin all the time? There’s not enough soap on earth to make that okay.
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
The show’s producers dropped Samantha Morton’s name during the 2018 SDCC panel, announcing her role as Alpha and officially presenting what will likely be the Big Bad for the season, the Whisperers. Alpha is their leader. She has a daughter in the comics, Lydia. That character will make the jump from page to screen, brought to life by Cassady McClincy (Love,Simon).
Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
That’s about where the assumptions about Lydia start and stop. Her comic storyline centered on a relationship with Carl which makes her switch teams. With him out of the picture, it’ll be interesting to see if they simply shift her plot onto another character or if Lydia will find a completely different secondary life outside the comics, much like Morgan’s story changed as he kept returning to the show. Will she be a monkey wrench in the plan to build a modern society or shift loyalty to help further distance the living from walkers, whereas her mother clings to the dead like a security blanket? The potential for Lydia is endless without Carl there.
Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Cooper Andrews as Jerry – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
In other news from the set, AMC released a handful of images from season 9. For the most part they cover the process of reclaiming old technology, as the cast and producers discussed earlier this summer. There’s also some clues about how the time jump has affected some of our favorite characters. And, boy, can I hear some ‘ships sinking as I type. Looks like Carol and Ezekiel have moved past the awkward kinda flirting stage at last. This photo set also answers questions about how long Jadis/Anna and the Saviors would actually stick around to help. To be honest, I thought Jadis would fall back to a minor character, but there she is, on a salvage mission with the other community leaders.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 7th. Keep an eye out here for updates as we get closer to the premiere.