Cinepub


Zombie Month: Against the Dark (2009) by Jamie

Steven Seagal. He’s a person who exists. Actor, Musician, Martial Artist and Cop. These are all things that he is. Well, actor may be debatable. He has been in films playing people who aren’t himself and if that makes you count as an actor then I guess he is. Why am I talking about Steven Seagal? Because he just so happens to be in this here film I’m reviewing today, ‘Against the Dark’. Yes, a Zombie film starring Steven Seagal. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, I suppose first we should establish just what type of Zombie’s we’re dealing with here. They’re far from your traditional shuffling horde. In fact they’re more akin to your ‘28 Days Later’ infected style. They’re not dead, just infected with a horrible disease that makes them mindless cannibals. Or does it? You see, as the film progresses the Zombies begin revealing that they are actually quite intelligent even having the ability to speak. This would be great of this developed into a moral quandary for the characters about whether or not killing clearly intelligent human-like beings was right or wrong but, well, it doesn’t. Basically it’s kind of trying to be like the novel ‘I Am Legend’ with characters wondering aloud whether or not, since the infected outnumber the non-infected, they are the true monsters. Again, this’d be great if this actually had any effect on the character’s decisions but it doesn’t. In fact there’s one point where one of the infected, a recently turned survivor who had been their friend, begins explaining exactly what it means to carry the disease and they shoot her pretty much without hesitation. Well in my mind that makes this entire plot development entirely pointless.

So the story is basically a bunch of survivors are trapped in a hospital, trying to get to a security door, the safest exit point, before the emergency generator shuts itself down and they are trapped for good… or have to try and find a less safe exit. Entering the hospital later are a group of Hunters, people who go around slaughtering the infected and saving survivors. They are led by Steven Seagal who’s basically playing a Blade like character… If Blade was a fully human, bloated white man who seemed like he was incredibly bored by the end of the world that was going on around him. Seriously, the first time you hear Seagal talk in this film he sounds like fucking Tommy Wiseau from ‘The Room’. It’s fucking atrocious.

To be fair though, it’s not hard to see why he’s bored. There is nothing in here that hasn’t been seen before and done infinitely better. The survivors don’t seem to particularly care about each other, often running off and leaving whoever’s left behind to their fate which makes them all pretty unlike able. That’s a bit of a problem when you’re expected to empathise with these characters. Why should I be concerned about them when they couldn’t give a fuck about each other? In fact the only ones who seem to care are the Hunters and you get the impression they aren’t doing it because they want to help these people but because they want to show of their cool fighting skills. Speaking of which, Steven Seagal’s fighting skill that is most on display here is standing in place and swishing his sword around a bit, sometimes in slow motion. I swear there are several times when it’s blatantly obvious that the sword went nowhere near the Zombies and yet they died anyway. Maybe he was channelling special Buddhist energy through the sword that killed them anyway. I’m not sure; I don’t know exactly what super powers Buddhism gives you. It does give you super powers, right? Otherwise all that meditating seems pretty pointless.

Is there anything positive to say about this film? Well, Keith David is in it. Unfortunately he seems just as bored as Seagal and he’s scenes are few and far between. He’s playing the head of a military unit who have been ordered to bomb the shit out of the sector that the hospital is located in… Wait, what? There’s still an operational military? Then how the fuck is this infection still a problem? You see, these Zombies share something else in common with their cousins from ‘I Am Legend’ and that is that they hide in buildings during the day. Now, if this is the case then why has it gotten to this stage with so few survivors if the military still has the ability to bomb the shit out of places. The survivors all now to move about outside during the daytime so finding stragglers shouldn’t be difficult and then you just bomb the place while the infected are all asleep or doing whatever it is they do during the daytime. I’ll even allow a brief period where you evacuate all the cities of survivors and try and find a cure. If you still have a fully operational military after all that has happened and have decided a cure isn’t viable than what the shit are you waiting for? Bomb the fuckers.

I understand that my suggested course of action doesn’t jive with my earlier statement about killing intelligent beings who just happen to have different dietary requirements but the military doesn’t seem to know about this and they’re shown to be quite willing to bomb a group of survivors as well as long as it ensures their survival. Besides if no one else gives a fuck that the infected are still able to rationalise, think and speak then why should the military?

I know, I’m thinking way too much about a Steven Seagal Zombie film. I should probably stop now before I do myself a mischief. I’ll just wrap up by saying that this film was boring. So boring the people in it seemed bored. I’ll rate ‘Against the Dark’ one pint out of five. Laterz… I pray to the Zombie Gods that I come across a good film in this bunch soon…

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