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Zombie Month: Apocalypse of the Dead by Jamie

Right, I’m pretty much running on fumes at the moment. I’ve slept for five hours out of seventy-two and things are starting to go wrong. My vision isn’t working properly and the world has a weird silverish gleam to it. Maybe I fell asleep and this is actually all a dream which will piss me off when I wake up and find out I haven’t actually written anything. Fuck it. Let’s go on.

So what does the fourth day of Zombie Month have in store for us? Well, it’s a little low-budget film from Serbia called ‘Apocalypse of the Dead’ (Zone of the Dead outside the UK) and it’s the first thus far to star an actual member of Zombie film royalty, Ken Foree of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ fame… Or for those of you who may not have seen ‘Dawn of the Dead’, Ken Foree of Keenan’s dad from Keenan and Kel fame. I truly hope that one day he’ll get his wish and get to take a zombified Kel out one of these days.

Foree plays an Interpol agent who, along with his partner who insists you call him Dragon, must accompany rookie agent Mina Milius as she transports an unnamed prisoner to another location. Before all that happens though, we’re treated to an opening scene where some people dig up a few bones of old plague victims. One man scratches himself on one of the bones and dies before rising as a Zombie… Wait a minute. Are they saying the plague caused Zombism in it’s victims? If that were true than surely the world would have ended a long, long time ago and there’d be no one around to dig up those bones in the first place. Seriously, are you expecting me to believe that Medieval man could have survived the Zombie Apocalypse? That’s a leap of logic and a suspension of disbelief that I’m afraid I just cannot accept.

Anyway, the scene cuts to a few years later and some people at a train station. Apparently the trains aren’t running because of a military operation in the area much to the chagrin of a professor waiting for a train that isn’t coming. He goes to phone his wife but all the phone lines and mobile phone networks are down, presumably because of the same military operation for some reason. Seriously, the whole country shuts down because the military are practicing basic manoeuvres or something to show of to the Americans who are watching them. That seems to be the gist of what’s going on here anyway… I’m just not sure. Let’s just say the country of Serbia has shut down because the military are playing silly buggers or something.

Whilst the professor is making the call, a fight breaks out between a cop and some military men and a tanker filled with toxic gas that has just pulled into the station is punctured with a bullet. The gas leaks and everyone get’s infected bar the professor who manages to get a gas mask on in time. He thinks everyone around him is dead so it comes as something of a shock when they start rising and trying to attack him. He flees the station.

Meanwhile the aforementioned prisoner move is underway. This seems to be the perfect time to carry out a high risk operation of this nature. I literally can’t think of a better time than when all communications have been effectively knocked out due to this vague military operation. Anyway, they take the prisoner of on their journey. The prisoner is an enigmatic character, never given a name nor are we told exactly what crime he committed. Still, it becomes clear that he seems to know something about these Zombies as time goes on.

Meanwhile the professor runs into a few other survivors including a maniac who’s uber religious and basically has a hard on for The Book of Revelations as well as some generic people who have no defining characteristics of import. Eventually all our characters meet up and traditional Zombie fighting ensues. Dragon turns Zombie, which is what you get for having the hubris to call yourself Dragon, the professor dies, the prisoner helps out and is allowed to go free. It’s also revealed that he knows about the nature of the Zombies because his father was involved in the Chernobyl disaster.

Hang on… I thought the Zombies where created by the plague. I guess I’d just assumed that the tanker that got shot in the train station was carrying a gaseous form of the plague virus… Now I guess the implication was that it was some kind of nuclear waste which means what the fuck was the point of that bit in the beginning with the plague victims? Unless the power plant at Chernobyl was being powered by the plague… Is that what they’re trying to suggest?

Anyway, as the prisoner walks of into the sunset, Foree tells the rookie not to worry as his first field mission was a complete fuck up as well. Is this the way Interpol actually operates? If it is might I suggest not putting rookies in charge of transporting possibly dangerous people? I’m starting to think that at one point Interpol might have actually caught Bin Laden but a newbie accidentally let him go free and the whole thing was covered up. This movie makes it seem as though that’s a thing that could have actually happened.

So yeah, that’s pretty much this movie. It’s a bizarre mess of a plot with things happening seemingly completely at random. Sometimes the Zombie’s can run, sometimes they shamble in classic Romero style. Perhaps the most annoying thing about them is something which seems to be happening a lot in Zombie films lately, the bizarre noises they make. They sound like the sound effects guy from Jurassic Park worked on this movie. Seriously people, these are reanimated corpses we’re dealing with here, not velociraptors.

It also has a few amusing references to past Zombie works such as one of the agents being named Savini. The best reference comes in the form of the greatest/worst line I’ve ever heard in a film. Towards the end, Ken Foree starts talking about a crazy old man who would wander the streets yelling things. I immediately thought I knew what was coming. “Just say it.” I said aloud to no one in particular as I was watching the film by myself. “Just say ‘When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.’” Then the movie surprised me. The words “Hell is going to overflow and the dead will rise… forever.” spewed from Ken Foree’s mouth and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Seriously? That’s what you’re going with movie. Basically, the same phrase but so mangled and awkward that it becomes a source of hilarity? Good show movie, good show.

Finally, I just wanna say a word about the bizarre dubbing this movie employs. It seems to be completely random with regards to how is employed. The weirdest thing is that guessing by their mouth movements, all of the dubbed characters were speaking in English to begin with. I guess the reason could be that the Serbian accents were considered too thick for foreign viewers but if that’s the case, why didn’t you dub the woman with the most bizarre accent I’ve ever heard? It was so odd, it confused me. She pronounced the word manoeuvre as manurves…. Surely, if anyone needed dubbing it was her. I just don’t know.

So to sum up, ‘Apocalypse of the Dead’ was a terrible, terrible film. But you know what? Despite all of it’s many, many flaws, it was actually quite fun to watch. Probably be a good one to sit down with a few friends, drink a few beers and take the piss out of. I still can’t in good conscience give it any more than two and a half pints out of five but I feel that that rating’s probably a fair representation of the film as a whole. Laterz.

You can purchase ‘Apocalypse Of The Dead’ from the Cinepub Amazon.co.uk store.

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