Picture this: a movie is made as an adaptation of a video game created for the Amiga system (that’s right – the Amiga system!); its executive producer is Uwe Boll; its two directors have exactly zero English-speaking directing credits between them, and have instead spent the bulk of their career as ‘post-production supervisor’ and ‘cinematographer’, respectively; and the lead actor’s default IMDB tagline is ‘Snowy Cones Thug #1’ in Batman and Robin. How bad would you expect this movie to be? The movie in question is Eurohorror garbage Zombie Massacre and, no, it’s even worse than your expectations.
Zombie Massacre stars Christian Boeving as Jack Stone, a dangerous mercenary/convict released from prison on the down low by a creepy goateed general and contracted to do a secret assignment in eastern Europe. Seems that the Americans have been secretly experimenting with a certain chemical in a sleepy European town. When the chemical is accidentally loosed upon the unsuspecting populace, it turns them into mindless rampaging zombies, because that’s never been done before. Stone is tasked to deliver a nuclear device to the town and detonate it. When the plague is wiped off the earth, Stone will be a free man. To assist him in this task is the usual motley team of criminals for hire: John ‘Mad Dog’ McKellan, a bomb expert; Dragan Ilic, a sniper with the most ridiculous haircut this side of a Nicolas Cage movie; and Eden Shizuka, a martial arts master who is so badass that she doesn’t speak for 90% of the movie. While Stone is fighting for his freedom, the rest of the team is fighting for a few million in their bank accounts.
Naturally, it doesn’t take long for the plan to go spectacularly awry. Turns out that the creepy goateed general isn’t keen on letting anyone escape Zombieville, including his handpicked team. Once the timer on the bomb strapped to their truck is initiated, Mad Dog realizes that to try to remove it from the truck and drive away would cause instant detonation. The team is trapped and must find another way to escape the town or get blown up real good with the rest of the zombies. Race against time, etc.
Despite working from a premise so cliched that everyone in the entire western world has a half-finished screenplay just like it in their desk drawers, Zombie Massacre has the theoretical potential to turn out half-decent, but it is quickly hamstrung by its wretchedly ham-handed execution. You could call it an extended makeup reel, you could call it a (really) bad knock-off of Doom, but one thing you can’t call it is a coherent film. Multiple scenes and characterizations are so bad that it’s impossible to imagine anybody in a position of seniority attached to this picture really caring about the outcome. If I listed them all, we’d be here all day, so I’ll just list the lowlights:
— One particularly hilarious scene involves the creepy goateed general guy telling the analysts in his war room of sorts (which looks suspiciously like a couple of flat screens quickly mounted to the wall of a badly-lit garage) to pack up their crap and leave. Five minutes later, we’re back to the war room and everyone is still standing around watching the TVs. Better still, one of the analysts has a mustache groomed in a French curled handlebar style. I reckon the beret he’s wearing is standard issue in some branch of the military or another, but a Parisian baguette seller’s mustache? The casting director must have become confused when he/she saw the berets on the costume design manifest.
— Executive Producer and strong candidate for title of ‘Worst Director on Earth’ Uwe Boll cameos as the ‘President of the United States’ who quickly jumps into and out of the film about 1/4 of the way through to tell creepy goateed general to not fuck up his top secret mission. You can tell he’s the President of the United States, because he mentions his “ranch in Texas” amongst liberal application of the word “fuck”, one instance of which is attached to the phrase “fucking hookers”, all in Boll’s usual thick German accent. Seems like something the President would say, if the president was still George W. Bush and George W. Bush happened to grow up in Germany as an aspiring and untalented politician/film director. What, you didn’t expect Uwe Boll to make an effort when nobody else in this movie made one, did you?
— Uwe Boll’s one minute on camera is like lazy, untalented fingernails on a tedious and dull chalkboard. And yet he still isn’t the worst actor in the movie.
— For all the reasonably-good makeup in this movie (and about 1/3 of the zombies DO look awesome), Eden Shizuka looks an anemic Pebbles with makeup by Helen Keller.
— Another thought on the makeup: I’ve seen a couple reviews of Zombie Massacre where the zombie design was praised as “incredible” or “amazing”. It isn’t. It’s ok. Nitpickers will find a lot to dislike about the makeup, to be honest, most notably that several of the zombies are sporting obvious rubber masks and ill-disguised ones at that.
— The special effects are embarrassingly bad. I’ve seen better explosions and fire effects in free flash games on Facebook.
— Finally, the editing in this film is among the worst I’ve ever seen. Impossibly long and drawn-out conversations between characters are suddenly interrupted, totally out of context, by a close-up of a zombie growling and snarling at the camera. Cut to knowing look by character. Cut to close-up of zombie growling and snarling. Cut to character looking concerned, maybe drawing a gun. Cut to close-up of zombie growling and snarling. Cut to character aiming his gun. Cut to close-up of zombie growling and snarling. And so on. This happens over and over and OVER in Zombie Massacre. The cuts are so choppy and nonsensical that there is often no way to tell where characters are in relation to each other, let alone their position in the town they are trapped in. Shots just follow each other without explanation.
The zombie genre is so overloaded at this point that any director wishing to make a zombie movie will unavoidably fall into one of two categories – someone wishing to make a rote film and a quick buck or someone wishing to at least attempt to put a fresh spin on the subject. Zombie Massacre is mired firmly in the former category. I almost feel sorry for Luca Boni and Marco Ristori, two freshman directors who are clearly way over their heads here after being thrown to the wolves by Boll to complete a project that he decided to pass on. The Blu-Ray is light on special features, only containing the trailers, a storyboard, and a documentary titled ‘Superfreak: The Making of Zombie Massacre.” After watching the movie, I didn’t have the stomach to subject myself to the doc. It’s just not worth my time. And if I’ve done my job writing this review, you know by now that the film isn’t worth yours.