Friday, October 12, 2012

Humans vs. Zombies

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Humans vs. Zombies – 1 out of 5

Do you like your zombie movies filled with bad acting, unconvincing character interaction, pointless aerial shots that act as establishing shots, a soundtrack that sounds like Creed covering Nickleback in a way they think Five Finger Death Punch would do it and very few zombies within a meandering, go nowhere story that’s an adaptation of a LARPing game?  Well, my specifically minded friend, Humans vs. Zombies is the movie for you.

Really?  Who would have thought a game frat boys play in the quad would fail
as a survival/horror film.

Imagine my surprise when I put Humans vs. Zombies in my DVD player and found out it’s actually a historical drama about the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.  Ha, I’m fucking with you--it’s about zombies!  This independent B-movie stinker proves that it’s not just Hollywood that has run out of original ideas to make movies on but all of society as a whole as HvZ is a adaptation of the college Live Action Role-playing Game (LARP) Humans vs. Zombies.  It’s basically tag with NERF guns and zombies.  It’s actually pretty fun and the larger the scale of a game, the more enjoyable it becomes.  However, is it worthy of making a movie out of?  Even a generic zombie movie filled with really bad acting?  Hell no.  But it opens the door for my script based on the game of Freeze Tag to finally be bought.

I can only assume that we are about to see money exchange hands after the guy
with the NERF gun lost the bet of Humans vs. Zombies actually making money.

Okay, so the story to HvZ is your standard zombie story…zombie outbreak occurs and some viciously underdeveloped characters try to survive it.  Honestly, there’s not much deeper.  Sure the movie tries to offer up some depth by hinting that those who served in the military and were exposed to chemical weapons may have a surprise for them with the zombies and they try to offer up a religious debate (pretty much stolen from Dawn of the Dead) about how the outbreak is penance for the sinful ways of man (even though the film opens with the zombie virus being made in a lab) but when your final product looks like the script was probably written in crayon (and by written, I mean the script was probably a series of poorly drawn pictures) the dialogue proves impossible to create any type of intellectual stimuli or create any thought-inducing deep insights into the seemingly faith-lost ways of humanity, so these attempts become more events of unintentional comedy than pretentious deep filmmaking that the filmmakers were probably aiming for.

Glenn Danzig sure let himself go...

With a story that is about as original as the idea of sleeping at night and waking up when the sun comes up, it’s no surprise that the film is just stealing or plain old ripping off ideas, concepts and scenes from other films.  I already mentioned the “when there’s no more room in Hell” scene being ripped off from Dawn of the Dead but this movie took it even further as they decide to ripe off Max Brook’s infamous book The Zombie Survival Guide.  One of the characters carries a book called The Zombie Apocalypse around with him that gives tips on surviving the outbreak.  I’m sure the filmmakers would say they are showing respect to Brook’s work with this obvious reference but how would they right off blatantly stealing a scene (almost shot-for-shot) from Pitch Black?  Remember when Riddick said it looks clear and the alien came jumping out and almost killed the bounty hunter character and Riddick points out that he said it LOOKED clear?  Yeah, they steal that scene.  But I guess they thought no one saw that movie...but no one seeing a movie falls more towards the HvZ camp than the Riddick-infused awesomeness that was Pitch Black.

When doing a zombie movie, there are two key elements to make the movie (and no, gore is not one).  You need the undead and you need survivors.  To make a great zombie movie, you need survivors that you care about and want to continue to be among the warm-blooded or, worse case, actually feel sadness when they end up being zombie food.  To cheer on their struggle to safety, you need the looming threat of zombies on them, gnashing at their heels.  The problem is Humans vs. Zombies fails at both these requirements.

It's nice to see Guy Pearce's unwashed, autistic clone get some work.

First off, the human survivors are a collection of A-holes.  I don’t mean they are terrible people, I mean they are lifeless, sometimes confusing characters that offer up no real desire to be emotionally connected to them.  Sure this comes from the fact that the actors portraying them are terrible (and I’m not saying that to be mean but they literally should consider a new line of work and have their IMDb pages revoked) but with a weak, generic script their combination came together like a perfect storm of B-movie greatness. Bad acting and bad script means you’re going to laugh your ass off as you watch them struggle.  You’ll also laugh your ass off as you start to wonder if these actors are even familiar with the most basic human emotions…especially when you watch the Gamer Girl (I’m sure they have names but they’re all cardboard cutouts in the end and when your senses are assaulted by bad filmmaking, it’s hard to remember their names when you can’t help but make fun of the movie…oh, and how do I know she’s a gamer? She all but comes out and tells you she’s one) anyway, a true treat in this movie is watching the Gamer Girl cry and proceed to pick her nose--both nostrils!  I started to wonder if she was removing a nose ring but I don’t remember her wearing one but even if that was the case, how often does a person start crying over a horrific event and then instantly remember they have to take out their nose ring?

Then there’s the zombies…you get a small glimpse of them at the beginning of the film when two college dorks are making out on the beach (and the gratuitous big breasted blond is wearing a bra and underwear rather than a swimsuit—or maybe bikinis now have lace and ribbons on them) but then you have to deal with over a half an hour of not seeing one.  By that time I already was considering suicide as a totally logical escape from the bad acting and I no longer cared about the existence of zombies in the movie.  Not to mention the zombies offer no real threat to the survivors as when they are locked in a building, the undead just kinda stand outside, looking inward and occasionally pounding on the window or door.

Aw, that zombie is crying...crying blood.

On all levels, this movie fails but no bigger fail comes at the reality that the filmmakers were either not watching their finished product or never reviewed their script.  By doing this, they made their already weak characters come off as complete morons.  What am I talking about?  Well, there’s literally a scene where some of the guys are driving to a party and they listen to the radio talk about a zombie virus outbreak.  They then immediately see a zombie and ask what it is.  Unperturbed, they move on and go to the party.  Then, about ten minutes later in the movie, the zombies attack their college campus and they ignorantly asks, “What are those things?”  I found myself yelling at the television, “You all listened to the radio blatantly tell you there’s a zombie outbreak. WHAT. THE. FUCK?!?”

The man has a natural duck face...that should be illegal.

I expected a horrible B-movie when I sat down to watch this one but was surprised that in the opening credits, it looked like there was some production value to the movie…then the acting started and the movie took off.  Humans vs. Zombies only has a single redeeming factor mixed in with its bad acting, lame story, lack of character development, poor quality gore and everything else that doesn’t work in this movie (basically everything) and that is this movie, because of its bad quality, ends up becoming one of those great unintentionally hilarious experiences.  Yes, within all the epically bad elements this movie throws at you, it’s easy and fun to make fun of and instantly makes this a movie to watch.


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