Projections - Movie Reviews


Mungo McKay, Felicity Mason, Dirk Hunter and Emma Randal

Rated: R
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 1, 2005 Released by: Lions Gate Films

There isn't a shortage of zombies at the cineplexes of late, and the very low-budgeted Undead offers fans a crude campy sci-fi spin on the genre. But, the horror depicted by twins Peter and Michael Spierig is mostly uninspired with many scenes in serious need of trimming.

The Aussie writer-directors use the sleepy small fishing village of Berkeley, Queensland as their setting. A meteor shower will induce an epidemic leading to an invasion of the walking dead.

George A. Romero's Land of the Dead had at least an interesting mindset for the ravenous hordes who seemed to have recollections of life prior to their new hellish existence. This one just piles on the gore with little imagination concerning them, just to allow more unexpectedly effective visuals with more otherworldly affection.

The survivors aren't sequestered in a Trump-like hotel paradise as in Romero's latest, but come upon the best character in the film, Mungo McKay's Marion, a wild hirsute marksman. Marion runs the local gun shop and holds up some younger folks, led by the rather appealing Rene (Felicity Mason), the current beauty queen of Berkeley.

It's evident that the Spierigs have watched the "Evil Dead" pictures and have definitely created some broad, if hardly layered characterizations. Only McKay and Mason register among the humans who include a couple of constables (Dirk Hunter, Emma Randal), both awfully clueless even in a perilous plight.

The dialogue is nearly as lackluster and uninspired as the poorly dubbed High Tension. But, at least that French picture packed more chills with less entrails as it set up its incredible narrative twist. The major confrontation between the zombies and survivors doesn't pack much of a visceral punch with more than its share of uneventful passages. Maybe the flying entrepeneur played by Rob Jenkins, boyfriend of Rene's very pregnant ex-beauty queen competitor, could have been used to help Undead take off, because this slightly irreverent variation on Romero's genre trappings never arrives.

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Undead       D+       D+

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