Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
This is also Zombie World Tour post!
Australia is the next stop on the Zombie World Tour. This country doesn’t turn out a ton of horror movies, and those are often based on real life events rather than the supernatural. No matter which kind you find you can expect something quirky and different from down under.
In Undead, a comet blasts toward Earth, disintegrating and perforating people in the bucolic, sepia-tinged town of Berkeley “Come Drop a Line” Australia. The chest-bursting Raimi style meteorites create instant zombies. One wipes out a little old lady who disappears for a moment and then springs up like an Olympian to begin laying waste. A duffer is exploded in front of family and fans, then begins his own rampage. Before anyone can escape from town, dark clouds roil over, creating an ever darker film and showering the world in an acid rain. Beams of light shoot down and carry the living into the heavens.
Then it gets weird.
The movie is funny if you’re into sight gags and well articulated foul language. The social commentary is literally stated out loud right up front by one of the characters, “Life is full of responsibilities.” Kudos, I guess, for not making us work it out for ourselves. This is also a huge foreshadowing of the end of the film.
Our gang of survivors somehow quickly end up trapped in local gun peddler Marion’s Ed Gein lite farmhouse where they must escape the growing horde of Evil Dead IIish undead. Renee is the small town beauty queen, Wayne and Sallyanne are the goofy and very pregnant odd couple, the profane (and hilarious) local police and his brand new deputy show up with guns and potty mouth blazing.
Marion was once abducted by acid rain spewing, pillars of light lugging creatures from space so everyone thinks he’s a nut, and after his paraphrasing of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, we get teasing flashbacks of the event. The ridiculously adept heroic character is so derivative of other heroic characters it’s difficult to distinguish all of them, except being dressed like Torgo from Manos: the Hands of Fate. Undead is a movie at war with itself. It pays homage constantly, like a cinematic Highlights, but I would have liked to see more original work. Homages are a mixed bag for me. They make me feel dumb when I know they’re going over my head, but I love it when I figure them out. As well, the horror is not always in aid of the comedy, which strains the funny somewhat because you need the threat of badness to sweeten the comedy.
I had trouble understanding the rules. Zombies are made by meteor strike and they don’t want brains. The zombie bites don’t seem to create new zombies though everyone else in the world but our heroes are undead, even after the meteors stop falling. When the sky clouds over fast and dump an acid rain on everyone it doesn’t seem to really do any damage, which doesn’t stop everyone stripping down to their cute undies, except for Marion’s heroic full monty. But then it appears to create now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t zombies.
The mall scene is set in the small local convenience store, and has some ooky zombie kills with the seemingly requisite stupid weapons. I know it’s a funny sight gag, but knowing an object could not possibly begin to do the damage shown on screen takes a lot of the zing out of the laugh.
The last fifteen minutes of the movie are a frenetic mess that really don’t make a lot of sense but finally bring some really, really original ideas to the film.
Depending on your mood, you may find Undead to be hilarious. The actors all play their note well, ranging from raving hyperbolic to deadly serious, and the special effects are first rate. If you like your zombie kills gory and funny, you will enjoy this. I appreciated how the filmmakers avoided being mean, and their obvious love and deep historical knowledge of the horror genre. Give this movie a try if you’re looking for something different.
NSFW!!!!!!! Undead Trailer