Monday With Mildred: “Escaping the Dead”

This is a Zombie World Tour

Escaping the Dead movie poster

Escaping the Dead

It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a zombie world tour to a new country. The zombie craze has slowed some, for one thing, and it’s almost always regular players like the US, the UK who turn out films. I live in hope, though, for more Zombie World Tour trips since there are so many countries left empty on my map that make great movies. Just not with zombies.

This week I went to Denmark, where Copenhagen seems to be the Pittsburgh of the European zombie world. The father of zombie films, George Romero, used his home state of Pennsylvania and the largest city of Pittsburgh a few times. He also had a lot of people trying to be a zombie in his films. Judging by the number of credited zombies in Escaping the Dead, a lot of Danes are just as enthusiastic to portray ripped up dead humans wandering around looking for brains.

I didn’t expect much from this film, because it was cheap to purchase, the trailers from the production company all looked awful, and the main menu looks like a high school student drew a quick sketch from a verbal description of a couple of characters. Not terribly promising. For a while I felt vindicated in my skepticism, because the main character story was told slowly and in great detail for a good long while before we see any zombies. The hero of this tale is a very small time meth maker and super stoner who is working for some guys he doesn’t really understand. They’re a lot more dangerous than he thinks. Finally we end up at a rave, complete with a couple of Muslim stoners jumping around on the dance floor, and darned if there isn’t a new designer drug going around that causes your skin to rearrange itself on your body before you get the munchies. Fresh flesh only, please.

Our small time dealer isn’t a total jerk. He pisses in a bottle instead of on the bridge he’s crossing, and mostly helps people once the zombies show up. Because there are so many zombies there are a lot of zombie kills. My favorite is him taking out the Girl Gang o Zombies, which made me laugh until I noticed there are precious few female characters throughout the film. His mom shows up, some rave dancers are women, and about half the zombies are female. Makeup is uneven, mostly middle of the road blue and grey face that sometimes doesn’t reach their shirt collar, with some funny moments like a woman zombie cradling her gut harness like she would a pregnancy-swollen belly. I kinda didn’t blame her because the makeup artist didn’t seem to understand just how those work.

The film is obviously made on the super cheap, with mostly nighttime shooting in mostly deserted areas of the city. The acting isn’t bad, but these are about a B- level group who now and then show a glimmer of goodness. The zombie actors aren’t terrible, but nowhere near as good as the gold standard The Walking Dead. The music ranged from heavy metal to death metal, and the soundtrack sometimes sounded like an underpowered air raid siren, which worked better than you might think. The director did a nice job of keeping the film more nuanced than a standard cheap film, once using a single handheld light source to keep the viewer beautifully in the dark as the characters fled the undead. I even put a star in front of that note.

I was surprised to see that the small time stoner lead was also the director of the movie. He has created a solid entry in the zombie movie genre, though not a stellar one. He got a lot right, using a lot of traditional tropes and imagery and keeping the action going once we got to actual zombies showing up. The camera moves enough to keep things mostly interesting and the acting is not the worst I’ve seen. If you feel like practicing your Danish language skills, check this movie out, and don’t forget to stick a pin in your Zombie World Tour Map.

LINKS: 

ESCAPING THE DEAD – Official Trailer (2017) – Thriller Horror Zombie Genre Film (HD)

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