10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Inevitably, sometimes what you hear in advance of watching a movie can impact your reaction to it. I hadn't heard very many positives about the low budget indie "Zombie Hunter," even the usual comments about "worst movie ever," so my expectations as I sat down to view the film were admittedly low. And indeed, as the experience began, it didn't look like it held much promise. Strangely, though, this oddball film started to grow on me. It's not a great film, to be sure, or even a movie that I could recommend you buying on DVD/Blu-ray. But as the story progresses, it gets increasingly loopy in a rather enjoyable way. As someone who embraces this genre, "Zombie Hunter" is far from the worst I've seen. With occasional flashes of Bad Movie Magic (so bad, it's good), the film never tries to masquerade as great art. It knows, well from the start, that it is a silly bit of entertainment. And the fact that it never takes itself too seriously actually works in its favor.
Cobbled together from other better movies, the trajectory of the film's screenplay looks a little something like this:
1) Starts as a post-apocalyptic sojourn reminiscent of the "Mad Max" genre of filmmaking.
2) Settles into a standard zombie survival drama as a group band together in isolation.
3) A brief foray into an abandoned town that feels like an exploitation slasher from the seventies.
4) A big finale straight out of a sixties sci-fi with creatures that are inspired by Ray Harryhausen.
After a rather vague and uninspired intro meant to explain the zombie outbreak, the movie fast forwards to a time where the world has been completely overrun by the undead menace. We meet out hunter hero, Martin Copping, as a loner surviving the barren desert country. Despite the desolation, there are no shortage of creatures milling about. An isolated gas station, for example, provides for a random showdown. Copping is taken in by a group of bumpkins that touch all the expected stereotypes. Among their number, a horny teen, a virginal good girl, a unapologetic bad girl, and a stalwart leader named Jesús (played by the movie's star appeal Danny Trejo). All of the principles are but caricatures that you won't care much about, and they act as buffoons throughout. Mild comic hijinks ensue until the zombies run our group out of their tranquil camp to seek a more permanent home. But in addition to the regular zombies, there is also a whole different beast to contend with. It's so ridiculous, however, it's best just to let yourself go with the flow.
"Zombie Hunter" isn't a particularly good movie, as I've mentioned, but it's a fair bit of fun. The regular creatures and effects aren't very accomplished, but I did like the larger threat. The poor CGI, overwrought dialogue, and over-the-top acting added to a campy enjoyment and a satisfyingly preposterous finale. Copping plays it straight (which works) and Trejo is also deadly serious, but they are both clearly in on the joke. If you like to laugh along with bad movies, "Zombie Hunter" provides some great moments. I don't think it's an essential add to your collection, but it is probably a passable rental to the right audience. Just be sure to have plenty of alcohol and you'll be good to go! KGHarris, 10/13.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
E. Lee Zimmerman
- Published on Amazon.com
Unlike what some other reviewers have clearly tried to establish, ZOMBIE HUNTER is not the worst zombie movie ever made. In fact, there are times with its quite entertaining. Mind you, it lacks the consistent polish that would’ve elevated it to at least the level of a modest crowd-pleaser. It’s also more than a few quarts low in the intelligence department: it can never quite figure out what and/or how its particular version of the undead are meant to behave and/or suffer whatever cruel fate our heroes might have in store for them. But as a one-time viewing? I enjoyed it well enough in the first half to give it a few stars; it’s the lackluster, hands-off-the-continuity handling of its second half that’ll probably destine this flick for the trash heap of cinema history.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Ok. It’s the Apocalypse, and all of this has apparently happened as the result of some street drug that turned its users and abusers in creatures not unlike zombies. Into this wasteland comes Hunter (played with some hard-boiled delight by Martin Copping), and he’s having a really bad day. It started out fine, but then he took a bullet to the arm, crashed his car, and was spit on my some backwoods Looney Tunes dragging him back to his compound. If what’s left of the crumbling society isn’t careful, Hunter’s likely to rise up and prove he’s the last thing to be feared on planet Earth!
Now, if you’ve seen the product packaging, I’d imagine the first thing you’re asking yourself is, “Hey, wait a minute, what happened to Danny Trejo? Isn’t he the star of this?” Well, the short answer is, “No.” The longer answer is that, obviously, Trejo’s name and image was probably used to get this thing off the ground by writer/director Kevin King. To his credit, Trejo plays a significant role in the first half of the film – the half that actually works and feels like it had a script – but he disappears midway, and the picture is not best served by his departure. Instead, audiences are left with somewhat of a narrative mess that sounds like it was entirely made-out on the fly.
But that first half?
Well, it’s surprisingly good. It had just the right balance of Grindhouse charm – the kind where you could easily tell no one was meant to take this all that seriously – and an auteur’s vision. King knew that he wanted to serve up something a bit more tongue-in-cheek than the usual Zombie fare, so he keeps the action light, the mood witty, and even some welcome bossoms (not fully bared!) on display from actresses Clare Niederpruem and Jade Reiger. It’s Armageddon, but it’s somehow tepidly reassuring women keeping themselves in shape well enough to pole dance.
Sadly, Trejo’s departure almost signaled the coming of a new AntiChrist, one who apparently burned the shooting script. From this point on, dialogue sounds entirely made-up on the spot, situations descend from weird to just downright bizarre, and one man who is de-pantsed shows up in the next seen absolutely fully clothed.
I’ve got it: those zombies ate the continuity person!
What could’ve been a contender quickly spools out of control in the final scenes, leaving ZOMBIE HUNTER not so much with a trail of brains in sight.
ZOMBIE HUNTER (2013) is produced by Arrowstorm Entertainment and The Klimax. DVD distribution is being handled by Well Go USA. As for the technical specifications? Well, the video and audio looks fairly solid, though there’s some laughable CGI special effects on some kind of intelligent Zombie Overlord that are just plain awful at times. The practical, in-camera splatter effects are quite good, and it’s given a whole ‘Grindhousery’ feel that certainly complements much of the narrative. Lastly – much to my disappointment – there are no special features to speak of, and that’s a big miss on something that tries to be this clever.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. What’s exceedingly disappointing about ZOMBIE HUNTER is that, mostly during the first half, it’s actually not half bad. Really! It’s quite good. Granted, the best it has to offer is that those high points feel very much like a heavily watered down version of the vastly superior ZOMBIELAND, but it’s saying something when you can take a concept as well worn these days as zombies and still serve up something that’s smart, funny, and relevant. However, the latter half truly smacks of a production that either fell completely apart, lost funding, or (worst case scenario) lost its shooting script.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well Go USA provided me with a copy of ZOMBIE HUNTER by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.