Review: Zombie Massacre (Blu-ray)

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Title: Zombie Massacre
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Studio: Entertainment One
Original MSRP: $24.98 / $19.98
Number of Discs: 1
Language: English
Subtitles: English
MPAA Rating: NR
The Blu-ray disc was used for this review.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this movie is available on Episode 331 of the podcast.

Story:
The US Military has been conducting experiments aimed at creating a super soldier using a bacteriological weapon in a small town in Eastern Europe. Naturally, an accident causes the unfinished goo to spread throughout the population turning them all into aggressive mutant zombies.

A group of four mercenaries is brought in to clean up the mess. Their job is to place an atomic bomb at the nuclear reactor in the town and get back out before it detonates, making the whole thing look like a tragic accident at a nuclear power plant. Of course, things go wrong, there are double crosses, flashbacks, no ammo, cars running out of gas… you get the picture.

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So the movie was Produced by the infamous Uwe Boll, and unfortunately it keeps his bad track record intact. This is only the second film for Luca Boni and third for Marco Ristori sitting in the Director’s chairs and it shows. They even mentioned their shock at being asked to direct in the documentary included on the disc and with good reason. Everybody has to start somewhere, and they’ve done a lot of other work in film but know what you’re getting into here – a low budget horror flick with somewhat inexperienced directors.

It really shows in how the movie was shot, with loads of extreme close-ups on the actors and very high and low camera angles to block out areas where they’re shooting and disguise the fact that they had very few real sets. A lot of time and money was obviously spent on the makeup and special effects but the camera work throughout the movie kind of negates all of that.

The acting ranges from somewhat fair to surprisingly good and the story itself actually shows some promise but it falls flat. In the hands of a better writer and directors, it could have been polished up to be a solid B-Movie action horror-fest. Sadly, we’re left with flashbacks that come out of nowhere and many scenes that look like they were done in one (not so great) take. There’s even an inexplicable pixelating of soldier’s faces during one of the flashbacks. Did the actors decide they didn’t want any part of the movie after the fact? And of course, the odd epilogue, which seems to have been added simply as a way to shoehorn some nudity into the picture.

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Video:
The picture is crisp and clean if a little bland. It was a choice to make the movie feel very grey and depressing so there’s not much in the way of color here and what little there is appears a bit washed out. Zombies hit by gunshots and blunt instruments spray blood in a pretty convincing way but there’s not much in the way of scenery due to the close-up camera work.

The practical effects, heads being smashed and such, actually look really good. The digital effects on the other hand tend to be closer to what you’d see on a movie produced for the SyFy channel.

Audio:
With DTS-HD Master Audio, the sound is pretty good but there’s a weird mix, a least through my systems, between the dialogue and music. The music tends to be much louder and overpowers the dialogue in spots. Otherwise, the guns, fights, explosions and bodies splattering all sound pretty good.

Bonus Features:
While it seems a little light on special features, the Making Of is almost half the length of the movie and is actually packed with some pretty interesting information.

  • Storyboard Prologue (2:12) – A side-by-side look at the storyboards and the opening scenes of the movie
  • Storyboard (1:09) – A side-by-side look at the storyboards and a later scene in the movie
  • Teaser Trailer (2:38) – Standard teaser
  • Trailer (2:04) – Standard trailer
  • Superfreak: The Making of Zombie Massacre (41:35) – More than just your typical love-fest of actors and directors praising each other, there’s actually a lot of information in here as well

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Conclusion:
Zombie Massacre is a movie that needed to be big yet feels very small. Poor choices in the script and shot setups are really the downfall here. It’s really a shame because it could have been so much more than it was. It’s not a good movie, but if you know that going in and you have a group of friends together it could be worthwhile just for the laughs.

Score:
4.5

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

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