Undead (no spoilers)

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by DrJOnes666, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. DrJOnes666

    DrJOnes666 Guest

    (this was posted in a thread in the General section, but I thought it'd be good to repost it in the User Reviews section, sine it is afterall a review.).

    Alright people, I'm back from the festival, fresh from seing UNDEAD's big Canadian Premiere.

    First, let me say that going to see a horror movie at a sci-fi/horror/fantasy film festival, in a movie theater packed with 750 hardcore fans all very much hungry for the food of the Gods, the thing we call GORE here amongst friends, is quite an overwhelming experience. The reactions are always very good, and if the film sucks, well there's always the audience's energy and reactions that can pull you back in...

    Alright attentive people, who caught the word "suck" in my intro? You there? Good boy! Now, who's wondering if I was talking in general, or if I was refering to the movie UNDEAD? You? you? And... Yes, that's a lot of people... Ok, here's the answer to that one-

    The movie didn't suck. It was ok. And it even had its moments that were a lot better than just ok.

    But my dear friends, beware anything that resemble HYPE nowadays. HYPE is horror movies worst ennemy. We saw the disaster HYPE did with HOUSE OF 1K CORPSES, dividing us in two, fellow horror movie lovers. Yes, HYPE, this humongus monster, evelish creature, sneaky motherfucking backstaber; HYPE is the modern monstruosity we should all fear and avoid at all cost, because in the end, it will get YOU. Yes, you TOO.

    I am not easylly affected by hype. I tend to have a strong will. Maybe the Force is in me. Like all of you, I have read the posts on forums about UNDEAD. I have read some reviews, posted here and there by folks who had the opportunity to view it on a DVD preview sent to them. I heard the taglines saying: "the best zombie flick in years"... things like that. At that time, I thought, heck, I'll see the movie on DVD when it comes out because so far, it doesn't look like it's ever going to hit the theater.

    How pleased I was to see that FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL was showing the film on their fopening day!!! The JOY I felt! Hurry, hurry! I gotta buy my tickets, make sure I have them, they are going to sell like hot buns!

    I wanted to like this film very much. HYPE had gotten to me somewhat, sneaked in without me noticing. I felt it, I knew it. I controlled it somehow and stayed open minded, tried not to expect too much- even when the announcer welcomed everybody and said "This is THE film all zombie fans have been waiting for! The new EVIL DEAD and DEAD ALIVE!". These are strong words my friends... strong words...

    (Stop rambling you tell me. I know, I hear ya).

    **** MY REVIEW OF UNDEAD *********


    One of the major problem with this film is the omni presence of shouting. The characters shout all the time. They shout at each other. They shout at the zombies. The shout at themselves. The shout and shout and shout. They (almost) all do that. All the time. I understand that the directors (the brothers Spierig) wanted to use shouting as a stress tool. Unfortunately, all it really did was annoy me deeply. Heck, dont' get me wrong. I don't mind shouting. I'd surely get my share if I was in front of brain-hungry-zombies. But all the time, it's silly. There is one key scene, when the main cast of characters are trapped in a bunker under siege by the zombies, during which time the characters come to realize how deep in shit they are. This scene is shot in one take, handheld camera. The scene lasts about 5 minutes and everybody is shouting at each other, all at peak level. After 5 minutes of this treatment, you don't care about them anymore... you just hope for the scene to end.

    You;ll be happy to hear that the two main characters (Mr. Poster Dude with his 3 barrel shotgun and his new friend, miss town queen) are very good in their role. They did a great job at it and their screen presence was very much appreciated by everyone. Unfortunately, the other actors seemed to play pretty much the same way, creating a very plain cast of characters. Further more, the acting was more often than not overly done. I understand that the directors wanted to created a sense of humor with the overacting. It worked in Evil Dead. It worked in Dead Alive. It worked in some key scenes in UNDEAD, but sometimes it was just plain ridiculous and annoying (back to RULE A- THOU SHALL NOT SHOUT).

    One of the main character, a policeman, is so obnoxious, it's not even funny anymore. All you want is for the guy to die a painful death for all the wrong reasons. And SOONER than later would be best, thank you! Unfortunately, after delivering his best line in the whole film when introduced to us (see the TRAILER: "When I was a kid, we respected our parents! We didn't fuckin' eat them!"), he shouts his way through the movie in major-over-acting-tone that is just plain annoying. (Back to RULE A). It's too bad beause this actor showed good potential. Fortunately, the two main characters are interesting enough, and so very well acted, that you can hang to them during the tough scenes with Mr. annoying policeman and his friends.

    When used properly, the blue filter gives a nice night effect to your image. Overly used, you start to feel like the film was shot under water. OK, I am being hard on them with this one. It was not THAT bad... Actually, it kindda gave an overall feeling to the film. It was overly done, but it was ok.

    Visually, UNDEAD is as much a feast to the eyes as it is irritating. You have great scenes with great camera and great action. Then you get over cropped and composed shots, with so many close-ups, you feel clostrophobic- which is a weird feeling to get when you you see the characters outside in fields... What UNDEAD lacks is "establishing shots", shots that serve the purpose to show us the audience where the characters are in their space. I don't know why the images were cropped so much, but many times I was left there wanting to see larger to get a feeling of what the characters were going through- or to simply understand where they were and what they saw.


    Many things were good in this film. This 100+ minutes film had its share of very good moments. And beleive me, these moments are absolutely great! They would have seemed even better if the film had been cut down to 90, maybe even 85 minutes to get rid of unnecessery extended or annoying scenes. The film has some major GORE going on in there at times, and lovely action sequences! These scenes are so good and original, it makes you wonder how come the rest of the film is not on par with these good scenes. The audience laughed very loud and had very good reactions during these key scenes. But somehow, UNDEAD's overall effect was a bit like Star Wars The Clone Wars: the highlight of the movies is what people seem to only remember (hey, Yoda was fighting! Cool!) and it helps forgetting the dull moments of the film, even if the superb highlights were only very few...
    The art direction, although not inovative in any way, worked very well and was obviously done by talented people who know how to give a movie its own flavor. The SOUND is of excellent quality and it shows that they paid close attention to it during post-production. The music fits the movie and really lifts it to another level of quality. The editing was top notch! Seriously, they couldn't have done a better job at it. And the visual effects worked like a charm. And last but not least, the ZOMBIES were extremely well done, very well acted, and very much present in the movie.

    So you ask me, how come with so many good things going on for the movie, does it seem like I didn't like it? It's not that I didn't like it. It's just that, as it is, UNDEAD was more like an extended and fragile rollercoaster with uneven peeks and slopes. I personally think the film being the first from the brothers, they probably learned a great deal while making it. I look forward to see what they will come up with next time because I am convinced they will have solved the major flaws of UNDEAD and will come up with a superb movie!

    UNDEAD, while not being a bad movie, is not a very good one either. It has its great moments and shows great potential and absolute love for the horror genre from its directors. But make no mistake: it is no Evil Dead nor Dead Alive.

    My word of advise: lower your expectations. You'll end up probably having a good time.

  2. marioscido

    marioscido New Member

    Sep 14, 2002
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    I must say, I don't agree with much of your review. I saw this film today at Fantasia and loved it! "Undead" captures the spirit of 50s space invader films in ways M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" could never even dream of. But then again, M. Night makes 'uptown horror' films, and "Undead" is wonderfully campy and fun. The film has a bit of a Tim Burton feel mixed in with Peter Jackson, and it does the zombie-thing in the spirit of Romero, but with a good dose of humor. Also, the film is a subtle religious allegory about the rapture - an aspect that will probably elude many spectators. "Undead" is smart, fun, visually stylish, and most of all it is a film for genre fans by fans of the genre. Loads of fun!
  3. KR~!

    KR~! The Apocalyptic Kid

    Dec 27, 2001
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    In Hel's Womb
  4. shift

    shift Hot as shit!

    Mar 24, 2002
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    - TeXaS -
    Looks tight!
    I wanna see it now dammit!!'

  5. x666x

    x666x Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2002
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    We missed it at Fantasia becuase we cought the final week of the festival only. Luckily, we did catch it at the Toronto film festival. There is some great gore scenes as well as some well executed action scenes. There ends up being an overwhelming amount of CG that the direcotrs did on their home computer. They are obviously talented although using a zombie flick to show that CG-style talent was a little much. Still worth a viewing though. The highlight of the festival was Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance). It is an unfuckingbelievable slasher flick.

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