|Index||7 reviews in total|
This movie is not too shabby. The scenery is magnificent. Zoli Marki turns in another one of her brilliant, brown-eyed performances (she could have been the South African Lara Flynn Boyle). The rest of the cast is okay, but as things go with these "international" productions you can't pay too close attention to the accents (you might ask why, for instance, is the dad American, the mother English, and the two children South African). The main villain looks like a lost member of the Village People and wears a tight leather outfit with "Big Man" spelled out in studs across his back. As in THE DEMON (another film made by the same director and crew), the blood is orange.
I didn't track down this rare flick till last year, but am I glad I
did. This one stands as a strong entry into the post-nuke genre. The
plot is simple: after the nuclear war, small pockets exist where the
radiation levels are low enough to sustain life. These areas are known
as "Survival Zones". The story follows the lives of a family on a farm,
trying to eek by after "the big one". This is definitely a B movie, and
the acting less than stellar, but it makes up for it in spirit. I
really liked the overwhelmingly positive attitude displayed by the
father. This is just what would be needed to get through a situation as
dire as this. He was the glue that held his survival unit together.
What really hurt the movie was the budget. There was no footage of any
devastation: flattened cities, burnt-out buildings, nothing. No money
for special effects here, like radiated zombies, etc. The only way you
know what happened is from dialog. This hurt the overall impression of
how bad the aftermath of World War III would be. They only make one
trip to a city for supplies, and it looks normal, just abandoned. The
heavies in the movie are leather-clad cannibalistic bikers (a bit
cliché, no doubt). I'm not sure what the significance of the plastic
baby doll parts on his helmet and clothing was!? If it was supposed to
be scary, it wasn't. Nevertheless, the realities of kill or be killed
in a lawless world are presented quite clearly, and provide a lot of
food for thought.
As far as I know, this never made it to DVD, so you will be forced to locate a used VHS on online, but it will be worth the search. If you can look past the numerous small flaws, it is a solid flick.
If you like these types of movies, also check out The Aftermath, Def Con 4, Damnation Alley, Warriors of the Wasteland, and After the Fall of New York.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After a devastating nuclear war most of the land has become
contaminated by radioactive fallout. Only several scattered patches of
land known as "survival zones" remain untainted. Rugged, hard-working
farmer Ben Faber (forcefully essayed by dour, husky, pudgy-faced "2001:
A Space Odysey" star Gary Lockwood) resides on one such area with his
gutsy wife Lucy (lovely Camilla Spav), willful teenage daughter Rachel
(comely brunette knockout Zoli Marki), adoring son, and feisty old
buddy Uncle Luke. The Faber's peaceful existence gets jeopardized when
a vicious horde of scummy, black leather-clad cannibalistic bikers led
by the highly intimidating and intelligent Bigman (coolly underplayed
by big, brawny, hirsute George Eastman lookalike Ian Steadman) stop by
and lay siege to their house. Fortunately, nice guy itinerant loner
Adam Strong (a likable turn by handsome, muscular Morgan Stevens) comes
to the Fabers' aid.
The shopworn premise, basically just another rough'n'tumble post-nuke survivalist take on a classic Western movie scenario (the Fabers are clearly patterned after early settlers, with Strong as a heroic roving troubleshooter type and the bikers substituting for marauding Native Americans), doesn't promise much, but luckily the uniformly sound performances, unusually complex, well-drawn and even plausibly human characters, a welcome element of genuine humanity, Percival Rubens and Eric Brown's smart, surprisingly thoughtful and introspective script, a few unsettling oddball touches (Bigman has a severed doll's head affixed to the top of his motorcycle helmet), Rubens' capable direction, a sturdy theme which addresses how a man ought to fight for what's his and stand up for what he believes in (Ben refuses just to let the bikers destroy his farm without putting up a fight), an unsparingly harsh and savage tone (early in the picture the bikers raid a missionary and murder a bunch of nuns!), and shocking outbursts of raw, brutal violence lift this one well out of the rut. Vincent Cox and Colin Taylor's spare, stripped-down cinematography, shot on gritty film stock, gives the film a convincingly scrappy look. Only the somewhat sluggish pace and Nic Labuschagne's slushy, obtrusively overwrought score detract from this otherwise satisfyingly tense and gripping winner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
And with those words, our ubiquitous couple walk off into the sunset
together, having just survived a spade/knife fight and an attempt on
their lives with a land rover. Warms the cockles doesn't it? Except in
this film it doesn't. You'll have been too busy laughing at one of the
most hilarious decapitations ever seen on film and wondering what the
hell happened to the little boy who vanished from the cast twenty
minutes ago with no explanation. Not to mention the strange case of the
American dad who has a South African accented wife and daughter, but a
USA sounding son. And then there's the..
But I digress, let's get to the plot.. for what it is. Another nuclear bomb, another bunch of mutated survivors on motorbikes, and yep, you guessed it.. plenty of leather and shades to go around. They are led by the typical bearded bloke with a rasping voice and a toy doll's head on his helmet(?) We knows he's in charge because he has the word BIGMAN engraved on the back of his jacket. During the opening, him and his crew of ruffians ransack a nunnery. (Oh the beasts!!) Turns out they're cannibals who roam around munching their way through the survivors of the holocaust. But have they met their match when they try to take over a farm presided over by a resourceful farmer and his feisty family? Let battle commence!!
All thumbs and no fingers sums up this little flick. Every single scene seems to be have been handled in the most clumsy way imaginable, so you get random camera angles and abrupt sudden cuts galore. You know from the budget that the acting isn't going to be the best and the dialogue won't win the screenwriter any Oscars, but it would be nice to have a few surprises along the way. Nothing in this film is anything less than predictable, from who will be the first to die (always the old guy) to the fact that the stereotypical young blonde hero who arrives on the scene in the middle will be the one to save the day. From a purely artistic point of view I've seen much worse even in the last month, but why waste time on this when there are so many other superior movies out there calling for your attention? In fact, some of them are probably on television right now. Go and take a look.. 3/10
Another of the endless Mad Max ripoffs, and this one ranks with the
stinkinest of all time. I don't mind a few stinkers, and I love the
campiness of these late 70's/early 80's post-nuke films, but this is
probably the worst film I've seen since Blair Witch 2. After a WWIII
holocaust, we look in on the lives of a few survivors who are about to
cross paths. We have the scum biker gang, the all-American dad and
child with a foreign sounding wife and daughter (who have an old man as
a mock grandpa),we have the last 2 remaining horses on planet earth, a
convent of nuns, and finally a loner stud lookin' for action any way he
can get it.
All I can say is, all of the horrible clichés are in affect. Absolutely nothing happens for about the first 50-55 minutes except a lot of garbage talk about the way things were and how retarded man is for destroying everything. The rest of the film cannot be considered action, horror, or science fiction in my opinion. You just have to make a whole new genre for films like this and call it the Sh*t genre. You could fit this 90 min. film into a 25 min. TV show package.
The editing is horrible also, and you have the feel that some scenes (including the ending) needed more extensions onto them to help tell the story, but I have a feeling this would just prolong the pain of viewing it even more. Please be warned, there's a good reason why less than 30 people have rated this film.
This like it's going to be a good slasher at the beginning, when in the second scene, Bigman defeats another bikie in a jousting match with chains, then soon after another of his gang punches a nun to death, but it goes very quiet after that and never picks up.
I was thirteen when I saw this film. Some friends of mine were big fans of horror films. I wasn't particularly a fan but I knew what to expect. "Survival Zone" wasn't at all what I expected. I have a soft spot for this movie and would love the opportunity to see it again. But I'm afraid to say that is because I distinctly recall it as being the worst film I ever saw. I mean....the doll's head on top of the motorcycle...is that supposed to be scary? Evidently it was supposed to be. It wasn't.
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