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Another great splatter horror film from the Southern Hemisphere! It is so
rare these days to set eyes upon a film that is not subjected to the
rehashed, commercially-hungry, modern American sub-genre of horror movies
such as Cabin Fever and a host of recent slasher movies that try, beyond
hope, to scare or shock the viewer by throwing as much blood and fast
movement ("Boo, are you scared?") at the screen, with little to no
Undead finally gets back to the roots of true splatter horror in a way
would make Jackson and Raimi proud and is a superb treat to the mature
viewer who has grown up with these classics and is not simply into
gratuitous pure shock-value.
Undead is "cheesy" and off-the-cuff. It pays hommage to a number of cult classics out there such as Romero's Trilogy of the Dead (the isolated farmhouse from NotLD, "Let's shop!" from Dawn and the police powerplay from Day), Raimi's Evil Dead ("Join us!"), Jackson's Braindead (the shovel in the bank manager's head) and Bad Taste (the alien contingent and appearance).
Do not expect great acting (though I am sure these actors are more than capable of doing so) or a totally original script (though the ending was actually quite unusual and surprised me), for this is not what this film is about. It is about having a fun 2 hours and, in my opinion, rewarding the fans of cult classic splatter horror (and hopefully introducing a number of younger individuals to this fantastic genre).
Not a great film, but a fun (non-American, something that is so rare these days) film!
I'm Australian, so i know what a bad movie is. this surprisingly enough
isn't one. They only thing missing from this movie to keep it from
touching the stars (so to speak) is originality. it has everything
else, its funny and violent, and even thru bad acting you can see a
great vision. but for me this movie was so good that i can hardly
believe it was made by a couple of aussies. Aussie horror has not
always been met with open arms by the horror fraternity but hopefully
this will erase some of the embarrassment of the horrible horror we
on top of that this movie has aliens comfortable with being naked, i didn't see that in signs.
I caught Undead's second and final Festival screening last night, and it
just fantastic. I cannot understand how a film so cheap (cost about two
million Australian, as I recall) could look so incredibly good. Most of
visual effects were done on a laptop, and they are just stunning.
to one of the Spierig brothers (the identical twins who wrote, directed,
produced the film, as well as managing the effects) the film contains 305
special effects, and maybe ten of those effects shots don't quite
Technicalities aside, it is also damned funny, extremely gory, and a whole lot of fun. The humour is not just slapstick gore, either - there are some priceless moments of character humour and a handful of absolutely classic lines, arguably the best of which can be heard at the end of the trailer. Surprisingly, the plot is quite strong, too, with a ripper of an ending that left me deeply impressed.
It isn't without its flaws - a few gags fall flat, the dialogue can be a bit hard to hear at times, the pacing is a tad shaky, and the final reel or two could do with a little bit of fat trimmed, plus the hero of the piece is just a bit annoying, with a whole lot of dialogue that is meant to be cheesy, but gets a bit TOO cheesy more than once - but for a first film made on a shoestring, it is just incredible. We are talking about the Bad Taste of the digital age.
I know it is getting a small mainstream cinema release here in Oz in early September, and I have heard it is getting a little release in the US and UK as well. Fans of early Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, and George Romero owe it to themselves to go along and laugh themselves sick.
Both 'Bad Taste' and 'Braindead' (both horror comedies) have obviously
inspired the Spierig brothers, Michael and Peter, but comparisons are
not necessary. 'Undead' is its own movie: a blood spattering, one-liner
comedy gore fest, with blood and laughs both frequent.
It is hilarious opening: the fact that this movie is horror is obvious, but the set up and background movie are like that of a happy rural sitcom. But first glances may well be deceptive. Meteores strike rapidly, causing chaos, as well as blowing up an old lady.
Miss 'Catch of the day' is on her way out of the little Australian fishing village, but her trip comes to a halt when a meteorite stops the trip and no later and zombie kills her driver. But then local weirdo farmer Marion (in an obvious Clint Eastwood spoof) pulls out a three shotgun, er, shotgun and blows the zombie body apart in hilariously gory detail, leaving an even funnier sequence- a walking spine, resembling that of a tall headless chicken.
They are forced to hide out in his heavily protected farmhouse as well as others (including a foul mouthed cop) who seems to swear unnecessarily, but has some brilliant lines: "I'll f*ckin finish you off faster than a f*ckin birthday cake at a fat chicks f*ckin party!" or "in our day, we respected our parents: we didn't f*ckin eat em!"
In short, Undead is an enjoyable horror comedy with occasional flashes of sly genius to keep everyone happy.
*** out of **** (3 out of 4)
I had no expectations when I slipped the disc into the player. One hour
and forty five minutes later I started breathing again. "Undead" is a
hellishly inventive mix of horror and sci-fi - and the biggest
cinematic surprise I've had all year. This is NOT "just another living
dead movie". And thank God for that.
"The walking dead" is almost a worn out concept in the industry. Many have tried to copy the efforts of the master himself, George A. Romero, and failed royally in the attempt. But once in a while there comes along a flick that breathes new life into the genre. "Undead" is most definitely such a film.
Like Sam Raimi, the writer/producer/director of the "Evil Dead"-trilogy, the Spierig-brothers dares, yes DARES, to make over-the-top-fun of the genre - it's intentional - and that's why it works. The production looks expensive and the special effects are surprisingly flawless.
I won't spoil the experience for you by telling the plot - buy it, rent it - and get ready for a roller-coaster of a movie.
10 points from Norway!
Why didn't anyone tell me about this film? It is 3 years old by the
time I first watched it, having spent my horror-watching hours on
hateful crap like 'Saw' and the other torture flicks Hollywood has been
churning out in that time. This is a funny and creative gore flick
along the lines of early Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi: 'Bad Taste' comes
I can't say this is a great film- but it does show great promise for the writer/directors. The effects are cheap but decent. Flawed in many respects, the kitchy attitude helps to gloss over the faults allowing an enjoyable experience.
If you enjoy gooey gore, over-the-top dialog and craziness- and willing to look past a low budget ... add another 2 stars and WATCH THIS FLICK.
Something is seriously wrong in the quiet Queensland hamlet of Berkeley:
rocks are falling from the sky, carrying a virus that turns local
into flesh-crazed fiends. And that's just the start of the powerhouse
slam-bang debut from Brisbane twin filmmakers Peter and Michael Spierig,
audacious triumph of invention and imagination over budget and genre
constraints. Even more remarkable is the fact that two local Brisbane boys
have achieved the impossible and created an original Aussie zombie epic
is set to lay waste to the international horror community.
Ever the post-80s horror boom cultural vultures, Spierigs plunder shamelessly from the expected sources - the grey apocalypticism of George A Romero's Dead trilogy, the outrageous gore setpieces of Peter Jackson's blood-soaked Bad Taste and Braindead, the camera histronics of early Sam Raimi and Coen Brothers efforts - while breathing new life into the long-exhausted zombie cycle and making a film that is entirely their own. Undead marries a wholly unpredictable narrative, jawdropping effects (graphic enough for the most jaded of gorehounds) and a frighteningly assured grasp of cinematic language. As expected there's buckets of gallows humour, but the film never trades cheap laughs for its primary purpose: delivering good old-fashioned blood-curdling shocks.
If Aussie horror is a dead duck, Undead blows it out of the water.
Berkley, small town in the backwoods of Australia. One sunny day turns
suddenly for worse, when a meteor storm raids over the village, turning
everyone in to a brain munching zombies.
But soon it comes evident, that it's the aliens who are behind all this.
Well, the heroes of the film are our regular ragged bunch of men and women, some of them cool, some of them nervous as bleep. Two cops, pregnant woman, woman with problems, a pilot and a village idiot. And only the village idiot seems to know whats going on. Or does he?
Undead is your typical small budget, gore infested zombie flick, with a one difference: it has actually pretty neat special effects and some of the photography is pretty good looking.
But, then it comes to the plot: some jokes work, some don't. Behaviour of people stranded in Berkley doesn't have any sense at all, mostly they are just running around.
But thanks to good directing this movie rises above the most poorest excuses of the genre.
It certainly is watchable.
The Spierig Brothers' (Peter and Michael) "Undead" would seem even more
like a cheap '50s drive-in "B"-movie if the film just billed itself as
a cheap '50s drive-in "B"-movie outright instead of masquerading as a
zombie-splatter flick spoof. In "Undead," we get zombies, aliens
(aliens?), laughs and gory head shots that are delivered to us in such
a fashion, the film plays out like a head-on collision between each
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I've seen enough zombie flicks over the last two years to know. I've seen enough over the last two years to realize that alongside comics and video games, zombie movies represent one of the remaining avenues left for truly innovative (if not completely original) film-making. After the success of the "Dawn of the Dead" remake, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and "Shaun of the Dead" last year, WE should not be surprised.
"Undead," unlike these films, did not receive a major distribution in the United States (it certainly didn't come to theaters anywhere where I live here in Virginia), and it's set in the Land Down Under. It's an exotic place, Australia, with beautiful seaside communities, friendly people, and nut-job backwoodsmen. The film takes place on the continent's fishing mecca Berkeley and as it opens, ominous meteorites have been raining down on the countryside, shooting through unsuspecting townspeople (leaving holes in them so big you can New Zealand), and turning them into flesh-hungry zombies.
Meanwhile, poor Rene (the strangely attractive, doe-eyed Felicity Mason), a recent "Catch of the Day" beauty queen, is on her way out of Berkeley when the occurrences begin. The bank has just foreclosed on her family's farm because of her deceased parents' skyrocketing debt and wants to say good-bye to this place once and for all. Well, one thing leads to another and she soon finds herself locked in the farmhouse of the town nut and survivalist Marion (Mungo McKay), who manages to save the frightened young woman from the legions of living dead lurching in the countryside. Along for the ride are Wayne (Rob Jenkins), his girlfriend(?) and Rene's beauty queen rival Sallyanne (Lisa Cunningham), and constables Harrison (Dirk Hunter) and Molly (Emma Randall).
"Undead" is boldly original in its own twisted, off-beat way. Some might say it's in bad taste. The strange thing is, they're correct. It's in "bad taste" the way the early zombie flicks of Peter Jackson were, or the "Evil Dead" films of Sam Raimi. Yet, in America, we hold those movies to some pretty high standards, though I doubt the same blessing will fall upon "Undead." The movie is indeed in bad taste and deliberately so, but unfortunately it seems to forget to also be watchable in ways to elevate itself above its bad-taste rating and into "B"-movie greatness, which it wants real bad.
Though you can't really hold that against it. There are some pretty good visual-effects zombie-kills, including a scene where young Rene takes a stick, attaches a saw blade to it, and swings away at approaching undead. Now that's creative thinking in exterminating zombies. It's also pretty funny in some spots with some wicked social commentary and jabs at American zombie movies, which suffices the plentiful gore. But unfortunately, creativity seems to go out the window with the somewhat unneeded alien invaders and their purpose in bringing the dead to life to chew on the flesh of the living. It's revealed why they are here but it is neither surprising or convincing - certainly the result of lackadaisical (or brain-dead?) writing on the part of the Spierigs.
Don't go in expecting Academy Award material performances either; if you do, you're a fool - plain & simple - you'll be as dead as the zombies if you do. Many of the characters are pretty unlikeable, as the only real ones you can relate to are Rene and Marion, the latter of whom has had an apparent run-in with the invaders before (killer fish!) and is ready this time, and Rene is pretty one-dimensional - what scream queen isn't? Still, there are plenty of scenes of Marion in action, dual-wielding handguns, Woo-style, and unloading literally hundreds of rounds into approaching hordes of zombies.
As far as "Undead" goes as a zombie movie, the Southern Hemisphere may have a winner on its hands. Horror seems to be the new "it" for aspiring filmmakers. Look at all those who started out in the genre and have graduated to greener pastures in the film-making community... well, some have. This obviously isn't the last we have heard from the Spierig Brothers, since, as the film's ending would lead you to believe, an "Undead 2" could hit American theaters in two years or so.
Rene (Felicity Mason), the town beauty queen of Berkley, Austrailia,
wants desperately to get out. But as her and her boyfriend are driving
out of town, meteorites fall from the sky turning various town-folk
into rampaging zombies. When Rene's boyfriend gets changed, she watches
as a mysterious stranger (whom we later learn is the town 'crazy')
dispatches the now zombiefied BF. She decides to hole up in the
isolated farmhouse of said 'kook'. It's soon up to her, the guy, a
husband, his pregnant wife, and two cops to survive long enough to
figure what the hell is going on.
This Aussie film, while hopelessly derivative and ripping-off a great many great genre movies, is still a lot of fun. It looks far better than it's budget would imply and gore-hounds will be satisfied. That being said, the acting isn't the greatest and the movie pretty much loses steam towards the end when it veers decidedly off-course. But it's still very enjoyable for fans of the genre.
My Grade: B-
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