Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DVD Review: STATE OF EMERGENCY (2010)


STATE OF EMERGENCY (2010)

Label: Image Entertainment
Region: 1 NTSC 
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 90 Minutes 
Video: 16:9 Widescreen 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Tagline: When the Dead Walk, the Living Run 

Synopsis: After an explosion unleashes the contents of a military bio-weapons plant, the unsuspecting populace is transformed into a roaming army of flesh-eating zombies. Trapped in the quarantine zone, Jim (Jay HaydenA Warrior's Heart) finds himself cut off, confused and fighting for his own survival. Contacted by a small band of others unaffected by the toxins, Jim sets out to reach their besieged warehouse. Becoming the group's de-facto leader, he struggles to keep order as they hunker down, fortify their stronghold and arm themselves against the attacking mutants. Fragmentary radio reports from outside hint at a last-ditch government rescue plan. But can the survivors hold out until help arrives… or will they succumb to the living hell of an undead apocalypse?

When a chemical plants goes up in flames the toxic fallout really ruins the day for the inhabitants of a small town. Among them are Jim (Jay Hayden) and his unfortunate wife. As the toxic plume rises into the sky emergency sirens go off, a large portion of the populace exhibit signs of extreme violence and the military arrives and quarantines the country as a precaution, it's a very 28 Days Later rage-plague set-up, what we get are more infected than actual Romero-esque zombies. 

Our protagonist Jim at first finds safety in an abandoned building where he keeps to himself and watches the TV, we learn about the quarantine and the violence the infected are inflicting on survivors.  Not long after he is contacted by small group of three survivors who have taken up residence in a nearby warehouse, it's a more secure shelter, and he joins them. W what we get is more a character piece more so than as film laced with zombie carnage, there's not even a lot of survivor drama or in-fighting among the group. If you think of Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1979) and of the time in the mall once Peter and the group wall-up the stairwell and try to lead a life of normalcy you've got a good grasp of what you're in for here, 

Gore hounds seeking a throat-ripping zombie assault might be in for a a bit of disappointment but as a character study about a small group of survivors this works quite well, we get some strong characterization, the small cast is excellent, particularly Jim Hayden and Andy Stahl whom are given characters with the most meat on the bone, good stuff. 


It's a low-budget feature but the cinematography is fantastic and has a attractive green patina to it, nice deep saturated color and great shots, a very decent looking micro budgeted film. Note to indie filmmakers, having a great director of photography goes a long way.  


We only get a handful of infected onscreen but they look great, red-eyed and angry as fuck... except when they're speaking, yup, that's right, some of the infected maintain the ability to speak for a little bit at least, which was interesting.


As a zombie film State of Emergency (2010) is pretty low on gore but quite strong in the areas of atmospherecharacterization and creating small tense moments, depending n what you're looking for from an infected film you're either gonna enjoy it or hate it. Going in I didn't expect a lot from it, the DVD artwork is beyond generic and when I slapped it on I was anticipating quite a dull experience, and depending on what your tastes are you might think it a bit slow. It's not action-packed, not blood soaked but it's a nice claustrophobic story of survival punctuated with some nice moments of violence and fear, a decent weekend rental. 2.5 Outta 5 

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