Thursday, January 23, 2014

DVD Review: KNIGHT OF THE DEAD (2012)

KNIGHT OF THE DEAD (2012) 
Label: Inception Media Group
Region: 1 NTSC

Duration: 84 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Cast: Alan Calton, Alf Thompson, Dylan Jones, Feth Greenwood, George McCluskey, Jason Beeston, Lee Bennett, Vivien Vilela
Director: Mark Atkins

Knight of the Dead (2012) comes from the same distribution company that brought us zombies vs. Old West gunslingers with the low-budget The Dead and the Damned (2010). They're latest offering features the undead vs. medieval crusaders and is directed by Mark Atkins who previously directed several 
 "mockbusterproductions from The Asylum which were aimed at cashing-in on popular movies with similarly titled direct-to-video titles like Battle of Los Angles, Jack the Giant Killer and Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls - none of which I've seen to be fair. By the same token I've had zero interest in watching any of those films for the simple fact that there are so many original and unique indie filmmakers out there struggling for an audience, Why waste my time watching something that exists solely to cash-in on someone else ingenuity. I love 70's exploitation cinema but these mockbusters rarely rise to the level of what filmmakers like Roger Corman and his crew were doing in decades past - they seem so crass and uninspired. 

With that in mind I was quite reluctant to give this a spin but the movie starts off interestingly enough with a renaissance style animated sequence which gives us a bit of the back story about a plague that's beset mankind turning the infected into flesh-hungry zombies. We have a priest and a band of knights escorting him through what's known as the Valley of Black Death - a place infested with the plague and zombies. The priest has been charged with delivering the Holy Grail but hordes of the undead and evil assassins stand in their way - that's pretty much the story - not too bad. 

The locations used in the film shot around the UK look decent and period specific. The filmmakers make great use of what appear to be authentic ancient ruins to get the most from a low budget and the costuming is pretty decent. Some of the tunics and cowls looked a little too new and could have used some aging but that's about it. . 


However, the acting is pretty spotty ranging from decent to downright distracting. The main baddie chews it up pretty badly with over-the-top line delivery that took me straight out of the film every single time he appeared onscreen. The deaths are pretty decent but rendered with help of cheap digital blood spatter and gore - not a fan. The udead were a huge problem for me - they didn't feel undead and that was a major problem when the undead make-up a large part of your film. 


The filmmakers do a decent job with coverage and getting some decent shots that are framed nicely but the editing was a bit choppy and the action sequences were frantic and that annoyed me. in addition everything is put through a filter which desaturated the color to a bland cold blue grey scale which is way overused. This Holy Grail story wrapped up in medieval zombie construct had potential but in the end it just didn't add up for me, it's not terrible it's something a bit worse - boring. 2 Outta 5 


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