Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (2014)

ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (2014)

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment 
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Duration: 104 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Video:: Widescreen (2.40:1) 1080p
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with Optional English SDH, Spanish Subtitles
Director: 
B. Harrison Smith

Cats: Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Mischa Barton, Felissa Rose, Brian Anthony Wilson

We have the small rural community of Elwood, a walled-in community serving as a haven for uninfected humans at a time when most of the world is overrun by hordes of black-goo spewing infected zombies. The community are lead by a retired Army surgeon named Doc (Brian Anthony Wilson) and a man named Seiler (Zane), who leads a group of young men and women known as "the zombie killers" who provide security for the community and patrol the surrounding areas for food and supplies.

The community is also home to a religious zealot named Lia (Felissa Rose) who as with most of her ilk love to point out the moral shortcomings of others, it just wouldn't be the apocalypse without one. Rose does a damn decent job portraying the amped-up bible thumper who loves to rile up the good people of Elwood. 

The film offers up an unusual amount of character based interactions for a zombie film, but there's some good zombie make-up effects throughout, the practical stuff looks mighty good, but the digital effects are Syfy worthy, meaning not so grand. Hordes of zombies off in the distance are one thing, but a stampede of infected deer and leaping killer fish are quite another. Smith's script is more ambitious than his modest budget will effectively allow, and sometimes you just have to cut back when a few decent ideas stretch your budget and abilities to the point of laughability, which is what happened. 

Not enough to completely ruin the movie but enough to make me start picking apart other smaller things that maybe I wouldn't have if the poor effects didn't draw so much attention to themselves. One of those things being how much paintball is front and center in this film right from the beginning till the very end. It begins with some truly awful voice over narration from Doc at the top of the film with an overly long montage of paintballers right through to the very end. Not sure is the San Diego Dynasty  were financing the film or not but it would not surprise me in the least, I get it, you love paintball, you want to show off your awesome paintball arena and cool gear, but don't shove it down my throat for the entire film, this is paintball propaganda with a smattering of zombies and a lot of melodrama. . 

Many will recognize Felissa Rose from the slasher classic SLEEPAWAY CAMP as the religious nut of the bunch and she does a decent job, I have a lot of love to Mrs. Rose but she's not fantastic but I love her just the same. Then we have Billy Zane who or a brief moment had an a-list career for all of five minutes before settling into a career in d-grade movies that are forgettable. He's got a bit of a Western tinge to his performance that I liked, but there no heart in his autopilot performance. Horror veteran Dee Wallace appears for about a minute in a role that adds some heart to the film, but it's very brief appearance and in just one of several facets of the film that should have been excised from the movie, including a strange fracking-origin of the plague that was unnecessarily convoluted and not fully realized, they're going for an environmental message but it's muddied and unnecessary. . 

There's a more than average character moment quotient throughout the film, a bit too much for my simple tastes honestly.  With all the melodrama and character building I was seriously starting to yearn for some damn zombie carnage, which we do get in very small doses but never to the point where I was satisfied. . 

I give the filmmakers a lot of credit for their technical ability, you can see there's some skill behind the camera with numerous panoramic shots highlighting the scenic beauty of the surrounding area and creative use of what I assume are drones for aerial cinematography that mimic more expensive crane shots they are getting the most bang for their buck here, it never fails to amaze me what can be done with high-end consumer grade digital cameras these days. 

Not an awful film, I enjoyed the character-based storytelling to a degree but I was hoping for a more satisfying finale given that the carnage was few and far between, that combined with the poor digital effects did dampen my overall enjoyment of the film. This might be a passable weeknight rental but otherwise this has zero rewatch factor. A competent zombie film, just not my cup of tea.  

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