First of all, I’d like to thank my good friend Amber Porter for suggesting The Dead Undead as a Netflix’s Basement review candidate. It’s such a rare thing to actually feel the minutes of one’s life slipping away, second by painful second. As bad movies go, this one has to be one of the worst. Then again, The Dead Undead is so bad that it becomes a sort of dubious comedy wherein I’m laughing at somebody else’s “hard” “work”. Normally I would feel bad for doing that, not so with this movie.
Still, after about five minutes of watching The Dead Undead one question was at the forefront of my mind; is this porn?
No really, from the outset to at least fifteen minutes in, The Dead Undead has all the hallmarks of porn.
Terrible dialogue – check
A grainy film quality reminiscent of 1978 despite the fact it was made in 2010 – check
Purple lens filter to cheap out on low-light shots – check
The director’s nephew’s garage band producing the soundtrack – check
Awkward “is she legal” partial teenage nudity – double check
Only close camera shots on knees and stomachs during the obligatory horror movie “girl in a shower” scene proved I was not watching porn. At least, not the kind of porn for which the internet is famous.
The Dead Undead’s first act is pretty much standard horror fare. Some teens, played by actors in their mid 20s, go away for a (sex romp?) weekend at a hotel. When they arrive, the hotel looks abandoned. Of course, it’s not abandoned. The hotel is some sort of nexus point for an army of zombies.
For a group of teens on a (sex?) romp, the gang brings a surprising amount of firearms with them. Naturally they are unable to repel the undead assault until at the last moment, of the first act, they are saved by the A-Team. Hold on to the Deus ex Machina feeling, kids. It’s the only literary device the writer knows.
Actually, the saviours are not quite the A-Team. There are five of them, and among them is a woman. But they have a van. And holy shit do they fire a lot of guns.
In fact, the entire second act of this movie is the A-Team, and some other guy who seemingly wanders into the plot, shooting guns. If the camera isn’t tight on a gun firing, it’s close on somebody falling down from an implied gun shot. Back and forth, first the slow hammering of an AK-47’s firing mechanism, and then the low budget ludicrous gibs of third rate squib packs exploding on extras. The bodies of the uncredited horde covered in blood as muscle men and a guy who looks like Ron Jeremy fire their big, heavy, powerful guns.
Wait, are we sure this isn’t porn?
Yeah, it’s not porn. Because it turns out that Ron Jeremy and the rest of the A-Team are all vampires. (It could still be porn) And as for the zombies, well they’re not regular zombies but zombie-vampires. Through fifteen minutes of flashbacks, which serve as miserable attempts to give a little dimension to glorified red shirts, and no less than ten minutes of straight-up narrative info-dumping we learn there was once a town full of vampires. Those vampires were ranchers who fed on cow blood as an alternative to human juice. Everything was great until some mad cow disease broke out and the vamps contracted the zombie virus, which they then spread to normal humans. Once bitten a “Zee-Vee” possesses vampire strength and zombie brainlessness.
I can’t believe it cost 1.1 million dollars to make this movie.
It’s pretty obvious that the budget went toward creating low-rent gun porn rather than hiring decent actors, writers, or paying attention to proper lighting. At one point the lighting is so bad that a night scene looks to temporarily shift to day and back to night again. Either that or for the sake of time/budget/insurance/shitty craftsmanship, a day time car crash sequence, which conveniently removed another red shirt character, is inserted into a night scene. Perhaps the creative team hoped nobody would notice.
Either way, I want to know a director looks at their final product, sees something like that, and doesn’t feel so embarrassed as to disown the project with an Alan Smithee credit. Moreover, I want to know how a director looks at the movie’s ultimate scene, a contrived and poorly executed set-up for a sequel, and thinks, “Yeah, a second Dead Undead is almost certain to happen. I should defiantly leave this final scene as it is.” The unashamed ego, the majestic self-delusion, and the abject hubris is enough to choke a cat.
With its “don’t call us vampires” attention to political correctness (the word is night walker), a guy named Aries (Greek myth) who talks about seeing his dead girlfriend in Valhalla (Norse myth), and porntastic gun battles, The Dead Undead is a new low for contemporary movie making. It’s terrible on all counts. Though if you’re looking to satisfy a hunger driven by Schadenfreude then The Dead Undead might be worth a watch. Otherwise stay far away from this picture.
Tune in next week when I review some other movie as part of my stroll through Netflix’s Basement.
The Dead Undead
Directed by: Matthew R. Anderson and Edward Cona
Starring: Luke Goss (Jason Statham’s non-union look alike), Luke LaFontaine (Ron Jeremy’s cousin), and way too many other people who were probably working for college credit.
It is not porn, despite all indications otherwise.