Starring Yahya Gaier, Mimoun Ouled Radi, Gigi Ravelli
Distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment
If thereâ€™s one cinematic staple of horror that needs to be put back into the grave, itâ€™s the zombie film. The ubiquity of the undead permeates every facet of our culture. Theyâ€™re in movies, television shows, commercials, viral videos, video gamesâ€¦ everywhere. Itâ€™s exhausting, and frankly, the trend needs to go away for a good while. Few films, if any, are bringing anything new to the table. And, really, how could you? Some donâ€™t even bother with an origin for the outbreak at all anymore. Does it even matter?
While the trend is exasperated and at the edge of death in major cinematic markets (read: U.S. and U.K.), there are some foreign lands that are trying to get in on the craze despite being late to the party. And not even fashionably late; this is, â€œHey, wanna see a new Harlem Shake video?â€ late. The Netherlands is one such country. Watching Kill Zombie! (2012, and a sure contender for worst title of the year), one has to wonder if the Dutch just now got the films of Edgar Wright in their country. It is more than apparent directors Martijn Smits and Erwin van den Eshof were heavily influenced by Wrightâ€™s work, specifically both Shaun of the Dead (2004) and, to a lesser degree, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). This isnâ€™t necessarily that bad of a thing; there are certainly far worse directing styles to ape. The filmâ€™s biggest issue is that it all feels like old hat â€“ been there, seen that.
Our story takes place in Amsterdam-West, following the mundane life of Aziz (Yahya Gaier), an invisible office worker who finds himself out of a job and feeling depressed. He decides to attend a party with his brother and best bud, Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi), who is a bit of a loudmouth. His shenanigans wind up drawing the attention of some local thugs, who decide to pick a fight with the duo. All four men wind up in jail, but just as soon as they arrive so does a Russian space station, entering the atmosphere and crashing down atop one of the tallest buildings in town. The result: immediate zombies. Seriously, a city full of these things springs up in no time.
Aziz and the men break out of jail, along with the districtâ€™s top hot cop, Kim (Gigi Ravelli), who proves more than adept at handling herself. With most of the police stationâ€™s armory raided, the group settles on using standard office supplies for weaponry. The best weapon of all goes to one of the thugs, who gets his fat fingers caught in a bowling ball, so he just uses his new â€œhandâ€ to smash zombie brains.
So now what? Aziz has a plan to rescue a woman heâ€™s got a crush on, someone he went on exactly one sort-of date with earlier that week. Sheâ€™s trapped in a building across town, and on this heroic notion the group sets out to battle hordes of the undeadâ€¦ all in the name of potential love.
Kill Zombie! is as unoriginal as its title, but that doesnâ€™t mean it canâ€™t be fun, too. The film truly does play like a Dutch clone of Edgar Wright deciding to redo Shaun of the Dead with trappings of his other pictures tossed in for good measure. During one scene later on, one of the group members fights a zombie Mortal Kombat style with on-screen health bars and all. There are also a few nods to other popular American films, most notable a scene pulled straight from Pulp Fiction (1994). With so many zombie films coming out these days that lack both style and substance, itâ€™s at least commendable that this one is trying to do something entertaining. The plot is secondary to the visuals, no question. Although, I will say the story gets some serious props for turning the typical â€œrescue a loved one in distressâ€ angle on its head once Aziz and co. arrive at their destination.
Horror fans who have been hungry (no pun intended) for some fresh meat in the zombie subgenre will find Kill Zombie! to be an easy watch. Itâ€™s full of action, entertaining, and never for a second does it take itself too seriously. Even the humor translates well, as the Dutch are known for biting, acerbic wit with a good dose of gallows humor thrown in for good measure. The title and absolutely atrocious cover art will immediately be off-putting to most that come across it, but better films have been marketed more poorly than this. The foreign horror scene has been steadily gracing the States with a number of exciting, inventive properties, and while Kill Zombie! isnâ€™t the most original film to hit our shores, itâ€™s definitely a good time. And nobody can fault it for trying to be just that.
Thereâ€™s very little fault in the filmâ€™s 2.35:1 1080p 24/fps AVC MPEG-4 encoded image, which is virtually perfect. The picture features phenomenally razor-sharp crispness and a multitude of fine details, allowing for crystal clarity in facial close-ups, clothing textures, and background elements. Colors look accurate and well saturated, and black levels are rich and inky. The astute cinematography imbues the image with a great level of depth, adding dimensionality to both foreground and background objects. Thereâ€™s no grain to be seen here, which lets the pristine HD visuals take center stage with no interference. All in all, this is a damn fine image that makes full use of Blu-rayâ€™s capabilities.
If you thought the picture was stellar, just wait until your system gets a load of the filmâ€™s Dutch DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track (48kHz/24-bit). This track packs a serious punch, excelling on all fronts thanks to a boisterous array of sound effects, fantastic separation and directionality, and an LFE track that thunders with bombastic presence. Every on-screen hit has a real weight to it, allowing for some impressive immersion. The score, composed by Matthijs Keiboom and Martijn Schimmer, runs the gamut of styles, changing up frequently to suit the mood of each scene. Sometimes itâ€™s whimsical, sometimes itâ€™s intense, other times triumphant, and itâ€™s always working tirelessly to provide the right atmosphere to heighten emotions. Rear speakers come into play constantly, effectively communicating on-screen dynamics as well as off-screen violence. The disc also includes a Dutch DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 option. Subtitles are available in English.
The only bonus feature is the filmâ€™s trailer in HD.
3 out of 5
1/2 out of 5