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Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here (Blu-ray / DVD)

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Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here

Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins HereStarring Justin Ray, Ali Williams, Stefanie Estes, Ron Hanks, Jerod Meagher

Directed by Turner Clay

Distributed by Warner Bros.


Here it is, fiends. The movie with the longest title you’ll see all year. Of course I speak of Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Meteors are getting ready to strike the city of Los Angeles. Following their impact, the smoke left behind from the destruction ends up infecting the living, killing them, and bringing ’em back as flesh-hungry ghouls.

It’s a simple story, but if done right, it can also be a blast of a good time. Notice I said “if.”

The opening meteor strike scene is pretty bitchin’ and gives the feel of a much higher budget film than what this actually is. Buildings are shattered, and explosions incinerate the areas around them. There’s chaos in the streets! It’s mayhem! Imagine if you will one of the most populated cities in the entire United States under siege from glacial extraterrestrial objects. Yep, it’s anarchy. Those meteor strikes, man. They look awesome. It’s just… wow. I mean, it’s almost startling how cool everything looks, and kudos to director Turner Clay (who did just about everything in this flick) for creating a truly memorable introduction into his film’s world.

There’s just one problem… The movie itself is about an hour and twenty minutes, and at this point there’s still an hour and five minutes to go.

Of course our protagonists, who do well enough with their respective roles, are comprised of a bunch of friends and a pair of brothers who are looking to help get each other to safety. They decide to flee to the coast and then travel north to Oregon. Any place is better than L.A., right? It’s in shambles after all! From there our survivors flee through and to a seemingly endless amount of apartments and parking structures as a means to get out of Dodge. When I say “endless,” I mean it. A good 50 percent of the movie is spent in one parking structure or another. No matter what’s going on outside, seeing the inside of a parking lot for at least forty-five minutes is dull. Especially because there’s hardly a zombie to be seen anywhere.

At no time did the zombie horde of Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here surpass three at a time. Usually it’s just one zombie. Sometimes we get two. But three? That’s the maximum. Almost every one of said living dead are introduced Resident Evil video game style with their backs to the main characters until they slowly turn around. It’s kind of laughable. Three zombies, even running zombies, don’t pose much of a threat anymore. You don’t exactly have to be Einstein to outsmart ’em, ya know.

As if the lack of zombies isn’t enough, there’s even less gore to be found, and some kills even happen offscreen. Even though the box says “unrated,” this flick could easily have been PG-13. The only way to get away with this cardinal sin is to have characters whom you actually give a shit about. We barely get that, and the dialogue is stilted and, even worse, repeated a couple of times.

Remember when I was praising the meteor scene above? That’s because it’s the only thing I can actually say is good about this incredibly dull mess. It’s more of a Clay Turner demo reel than it is a movie. Yes, Mr. Turner, your score is good and your FX work shows a lot of promise, but you may want to leave the writing and editing to someone else.

Given the attention to the cool CGI meteor effects, I cannot help but wonder why zombies weren’t CGI’ed in as well. If only to liven things up in the deadest of ways!

There are, mercifully enough, zero special features to be found here so once the movie is done, it’s done.

If this is where the zombie apocalypse begins as Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here‘s title suggests, then it starts with a whimper followed by lots and lots of yawns. This one isn’t even worth a curiosity viewing, kids. Skip it and move along.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

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Summary

Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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