Starring Jenecia Garcia and the sorriest excuses for zombies ever put to film
Directed by "ZWS"
Back in my Creature Corner reviewing days I kept pestering Butane and Rotten to create some sort of negative star rating for the movies I viewed that were utterly worthless in every way imaginable. I pretty much got my wish here at Dread Central in the form of the "Broken Mug" rating. Now that I’ve viewed Zombiez I feel the need to request the creation of an even lower rating, preferably an image of me slitting my wrists with the broken mug.
I used to hold up films like S.I.C.K. and Frost: Portrait of a Vampire as the measuring sticks by which I judged the absolute worst of the direct-to-video horror genre but unlike Zombiez, at least those two films had actual storylines and not just a camera following someone around for 85 minutes. I’m betting the Zombiez screenplay was nothing more than five pages long, most likely scribbled in a notebook, and the cost of purchasing that notebook comprised about 80% of the film’s budget. Dialogue is at a minimum, and that’s perfectly understandable since the plot is non-existent. You have no real clue what is going on, most of what’s going on consists of stuff that would end up on the cutting room floor of any real film, and we never even get an explanation as to why there are zombies running amok.
Be warned: the eye-catching box art is in no way reflective of the film’s content. There are no rotting corpses walking around in this movie. What this movie calls zombies you and I would call everyday people with some blood splattered on their clothes that cackle, howl, moan, and make crazy faces. It’s obvious that some of the extras playing these zombies were having much more fun than anyone watching the movie because a few are visibly laughing and smiling. Some of the zombies can think and talk and others are basically mongoloid in nature, and never are we given any insight as to the how or why of either. These zombies also have a tendency to carry sickles and butcher knives, the obviously fake kind you can get at a costume shop or novelty store come Halloween. When they swarm around a victim and chop them to death with their blades it’s like when you’re play fighting with someone and you pretend to punch them by moving your arm in a deliberate manner stopping short of actually making contact. Like everything else involving the zombies in this movie, it’s embarrassing to watch.
The movie begins at the Purgatory Construction Company that is as the on-screen graphic tells us, "20 miles from functional plumbing". I think that was supposed to mean the company was located in a rural location but that can’t be right since you can clearly see other buildings all over the place. Right then and there I knew I was in big trouble with this one.
Our main character is a young African-American woman named Josephine. Other than the fact that she works for this construction company and is married, her name is about all there is to her character. She witnesses a zombie attack and then gets chased by them herself, at least until they’re scared off by the sound of police sirens. Yes, according to this movie, black zombies know to run from the law. I don’t know whether I should laugh at this bit of racial stereotyping or be flabbergasted.
Traumatized, she goes home to the comforting arms of her husband. Moments later, zombies are at her door trying to break in. Josephine clearly married the stupidest man ever to walk the earth because killers are trying to break into his house and yet he angrily opens the door to yell at them. He ends up getting yanked outside The Fog-style and Josephine gets knocked unconscious only to awaken and find herself tied up in a warehouse where her husband is getting tortured by a guy that may or may not be a zombie but definitely looks like he got lost on his way to the Sturgis biker blowout.
She escapes and runs down the empty streets for what seems like an eternity only for the scene to finally fade out. When it fades in she’s in the woods all of a sudden for even more aimless walking before getting chased by yet more zombies. She ends up taking refuge with some guy inside a tiny dilapidated shack that is clearly bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. He eventually picks up a butcher knife of his own (I swear someone needs to alert the Guinness Book of World Records people because this movie must have set some sort of record for most butcher knives ever seen in a single motion picture) and runs off the zombies. Yes, one man swinging a butcher knife manages to send about a dozen flesh-craving zombies fleeing in terror. Josephine ends up leaving the guy behind where the zombies eventually get over their fear of having meat cleavers swung at them and, as the zombies in this movie do to every victim they feast upon, proceed to slice his belly open and feed on the entrails the director picked up at the supermarket that day.
For somewhere in the vicinity of 5-10 minutes, all we see is Josephine wandering through the woods, struggling to cross a stream, climbing rocks, and then wandering out into the road where she causes a car to wreck (off-camera because this movie couldn’t afford to show you a real car accident) only to have the unknown driver fall out with market-fresh guts pouring from her stomach. She spies some zombies that are actually standing around pointing and laughing at her so she grabs some items from out of the car, makes a Molotov cocktail, and incinerates them. Actually, it was more of a Molotov smoke bomb because this movie couldn’t even afford fire effects.
So after having spent the last half hour or more watching this woman run for her life through the woods with no clue where she thinks she might be going, what does Josephine do next? She decides to go back and save her husband even though she has no reason to even believe he’s alive. She goes to climb back down those rocks and ends up breaking her ankle. If you were impressed with the instant Molotov cocktail she constructed, then wait until you see her spend several minutes resetting the bone and constructing the flimsiest shin splint ever made using a couple of twigs loosely tied together with a strip of fabric she tore off her shirt. Josephine then hobbles back to the construction company where she is immediately knocked unconscious and taken captive again.
All this nonsense in the woods that took up nearly a third of the movie was just pointless crap. We’re back to square one. Pardon me while I vent again.
Have I even mentioned the score? It consists of four different hip-hop riffs that are each composed of the same four notes repeated ad nauseum to the point of becoming the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture.
Enter a new character simply called "The Dr.", who may or may not be a zombie because like everything else we’re never told for sure. He claims to be the leader of the zombies and talks of building an army and retaking the streets or something vague along those lines. The zombies he commands all talk and act like dimwitted petty street thugs armed with butcher knives. Since the opening of the movie began with a definition/explanation as to what a zombie is with emphasis on the voodoo origins of the term, I kept waiting for The Dr. to reveal that he was behind it all and that the zombies were just people on the street he used that voodoo drug on to turn into his zombie minions. It never comes. No explanation of any kind about anything ever comes.
At this point the movie gets all weird as The Dr. is shown shooting at a man in a chicken suit likes it’s a carnival game, workers are shown loading flesh-filled boxes labeled meat pies into a truck, and definitions for the words "despair" and "revenge" appear on-screen. Again, no clue is given for any of this, especially the definitions. If the director intended for this movie to be some sort of metaphorical, surrealist horror film, which is the only explanation I can come up with, then he failed as badly as any director could possibly fail.
In the end, Josephine battles "The Dr." in a one-on-one brawl that features fight choreography so pathetic it may very well have been patterned after the Timmy/Jimmy cripple fight episode of "South Park". It should be noted that during this fight Josephine has no trouble walking and jumping around on her broken ankle nor does she have any problem punching the guy with the same hand from which she just lost one of her fingers. The zombies are nowhere to be found during the climax, and the credits roll almost as soon as the fight concludes so Zombiez never gives any explanation for anything going on and the finale of the movie doesn’t even involve zombies. One more time!
No scares! No plot! No point! No clue!
Doing a little investigating I’ve come to the conclusion that director "ZWS" is actually a pseudonym for Z. Winston Brown, the director of last year’s similarly themed Vampiyaz. If I am incorrect, then I apologize to Mr. Brown for even associating his name with an atrocity like Zombiez but I’m fairly certain I have the correct culprit. Like everything else about this movie I have no idea why he chose to use an "Alan Smithee" other than he must have actually watched his own movie and realized this could destroy what little career he has. It would be a damn shame if the failure of this film deprived him of the chance to make Werewolvz, Mummiez, and Witchez.
Back in the heyday of blacksploitation cinema we got wonderful junk like Blacula and Blackenstein. Today we get hip-hop horror in the form of worthless trash like Zombiez. This film is an insult not only to the viewing audience but also to every guerilla filmmaker out there that actually attempts to craft a worthwhile movie out of nothing. That a credible company like Lions Gate would release something this pathetic on DVD with such deceptive artwork only makes things that much more appalling.
Remember in Fight Club when they talked about who they would fight if they could fight anyone? I now know my pick. I wanna fight the guy at Lions Gate that approved the Zombiez DVD release. That guy needs an ass kicking of biblical proportions, and I’m ready to open a whole keg of whoop ass.
0 out of 5
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