Monday, February 18, 2008

More ZZZZZZZZZZ than zombie

The Zombie Diaries on DVD (2006)

Starring: Russell Jones, Craig Stovin, Jonnie Hurn
Director: Michael Bartlett, Kevin Gates

Watch now: Included to watch as part of a subscription
Well it started OK. The naturalist acting is competent and the film succeeds in looking like a documentary with reasonably good production values. The virus is wreaking havoc in Europe and causing serious problems; a series of Vox Pop street interviews were shown; people shrugged their shoulders in the face of the Zombie threat, claiming that the government would do something, what can I do? I can only assume that people weren't being given the full facts or there surely would have been the sort of panic you see in Romero's films.
We follow a film crew leaving London, travelling to a small village in the country. While they're travelling the virus reaches London and there is panic. In London this village, oddly, has already been overun by Zombies.
Then comes a leap forward in time - Zombies everywhere - the acting is failing by now and the Zombies are far from top-quality. Plenty of Blair witch style panicking in the woods at night, so much in fact that this becomes utterly tedious and annoying.
The leaps forward in time, and the poorly drawn characters, left me reeling and not able to follow what little story there was - and finally a leap backwards in time back to near the beginning left me with absolutely no idea what was going on.
Not very good - don't bother.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Black Sun - Nanking Massacre on DVD (1995)

I wrote this review for Lovefilm:
Director: Tun Fei Mou

I was under the misapprehension that this was a documentary when I placed it on the list - obviously I didn't read the blurb, but it had been recommended to me by a friend.
It's pretty intense. As gory as a horror film, and be prepared that this true story is about as bleak as it gets. Thousands of innocents were rounded up, killed, or tortured and then killed.
In the film you see some nasty things occuring, including people being raped, burned, stabbed, set on fire and shot. Dead bodies lie in great heaps. There are so many bodies the Japanese do not know what to do with them. There's one particularly nasty scene fit for any horror movie. I'll leave you to find it though, if you do decide to rent this DVD.
There's some doucmentary footage to show you that these events really happened, but then we cut to the colour reenactment. I believe the makers of this film struggled with giving the film a narrative, with so much horror going on it was hard to focus on a few people, and even harder to try to rescue some sort of positive outcome from the film. But there does appear to be an attempt to make the viewer sympathise with one particular family, with at least one member of the family making it to the end of the film alive (maybe).
I rated it 4 stars - its not perfect but tells a difficult slice of history in a reasonably interesting and entertaining way. It'll probably leave you wanting to know more though, but is that really a bad thing?