- RISE OF THE DEAD
DVD region 2. Chelsea Films.
was a time when the appearance of a new Italian zombie film was
the cause of much excitement, but those days ended around the
time of the Fulci / Mattei atrocity Zombie 3
and Zombie 4: After Death, a couple of films
that put a bullet in the head of the spaghetti zombie movie. Since
then, we’ve been flooded with low budget, semi (or fully)
amateur living dead video disasters that have painfully milked
the Romero back catalogue to no great effect, and so a new Italian
film – shot on a budget that makes those earlier mentioned
movies seem extravagant – is not an automatically appealing
prospect. So it’s to Eaters’ credit
that the film wasn’t completely awful – though connoisseurs
of the genre won’t find anything new here.
The credits sequence detail the collapse of society as the dead
rise, and as the story begins, we find ourselves in a remote pseudo-military
hideout, where a possibly mad scientist is experimenting on the
living dead while a handful of soldiers struggle for survival.
In other words, it’s Day of the Dead, not
the most action-packed Romero film to imitate. Thankfully, after
this unpromising start, things get a little more original.
Two soldiers – Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Alen (Guglielmo
Favilla) hit the road to round up new specimens and score food
and beer, and the remainder of the film follows their road trip,
where they meet a mad artist, a band of Neo-Nazis (complete with
a midget Fuhrer), a would-be cult leader and a teenage girl –
the latter most significant, as the infection killed off the women
first. As the pair fight off both living and dead threats to rescue
the girl, back at the base, mad doctor Gyno (Claudio Marmugi)
is experimenting on survivor Alexis (Rosella Elmi), a woman who
is infected but somehow still alive, in the hope of creating a
new race of breeding zombies.
the film that inspired it, Eaters has some serious
pacing issues – too much time is spent with nothing much
happening other than lot and lots of dialogue, mostly from Sid
Haig lookalike Lucchesi, that hammers home points about hopelessness,
despair and fills in back story. That's fine in moderation, but
it does tend to go on a bit – you wonder how Favilla’s
character can put up with this endless barrage of crap from his
partner. It’s bearable only because Lucchesi has quite a
presence – he’s the only standout actor here.
The zombie attacks – eschewing CGI in favour of old-school
prosthetics, thank goodness – are suitably gory, if a little
chaotic (a possible result of the limitations of the Canon 7D
used for shooting) and the score by Justin Bennett and Stefano
Rossello is a cut above what you’d expect to find in a film
of this level. But the story manages to be both derivative and
sloppy – for all the attempts to fill in details with dialogue,
there’s still a feeling that this is rushing through without
bothering to explain important details. And the film’s look
has all the feel of a project that is trying too hard to hide
its video origins, having an overly washed out appearance.
Zombie fans won’t find anything new or innovative here,
but director / producer / writer / everything else team of Luca
Boni and Marco Ristori have at least come up with a film that
at least avoids becoming too boring - and that alone puts them
above most other zombie film producers, though frankly it's faint
praise. I hope that having got their zombie film out of their
systems, they will try to tackle something more original next
The DVD comes complete with a half-hour behind-the-scenes featurette,
which is pretty decent.
IT NOW (UK)