This latest installment in the everlasting zombie movie production craze is a straight-to-video flick that proves that zombie movies require absolutely no acting talent and are fairly cheap to make. Starring a cast of people that you may have heard of from other things, Rise of the Zombies begins with crowds of conveniently placed undead, a badly done CGI car crash and a group of survivors on the island of Alcatraz. From there, it’s mostly zombies getting shot and smashed, people getting eaten and… well, there ain’t much more to it than that.
The basic story evolves in three arcs. The first two involve a group of people that leave Alcatraz that then splits into two groups, one looking for an evacuation point and the other looking for a potential cure. The last arc is a doctor that gets left behind on the now zombie-infested island to continue his research. The two groups slowly lose members and eventually reform once enough people have died. The remaining people continue the search for a cure, finding a doctor (not the same as the first one) who appears to have the problem solved. The (original) doctor arc involves a father and his infected daughter. It really goes nowhere though there is a painful scene of the doctor cutting off a piece of his own arm to feed the daughter.
If you’ve seen any zombie film, you’ve seen this one except probably better. The zombies look as good as zombies usually do, which is a plus. The actors are painful to watch, which is bad. Notable non-standard elements include - the zombie virus being an organism that infects the body and takes it over, a horribly gut-turning baby-stomp scene and a performance by actor French Stewart that is at least fairly entertaining. Completely ridiculous stuff includes - man gets arm chopped off and immediately flies a chopper, zombies scaling the sides of a bridge like they are Spider-Man and a disco-dance-like zombie electrocution scene done in slow motion. Oh, and there’s the completely random slow-motion shots that pop up throughout the film for no particular reason.
If you really, really love zombies and don’t mind sitting through a B-film that will never become a classic, give Rise of the Zombies a watch. If you’re anyone else, do yourself a favor and avoid this one. It may not be the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it sure as hell ain’t the best.