Returning from a five-year hiatus and with a new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, the After Dark Horrorfest is back with a new crop of “8 Films to Die For.” All the films were released in selected theaters and on VOD on October 16, 2015, with a DVD release date of October 27, 2015.
It’s been five years since the zombie apocalypse wiped out most of the world’s population. Now the remaining re-animates, or “re-ans,” are kept under control by a special sector in the government called the R-Division, a SWAT-like team who hunts and re-kills the zombies to help prevent a second outbreak. A reporter who works for a live television show called Re-Kill follows one division around as they go about their normal business. But things get a little hairy when they must enter The Zone, a restricted area that could be holding potentially dangerous secrets.
I’ve always enjoyed those zombie films that choose to set their plot after the outbreak has already happened. It is far more interesting to me to see peoples’ ideas about how the survivors would deal with such a situation and what the world would be like. Re-Kill presents this glimpse into the possible post-zombie world in a very interesting way. The film is bookended with footage of a young girl watching an episode of Re-Kill in her home, and that episode is the movie, complete with fake commercials. As the show is supposed to be a live, documentary-type show, the movie is shot in the found footage style–but if you’re not a fan of FF, don’t let that stop you from giving Re-Kill a chance.
The movie starts off with a high-intensity scene of R-Division 8 taking out a large group of re-ans in a neighborhood, and is a good indication of the action to come. After that, the filmmakers give the audience a chance to meet the members of this division, which is headed up by a man known only as Sarge. The characters act pretty much how you would expect them to: very tough and gung-ho on the outside, when you can really tell that it’s just an act to help them get through what they do. There are tidbits of interviews with each person edited into the episode of Re-Kill, so that you get to know some of them a little bit, but not really enough to feel all that bad when the inevitable happens. Sarge and the one woman on the R-Division team, Matthews, are the only ones who are given any real emotional story. However, you still like everybody else, even the sometimes annoying and cowardly cameraman who realizes he may have gotten in over his head, but still tries to tell the real story.
The fake commercials provide a lot of comic relief for the film and give the audience a chance to take a break from the more frenetic energy of the main story. They are also really genius ideas about how certain cultural ideals would be more tolerated in this kind of society. Most of the commercials are actually just about encouraging people to have sex, and they are advertised as being brought to the audience by the “Coalition to Re-Populate America.” There is also a commercial advertising a Desert Eagle gun; a therapy center that will prescribe you hard drugs; and even one that encourages the population to enjoy smoking because “it won’t get you before the re-ans do.” The promo spots for the other shows on the Outbreak News Channel, like “Survival Week,” seems to highlight the media’s obsession with tragedy and people trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame.
The zombies are of the fast-moving, very aggressive kind. Mix that in with the film’s found footage style, and you get the main problem that I had with Re-Kill, mostly during the action sequences. The constantly moving and shaking camera is not always able to properly capture the action for the audience, and the editing doesn’t help much either, as a shot will often cut before you really get to see anything. And it was a shame, too, because this movie has some really spectacularly choreographed scenes with zombies, gunfire, blood, and explosions–pretty much everything you could want in a movie like this. I just wish they had allowed the camera to linger a bit longer to show off those wonderful effects.
Nevertheless, Re-Kill is still a very fast-paced and extremely enjoyable zombie apocalypse film that brings some fresh ideas to the table. There are elements to some of the plot points that have been done over and over again in zombie films, but there is true ingenuity in the storytelling aspect and that makes this one a real win for me.
WICKED RATING: [usr 8]
Director: Valeri Milev
Writer: Michael Hurst
Stars: Roger Cross, Daniella Alonso, Bruce Payne
Studio/ Production Co: After Dark Films, Midsummer Films
Length: 88 minutes