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E.C.McMullen Jr.
Undead
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TIP JAR
UNDEAD - 2003
USA Release: July 1, 2005
Spierig Films / Lions Gate Entertainment
Rated: USA: R

An explosion in space! The sound is shocking! A fiery object goes tearing ass through space toward earth and you have to ask:

'Wait. Sound in Space?'

TRIVIA
The Spierig Bros., Michael and Peter, are not only the writers and directors, but also the Producers, Editors, Sound, and Visual Effects people.

Then we see the quiet town of Berkeley, Australia. A young girl sits in a chair, patiently listening to a bank loan jerk go through a long-winded explanation as to why, since her parents died, he is going to be an asshole to her and it's her fault. She grows up in that chair listening to this crap.

Her name is Rene (Felicity Mason) and it was just this year (2002) that she won a local beauty pageant as Fish Queen of Berkeley. Now her parents are dead, her life is in a shambles, and she is leaving for the big city to live with her grandma. What a time for meteorites to come screaming out of the sky!

A family day at the park! Folks are laughing and having a wonderful time! Then meteorites come zipping through the air, tearing into the ground and right through people! Oh the Horror! Oh the very graphic gore!

UndeadThen the dead people get up and go on a murderous rampage. Merry mishaps ensue.

In perhaps the best tradition of 1950-60 SF/Horror movies I've ever seen, UNDEAD rips across the screen with as much sturm und drang drama as humanly possible. Except the old scifi flicks of 40 and 50 years ago would never have had gore like this. The gore is definitely of the George Romero / Peter Jackson school of blood.

In fact, like Peter Jackson's gonzo pic, DEAD ALIVE, UNDEAD goes so over the top with the gore it zooms right past Horror into outlandish comedy.

Rene tries her best to get out of town and the town knows it. This despite the fact that, as Fish Queen of Berkeley, she is obligated to perform certain duties as an upstanding member of the community. Whether or not world peace is among those duties is unknown, but YOU try to reason with a bank loan officer.

The taxi driver giving her a lift into the big city is a sleazy sort and waffles between attempts at slick creepiness and paternal sympathy. Taking a short cut out of town, the pair wind up stuck behind an accident. The taxi driver takes matters into his own hands and winds up having to be in two places at once.

Rene witnesses the unexpected carnage and, wielding a "car club", makes good her escape with the help of a mysterious stranger and a gun that would make Reggie from PHANTASM drool.

Rene makes her way to a farm house and there she meets the stranger who saved her, Marian (Mungo McKay). Marian used to sell guns for a living until a new law made the possession of firearms illegal. Now Marian can't sell his stock, but he hasn't let go of it either. Instead, he's become one gun-toting fighting machine a la THE MATRIX or EQUILIBRIUM.

Like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, soon more people are coming to the old farm house. There is the young guy and gal, Wayne (Rob Jenkins) and Sallyanne (Lisa Cunningham) soon followed by two Berkely police, one cowardly hothead straight out of Super Troopers named Harrison (Dirk Hunter) and his new partner, the asthmatic Molly (Emma Randall). So what do they all do? Exactly what you shouldn't do in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. They all go down to the basement because the zombies are on their tails.

Personalities and power plays get sorted out in the depths of the basement. Marian has his guns taken from him, Deputy Harrison talks himself into thinking he has everything under control, Sallyanne reveals that she is pregnant and ready to deliver, Rene becomes the strongest in the group, and Molly tries to find her "Happy Place" while the zombies growl and prowl over their heads.

The knockabout laughs don't last forever though as the story gets more intriguing. Tiny morsel by morsel the writing directing team of Michael and Peter Spierig keep introducing new elements. There is a reason for all of the madness and the weird gets weirder.

UNDEAD is one hell of a great ride. Viciously inventive and unafraid, the Spierig Brothers take the pro movie makers to school with a flick that is satirical, lyrical, hilarious and horrifying. My only problem was with the overall lighting, which at times was so dim I couldn't make out certain things that apparently needed to be seen. But Four Shriek Girls means the UNDEAD is well worth the ride.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2005 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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