Anger of the Dead Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by Uncork'd Entertainment
Written and directed by Francesco Picone
2015, 84 minutes, Not Rated
Released on January 8th, 2016
Roberta Sparta as Alice
Marius Bizau as Stephen
Aaron Stielstra as Rooker
Michael Segal as Peter
A small group of survivors attempt to flee a zombie-ridden area in hopes to reach an island rumored to be a safe zone.
I’d call myself a zombie aficionado, and there isn’t too much of the genre I haven’t seen with the exception of some older Italian stuff; but Anger of the Dead fails on many levels, and that’s unfortunate considering how great the practical effects are.
It’s hard to say just why it fails, considering the acting isn’t terrible, though not great, the visuals are spot on and the location is good. Maybe it is the story, or lack thereof. I normally don’t want to be spoon fed plot or given details though sloppy exposition, but SOMETHING would have been nice here. The main character, Alice, receives a call from her husband who works in the city. She is told to wait for him and not to go outside because of what’s happening. But of course, she goes outside, almost gets eaten, is rescued by a stranger named Stephen, then smash cut to “4 Months Later”. So, what happened during that time; what about her husband? Things like that really get under my skin because instead of having an idea and expanding on it, a lazy writer will just jump ahead in time.
Also, Anger of the Dead lacks the balls it needs to take things to another level. The first two zombie-related death scenes involve children under 10 years old, but everything happens off screen, so we don’t see anything. At first I thought this was due to budget constraints, but later we see zombie attacks and plenty of practical effects. I’m not a huge proponent of kids being killed on screen, all I’m saying is that if you write it in the movie, own it. The intro to 28 Weeks Later shows exactly how to handle something like this, and it’s heartbreaking.
Before I get to the stuff I like, believe it or not, the last complaint that I have is the zombies themselves. They’re the fast moving Dawn of The Dead (remake) type, which are by far the scariest zombies out there. The only problem is that these tend to behave as if they know they are in a movie. There is one scene in particular where Alice is running for dear life, trips, as the heroine typically does, and the zombie actually pauses in mid sprint, only so we can see a reaction shot of it and Alice. I would relate this to when the bad guy has every chance to shoot the hero in the head, but decides to go into a monologue instead.
All of my positive praise goes directly to the makeup and visual effects department. It’s so refreshing to see such a violent movie NOT have any bit of CGI, at least none that I recognized. Though it is obvious that either time or money was a factor, since only the faces of most zombies were made up. It is slightly distracting when seeing a completely decomposed face but the body of an athletic woman in her 20s. I’ll let that one slide, though.
All in all, Anger of the Dead is messy, and leaves far too many questions to be answered by the time the credits roll; and they aren’t even important questions. There is also a very strong Walking Dead vibe that can’t be ignored, especially regarding the villain Rooker, who is some sort of cross between The Governor and Negan. Fans of that show will understand what I’m talking about, but I found this funny. So if you’re a diehard zombie fan, you couldn’t do much worse than this, but at least the effects look good.