Infection Z Movie Review
Written and directed by Glenn Ciano
2013, 95 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 10th June 2013
Michael Madsen as Louis Hartley
Christy Romano as Kelly
William Forsythe as Dr. Edward Dennehey
Johnny Cicco as Seth
Kristi Lynn as INFECTED
Tom DeNucci as Andrew Hartley
A low-budget zombie movie that I had heard absolutely nothing about prior to receiving the screener. Dreading it, as I do most cheap zombie films, I popped the disc into my player and waited to be bored thoroughly stiff. Imagine my surprise when Infection Z opened with Michael Madsen wearing a cowboy hat (my favourite kind of Michael Madsen role), shooting at zombies with a bloody big shotgun. Then William Forsythe showed up too, and I found my expectations to be delightfully dashed.
Not that Infection Z is necessarily the second coming of George Romero. It's still very much towards the lower end of the spectrum where quality is concerned, with a slow story, rubbish supporting actors and dodgy cinematography. It's fine when stars Michael Madsen and William Forsythe are around, but for the rest of the time it tends to sag and stink like slightly stagnating zombie flesh.
Infection Z re-unites Inkubus director Glenn Ciano with star Forsythe and welcomes Reservoir Dog Madsen to the fold. It's a more entertaining movie than Inkubus (a real disappointment in its waste of Robert Englund and Forsythe) but still threatens to feel unworthy of its own stars. As the zombie apocalypse rages around them, a band of hillbilly survivors struggles to stay alive and sane. Gruff tough guy Louis leads the group, his all-American swagger and cowboy hat lending him a sense of authority and masculinity. I'm told that David Morrissey fellow is doing a great job playing the Governor on The Walking Dead, but otherwise, I would have liked to see Madsen have a go at the character. Not that he wouldn't just play himself, like he always does in everything. The Michael Madsen of Infection Z is just a (Hanzo) sword and sense of honour away from Bud in Kill Bill. To be fair, though, the film does put him somewhat outside of his comfort zone in making him cry. A great presence as Mister Madsen may be – imposing, even – he can't cry for toffee. It's very uncomfortable to watch.
While Madsen delivers a fairly typical Michael Madsen performance (possibly the only type of performance he actually knows how to deliver) the ever underrated William Forsythe can be found doing something very different. His hair alone is incredible. Enormous, bleach blonde and very curly, it's one of the oddest haircuts I've ever seen in a horror film. It's actually so distracting that it takes you right out of the film, in that you're constantly wondering why folks aren't always stopping him to ask “dude, what's with the hair?” He's very good though, playing at once the film's most likeable and terrifying character.
The washed-out, yellow hues that permeate the whole film do little to differentiate it from the multitude of other cheap Syfy-esque zombie films out there, but Infection Z is far better than most. Unlike many straight to DVD movies, it actually gives plenty of screen time to its star cast members, rather than relegating them to cameos and cheekily misleading publicity shots. Kudos to the film too, for employing the rarest of beasts - talking zombies.
Infection Z is an enjoyable zombie horror film made even more so thanks to a pair of powerhouse performances from Michael Madsen and William Forsythe. Between the former's laugh (his 'ho ho ho' could put Santa to shame) and the latter's hair, they make Infection Z a force to be reckoned with. Against all odds, it's infectiously likeable.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.