Deadhunter: Sevillian Zombies Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Studio – Evil Night Productions
Written and directed by Julián Lara
2003, 75 Minutes, Not rated
José Pedro Gil as The Commander
José Manuel Gómez
The recently deceased are returning to life and attacking members of the public in the Spanish city of Sevilla. In response an elite team of agents, known as the Deadhunters, has been assembled to eradicate the flesh eating threat from the city. Under the watchful eye of 'The Commander' they are issued orders and take to the streets to neutralise the zombies wherever they cause a disturbance.
Father Dan (on assignment from the Vatican), and Charlie are sent out to a video store where an incident has been reported. Searching the store they find a zombie hiding behind the video racks and after a struggle with Father Dan, where he beats the zombie half back to death with a copy of Bad Taste, both he and Charlie fill the reanimated ghoul full of hot Deadhunter lead.
Across the city more incidents are occurring and the Mayor has refused to cancel the fair which attracts thousands of people each year. Of course, where there's a high concentration of Sevillian civilians, there are sure to be gut munching zombies. Overpowered and undermanned, the Deadhunters have to fight for their lives.
Meanwhile, the Commander realises that to mop up the isolated pockets of shuffling flesheaters will not be enough, the problem must be attacked at the source if there is ever to be a resolution. He discovers that an abandoned subway system is the breeding ground for the epidemic, and mobilises the remaining Deadhunters to the subway for a battle to win back the city.
It seems in this digital age, that anyone with a digital video camera, some video editing software and a DVD burner can shoot, produce and distribute their own movie. This can be a good thing, or a very bad thing but in the case of Deadhunter: Sevillian Zombies it's a pretty good thing.
The movie opens impressively with a high speed car ride set to a funky Spanish electro/industrial metal track, and it's a sequence which completely throws the viewer off the low budget nature of the production. Once the music stops however, the classic traits of independent cinema become apparent; hollow, echoey sound, shaky camerawork and some wooden acting performances. That's not such a bad thing, but a little let-down after the impact of the credit sequence.
What is most refreshing about Deadhunter is that it is a low budget zombie movie which doesn't feel the need to constantly pay homage to (or to put it another way; runs out of ideas so copies) any of the genre favourites. I had my doubts at one point when the action moves to a 'shopping mall', but this turned out to be nothing more than a supermarket used as a location with no hint of Romero's Dead movie slipping in.
Surprisingly, given the subject matter, there isn't a great deal of gore in the movie. Sure there's a few offal bags torn open from out of victim's shirts, but the majority of the effects budget has been directed, wisely, toward creating individual zombie make-ups. These are slow, shuffling zombies too, not the fast moving ones which seem to be getting ever more popular in Hollywood. Obviously there wasn't money in the budget to use squibs for bullet hits, so unfortunately most of the zombie dispatching is on the dry side. The actors shake their guns to mime firing, and machine gun sounds have been dubbed on during post production. It's an extremely campy way to do the shooting, but the whole movie has its tongue so firmly in cheek that it works like a charm.
The movie has been made with a Spanish spoken soundtrack with added English subtitles. I don't know how literal the translations are, but the majority of the dialogue is gut bustingly funny and I found myself laughing out loud on quite a few occasions, especially the stoned guy after bar a bar full of zombies is massacred; "Sweet! All the zombies are dead and nobody ate my dick". It's that kind of fun attitude that makes the movie fly by where others would drag. Credit to Julián Lara for making the movie in his native tongue instead of opting for English to appeal to a foreign market. It would take a high calibre of foreign actor to carry off a movie in English, and I just don't believe the budget could provide that level of actor.
Finally, I must take my hat off to the industrious Julián Lara. As well as writing the screenplay, directing and acting for the movie he also picks up credits for camera operator, film editing, visual effects, executive producer, producer, post production, dialogue editing, finance executive, production designer and he's also the guy who translated the subtitles to English! Add to that the fact he's currently negotiating with several companies to produce Deadhunter as a video game, and there is also a comic book in the offing, you can see it's a labour of love. All of this before the movie has an official DVD release, although a certain Lloyd Kauffmann appears as a guest star, so maybe Troma will pick this up for distribution.
Video and Audio:
This is a Region free PAL DVDR Screener Disc. The movie was shot on Digital Video and the lack of tripod/steadicam work coupled with some fast moving sequences makes for a lot of motion blurring, which can be extremely distracting at times. It also made grabbing screenshots for this review a real pain. There is noticable artifacting during high motion scenes and some picture corruption occurs at various points during the movie. I would hope that these defects are due to the lower quality mastering used for the screener disc and that they would be cleaned up for the retail DVD. The hardcoded subtitles are in yellow, contrast well with the picture and are always easy to read.
A PCM 2.0 Soundtrack accompanies the movie. Despite the hollow sound typical of independent productions, the dialogue seems easy to hear, but the subtitles negate the need to pick out every last word. The music score is awsome, all original tracks by rock/metal bands that frequently enhance the onscreen action and give the Deadhunter team a more gung-ho attitude.
None Whatsoever! It's just a screener of the movie.
|Movie:||– Great fun. I'd love to see what Lara could do with a big budget.|
|Video:||– Needs significant improvement for a DVD release.|
|Audio:||– Does the job it's there to do.|
|Overall:||– There's always room for new zombie movies.|
Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.