Cowboy Zombies DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Left Films
Directed by Paul Winters
Written by Gahan Wilson and Paul Winters
2016, 88 minutes, Rated 15
DVD released on 22nd August 2016
Jarod Anderson as George Rivers
Greg Bronson as Preacher Black
Kiera Crouch as Becky Miller
Matt E. Derdivanis as Josh Winston
Efrain Escudero as Hector Ruiz
Mark Grossman as Wyatt
Two things that are terrible if you don’t have the budget or proficiency to do them properly: cowboys and zombies. Two things which collide without budget or proficiency in Cowboy Zombies: well, you probably already guessed as much from the title.
In Cowboy Zombies (Cowboys vs Zombies already taken, and originally titled Walking Dead in the West, which I honestly cannot decide between being a better or worse name), zombies converge upon a small town in the wild wild west. In it, a motley group of townfolk, gunslingers and manly men band together to survive the undead nightmare which plagues them, rounding up the best and the worst tropes from both subgenres in the process. That’ll get you a siege in a saloon, an unsteady Apache ally, and the old-timey sort of cart one pedals down a railway. There’s also plenty of zombies, all of the slow, shambling variety.
Also slow and shambling: the rest of the movie. No quick and the dead this one, more slow west, with zombies and without a budget. It doesn’t help that its release follows such modern classics as The Hateful Eight and (yes, calling it now) Bone Tomahawk, paling in comparison with its Red Dwarf style, 60s Star Trek era wobbly sets, inauthentic actors (none good, all bad and ugly) and unimaginative story. Okay, it’s unfair to expect a lowly no-budgeter like this to be written like Tarantino or acted with the true grit of Kurt Russell, but it’s about as dull and bland as the medium gets. From its daft narration to its fake-grizzled looking cowboys, nothing about it feels real or right – not even its zombies, which are amongst the cheapest ever seen in a no-budget horror film. One of them does bark for some reason though, which is a highlight.
Set in 1870s Arizona, the plot sees Marshall Frank Wilcox escorting a grubby outlaw to the frontier town of Crumpit (really) for summary justice. Matters are complicated when the town’s cure has the dead rise from the grave, hungry and out for brains. Together with a US Army Sergeant, town preacher, some obligatory women, an Apache Indian and a dwarf who works in a bar, Frank attempts to survive... and keep those around him alive too.
In fairness, there’s more of a sense of ambition than there could have been; an even lesser piece might have had the action isolated entirely at the saloon, or just within the boring boundaries of Crumpit. Instead, it travels, and lets its characters do the same, even if there’s not a great deal to do there. This good-natured, lazy ambling continues through to the finale, which, lacking any sense of purpose or narrative heft, is as weak as everything else preceding it.
A great big dust ball nothing of a movie, Cowboy Zombies is the worst of both worlds, its stodgy zombie oats uncomfortably mashed together to no real purpose.
Video and Audio:
The picture has a certain clarity, but that's not neccessarily a good thing - all the better to see the shonky sets and rubber makeup with, unfortunately. It sounds fine, if as cheap as everything else.
An audio commentary and the usual lot of Left Films trailers make up the disc's waste-of-a-DVD-menu features.