Apocalypse Z (2013) (also known as Zombie Massacre) makes Brad Pitt’s mega-buster World War Z (2013), which tried manfully to transpose the walking dead to the mainstream with little success, look like an Oscar worthy literary adaptation. Directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori’s slice of shlock, starring Daniel Vivian, Mike Mitchell and Tara Cardinal, is truly woeful in every way imaginable – and then some.
There’s really not much of a storyline here, so we won’t dwell on it for long. Suffice to say that a group of Neanderthal mercenaries are sent to a remote part of Eastern Europe by the American government, after an accident at a research plant turns the local populace into flesh eating zombies. Under the impression that they are there to wipe out the evidence by planting a nuclear bomb the gang of ex-criminals soon discover that they’ve been-double crossed by the powers-that-be and that the zombies are actually the least of their worries.
Let’s dissect the evidence of this lamentable production in the best mad scientist manner (and yes, there’s even one of them present too). Firstly the zombies themselves. There’s little you can do with these horror stalwarts to make them appear fresh. Here however all the regular qualities you’ve come to expect have been jettisoned. These zombies run instead of shamble and can even be despatched with nothing more sophisticated than a smack in the face with an iron bar. Call me old fashioned, but I think zombies should show guts when they die, or at the very least loose their heads over the possibility of their imminent demise.
Next up the cast (of unknowns). The male members of the group make certain well known actors who have progressed from body builders and wrestlers to more challenging roles, look like Shakespearian protégés. Of the five female characters? Well, one says nothing at all for all of the five minutes that she appears, whilst it’s about half way through the film before the main woman Eden (Cardinal) speaks. As for the others? I think it pretty much sums it up if I tell you that the film’s best performance comes from an unnamed female who becomes a zombie even before the opening titles and isn’t seen again.
Round this off with a script which requires the cast to run around exclaiming S . . t! and F . . k! at every opportunity, and Apocalypse Z is the perfect example of work by filmmakers who believe that just because you’re a horror fan it follows that you can’t appreciate a clever, sophisticated or well made film. Enough said.