out of Five
Running time: 104
Enjoyably silly horror comedy that delivers on the gore and the laughs, though it’s not on the level of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste or Braindead.
Sometimes all you really want from a movie is to see an attack of Zombie Fish and Undead delivers splendidly on all your undead watery aquatic needs. It’s the first feature from yet another team of directing brothers, Michael and Peter Spierig, both of whom have clearly seen Peter Jackson’s Braindead (zombies) and Bad Taste (aliens) more times than can strictly be considered healthy.
Meteorites Bring Zombie Madness…Hooray!
The film is set in the peaceful fishing community of Berkeley, Australia. Former Miss Catch of the Day Rene (Felicity Mason) is about to leave town and head for the big city. However, an avalanche of meteorites puts paid to her plans, particularly as they bring with them an infection that turns the town into slavering, brain-hungry zombies. And considerably resilient ones at that.
She manages to find sanctuary with local, bearded, shotgun-toting weirdo Marion (Mungo McKay) in his isolated farmhouse, where they are soon joined by other survivors, including a boorish, foul-mouthed cop (Dirk Hunter), his rookie partner (Emma Randall) and another couple (Lisa Cunningham and Rob Jenkins). However, when they try to blast their way to freedom, they discover a mysterious wall has been erected around the town…
To be fair to Undead, the Spierig Brothers began production on their film back in 2001, so they can’t be accused of jumping on the Year Of The Zombie bandwagon. They can, however, be accused of ripping off both Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi and their film never quite reaches the delirious heights of Braindead or Evil Dead 2.
Lots Of Fun To Watch
That said, it’s still a lot of fun and the film combines some impressively gory set-pieces (a shotgun blasting a zombie and leaving a walking spine; a zombie punching through someone’s head for brains) with smartly-written characters and some hilarious lines, such as, “In my day, we respected our parents, we didn’t fuckin’ eat ‘em!”
Felicity Mason makes an attractive lead and the film cunningly uses the plot device of acid rain in order to get both her and the rest of the cast to strip down to skimpy tops. Hunter’s character gets most of the best lines, but McKay makes an extremely unconventional lead, performing some unlikely dungarees-clad stunts with his bulky form and proving a dab-hand with a bit of dual shotgun action. Then of course, there is the (ahem) pisces de resistance, the Zombie Fish Attack Flashback, which might just be one of the funniest scenes of the year.
In short, Undead is undeniably silly, but it’s also extremely enjoyable and the Spierig Brothers work wonders with their miniscule budget, suggesting that this won’t be the last we hear from them. Best Film Featuring Zombie Fish Of The Year and yes, I know it’s only January. Worth seeing.