Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead

Director - Patrick Devaney (Mastic PD)
Starring - Patrick Devaney, Teri Hansen (Aemorraghe), and Christopher J. Murphy (Attack of the Brain People)
Release Date - 2007
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Well, it was a few good days while it lasted but it was only a matter of time before I came across another zombie flick to review.  A little less than a week ago I reviewed a zombie film that had a very interesting story but the film failed to do anything with it.  This was a little upsetting but something I am now accustomed to with the surge in the post-Walking Dead zombie movement.  Sometime ago, well over a year now, Wild Eye sent me Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead to review.  This is an indie horror television show that airs on a public access channel somewhere in NY/NJ.  They sent me the first 8 episodes spread out over two DVDS.  The show originally aired in 2007 almost 3 years before The Walking Dead craze.  Sadly, the disc with episodes 1 through 4 would not play an any DVD player that I owned.  I put them on my shelf where I completely forgot about them until recently when a friend got a disc re-surfacer.  I tossed it in and this time I would lucky enough to finally get to check out this zombie survival show that pre-dates TWD.  Once again, thank you Wild Eye for sending these my way.
     The show follows a group of survivalist that discover that the dead are walking the Earth devouring the innocent.  The authorities are trying to hide it but more and more people are being attacked in the city.  This group bands together and start raising money any way they can to buy guns, ammo, supplies, and even apartments that they can retrofit to survive in if things get out of hand.  This sends the group into the seedy parts of town where they meet with gangsters, drug dealers, and gun runners in order to get the supplies they need to fight the undead epidemic.  

     Before I get too far into this, I have to admit that I love the zombie sub-genre.  I grew up on Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and the list goes on and on.  When I hit high school several zombie flicks were released that I now love with the one coming straight to mind being Dead and Breakfast.  So as I write this keep in mind that I do enjoy zombie films regardless of how much I bash the surge of undead films in recent years.  Zombie Hunters: City of the Undead is a no budget production that has a lot of great concepts but the story and budget works against them creating something that is almost painful to watch.  The acting on this one is very rough and something I could not get used to even after I watched 8 thirty minute episodes.  The cast has a hard time interacting with each other in a genuine and authentic manner.  Some scenes one character will be exhausting their talents trying to act and reading their lines while another misreads the situation and is screaming to the top of their lungs.  This made almost all of the scenes hard to watch which results in bits and pieces of the story going unnoticed.  The story for this one is a solid mix of urban crime drama and horror but it just does not work well with the way the show is shot.  The city is supposed to be in peril but the only ones that are freaking out is the cast.  They walk down crowded streets and no one is panicking.  There was several ways this could have been shot to prevent this because it pulls away from the zombie apocalypse affect.  The way the series was shot also makes it difficult for the viewer to follow along.  We get long artistic shots of the moon through the trees and so forth that drag on for far too long.  So long, in fact, that the viewer almost forgets what was going on before this cheap filler was added. The series needs to be edited heavily.  It will shorten the episodes but would make it a little more effective.  Now, as for the zombies. We rarely get them.  The story mostly focuses on the group of zombie hunters while they are discussing what they are going to do and not actually doing it.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills that truly surprised me.  The series has countless head shots that rival anything I have seen before.  They are truly amazing.  Sadly, that is about as far as it goes.  We do get a few gory bites but they are over quickly and the viewer does not get the chance to truly enjoy them.  The practical effects are great as well.  Once again, the gun shot kills are the series' crowning achievements but the bites are great as well.  Overall, Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead may have been the first zombie television show but it is far from the best.  The story has a lot of potential but is poorly executed.  However, if you are looking for some solid kills then I would recommend this one.

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