Monday, January 16, 2017

Walking Dead in the West

Director - Paul Winters (The Freeway Maniac, Nate and the Colonel)
Starring - Paul Winters, Greg Bronson (Fight Club, Frailty), and Calion Maston (Aftermath, Leprechaun Adventures)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "A new frontier of fear"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Zombies, you just can't get rid of them.  I grew up watching Romero's "Dead" trilogy along with Dead Alive, Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Creeps and so on but when I was in high school zombie movies started making a comeback with films like Dead & Breakfast, Land of the Dead, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead.  Then zombies started dying off again until 2010 when AMC adapted the comic The Walking Dead for television.  Zombies are now a staple of pop culture with very little signs of slowing down.  Which brings me to the most hipster thing I have ever said but it needs to be said.  Zombie movies were better when everyone didn't like them.  When zombies were being randomly made they were a passion project by someone who grew up watching the sub-genre like I did.  Now we are getting them turned out rapidly with little to no affection.  Companies and just taking something they have seen before and throwing zombies in the mix.  Case in point, Walking Dead in the West.  I love Wild Eye.  You know I love Wild Eye and Wild Eye knows I love them but this release is not entertaining at all.  I still want to thank them for sending it my way.
     The film takes place in Arizona in the year 1870.  The film follows Marshal Frank Wilcox who has just captured an outlaw and is bringing him in when he is attacked by the dead.  He fights them off and starts making his way to town when he crosses paths with a Native American and a Buffalo soldier.  They make their way back to town where they learn it has been taken over by the dead as well.  They meet up with a band of survivors and try to fight their way out to freedom.
     I was actually looking forward to seeing this one.  I love Wild Eye and their releases but the reason I was looking forward to this one was the film's setting.  I love a good zombie western but the ones released within the last few years was a pretty rough experience.  Sadly, Walking Dead in the West was the same experience.  The acting in this one is surprisingly well done for the most part.  The entire cast is sucked into their roles and deliver convincing performances.  With that being said, director Paul Winters is not that convincing as Marshal Frank Wilcox.  When you see a man of the law you should get a presence of authority but Winters does not have that look.  The story for this one is simple and straight forward but leaves a lot of room for improvement.  The story is simply a group of survivors in the wild west fighting zombies.  No endgame is revealed until the very end and no explanation is given to the viewer as to why it is happening.  The story is just lacking and needs something added to it to make it entertaining.  Finally, the film does have a couple on screen kills but they are nothing that spectacular or memorable.  We get several gun kills but they are almost laughable.  We see people flop around from the gunshot but there is no visible signs of them being shot.  Also, the few instances we see someone get bit we are never shown the wound and if we are it is for a split second.  The film has some blood and no gore.  The effects we get are very minimal and the zombies have little to no make up on which does nothing to separate them from the living.  Overall, Walking Dead in the West is a cheap attempt at a zombie western with no story and no effects.  It feels like a rushed production with no effort.  Skip this one and browse the catalog on Wild Eye's website for something else.

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