On New Year’s Eve, which shows how ridiculously far ahead my writing for the blog is, we all sat down and watched some movies. Some were really good and some… were not. I’ll leave it to you to decide which category this 2003 zombie flick from Australia fit into.
Oh wait, I already said in the title. Silly me.
This one got watched because it was a zombie movie none of us had seen before. Maybe there’s a reason for that.
Undead is a movie directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and starred Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay and Rob Jenkins.
Rene, a local beauty pageant winner, loses the family farm in the town of Berkeley and decides to take it on the road, just as a number of meteoroids fall on the town, turning the populace into zombies. She comes across a number of other survivors as she tries to flee the town (apparently, they only have one road) and they are attacked by the zombies. A man walks out of the woods with a triple-shotgun and saves the day and they follow him back to his place, a weapons museum. The man, Marion, turns out to be not only heavily armed, but proficient in killing zombies, even if the rest of the crew couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. However, there are too many zombies and they all rush down into his bomb shelter where, unfortunately, there isn’t any food. Outside they go once again to scavenge and they discover that the tiny town has been surrounded by a giant spiked wall to keep them in. Oh, and there’s acid rain that falls occasionally that makes their clothes smoke but otherwise does no damage. It means lots of people running around in their underwear. Unable to flee the town, they head back down to the main drag to hunt for food and confront some hooded figures who turn out to be aliens. Marion had been saying that the aliens that abducted him from a pleasant day of fishing were responsible anyhow. Marion and Rene rack up a considerable body count, but most of the rest of their crew get killed and sucked up into the sky. Marion knows how to fly a plane and they head out to the airport, but Rene gets sprayed with the acidic water and sucked up into the sky, it turns out that the town has been infected by a zombie plague and the aliens are trying to save people by spraying them with a disinfectant agent and hovering them above the clouds until they are better. Marion takes the plane and ends up mowing down a considerable number of people in the clouds. With the infection ostensibly cured, the wall comes down and life gets back to normal, except that someone was still infected and spreads the zombie plague, first to Marion and then to others. At the end, we see that Rene has adopted Marion’s methods, carries a four-barrel shotgun and has caged all of the zombies in her front yard, just waiting for the return of the aliens.
Now maybe it’s just the movies that I choose to watch, but it seems to me that most Australian films I’ve seen fall into the silly horror category. Between this one and Black Sheep, I can’t think of too many recent films I’ve seen from Australia. Note, I’m talking about movies made completely by Australian filmmakers, not just which were shot in Australia by American filmmakers. Okay, sure, they had things like Gallipoli and The Piano, but those were a long time ago.
Is this a bad film? Sure. Is it funny? Absolutely. It’s also over-the-top bloody and violent, it revels in gore for gore’s sake and that’s really what makes it worth watching. I think this definitely falls into the category of “so bad it’s good” films, you know that you shouldn’t take it seriously, it’s clear that the filmmakers never did, everything on screen is totally gratuitous and pokes fun at all of the conventions. At the end when Rene and Marion realize that all of the zombies they killed throughout the movie were just innocent victims and, had they not blown their heads off, they would have been cured by the aliens, it would be an important plot point in most other movies but here, they just shrug and ignore it and keep shooting. This isn’t a movie that will ever win any awards and it doesn’t deserve any but it’s good fun, although not at all clean, to just while away a couple of hours. The blood and guts thrown at the screen constantly become funny, just like the Peter Jackson vehicle Dead Alive (also known as Braindead), where things are just so over-the-top that it becomes amazingly laughable. And no, that was a movie from New Zealand, not Australia. And, by the way, I do own Dead Alive on DVD so I’m not adverse to that at all.
So do I recommend this movie? Sure. I don’t want anyone to take it seriously but if you want some good mindless gore and a ridiculous plot starring utterly idiotic characters, this fits the bill. Am I going to buy this movie on DVD? No, but if I found it on TV, I would probably watch it again, just for the laugh factor. If that’s the kind of thing that you’re looking for, give it a shot. You could do worse.