Thursday, December 13, 2007


There are bad films, and then there are films like 2005's ZOMBIE NATION, an aggressively stupid, pointless, and unbelievable stool sample from Ulli Lommel, a director who once showed great promise with films like TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES and THE BOOGEYMAN, but now seems content to churn out straight-to-DVD rotgut like this.

The wafer-thin plot concerns an L.A. cop (Gunter Ziegler) who prowls the city for female victims, indiscriminately abducting, killing, and dumping them as his clueless rookie partner looks on--TRAINING DAY, this ain't. (Ziegler, by the way, is the product of a Puritanical minister--David Hess, in a wasted cameo--and a domineering, overbearing mother--a plot device I haven't seen, I dunno, only half a million times.) Of course, Rookie can't go to his superiors for help, since they give Ziegler a free pass on his shenanigans, the lot of them being buddies in Iraq and all (a cheap and insulting anti-war "message" that's out of place here). I don't know which was harder to swallow, that an entire department would willingly overlook a serial killer's practices (going so far as to frame a random felon to shift the blame), or the threadbare police station, which looks like a couple of desks jammed into the corner of an empty storage shed.

Way into the movie's meager running time (so far that I was checking the disc's sleeve to be sure it actually had "Zombie" on it), we learn that one of Ziegler's victims received a pseudo-voodooish spell that would reanimate her, should she fall prey to the killer (a rather misguided preemptive strike, isn't it? Why not cast a spell that kept you from getting killed in the first place?). Apparently the hoodoo was retroactive, since it brings back all of Ziegler's victims as raccoon-eyed zombies, who return to serve Ziegler his comeuppance (and provide the only real gore in the flick).

Brain-numbingly asinine, ZOMBIE NATION seems at times to be working as a comedy, though any humor is so ineptly handled it's tough to be sure. The horror elements get the short shrift as well, unless you're scared of repeated shots of a portly middle-aged guy getting his bare ass whipped bloody (and here, that's fairly easy to do), leaving the end result a limp, one-note morality play.

A movie so heinous I can't imagine why Lommel would lend his name to it, much less place it above the title, ZOMBIE NATION is the kind of gore-raising garbage that makes me wonder why I wanted to start this blog in the first place.

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