Monday, March 31, 2008


Right from the start, Damon LeMay's 2007 picture ZOMBIE TOWN seems dedicated to giving zombie fans a good time, getting underway fast with a zombie-inflicted throat-ripping within the first four minutes and a hard-hitting metal soundtrack over its opening credits. ZOMBIE TOWN has a by-fans-for-fans mentality, but fortunately displays better craftsmanship than a typical camcorder-toting fanboy.

Unlike most geek-friendly movies that merely slather on the gore without little else of substance (though it's no slouch when it comes to getting gruesome), ZOMBIE TOWN does more with its story than just construct a framework of cheap grue scenes, even taking the time to establish its plain but likable leads; owing more to the nature/science amok genre than George Romero, the menace behind the zombies are a breed of mutant slug-like parasites that infect their hosts' spinal column, turning them into relentless killing machines.

The no-frills production is no doubt a result of the film's limited resources, though LeMay does what he can with lighting, atmosphere, etc.; thankfully, he's more concerned with telling a story than showing off how flashy he can tell it, so most of the film's strengths are from its solid performances, crude but effective gore fx, and low-key humor. Yet LeMay's not afraid to dabble in outrageousness, throwing in a zombie-infected bingo hall (complete with raving grannies), an emergency chainsaw amputation, even some gratuitous nudity--though none of these come close to pushing any sort of envelope and are used to punch up the sagging moments in the script.

If ZOMBIE TOWN has any serious fault, it'd be its overt similarity to films like SLITHER, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, and any other film involving slug-like parasites (y'ever notice how they're always slug-like? Why is that?). This familiarity quickly sucks much of the fun out of the proceedings, as it rapidly becomes apparent that the film's going to play like so many others before it. Still, it remains enjoyable, if only by virtue of being better than most of the brain-rotting swill that constitutes indie horror these days.

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