Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Obviously, I like to be as accurate as possible with the information passed on the movies reviewed here, which is why it annoys me when certain movies (usually of the shot-on-tape-in-the-backyard variety) seem to have multiple release dates. For example, today's entry, Bob Ford's STORM OF THE DEAD, lists a copyright of 2007 during its credits, while IMDB lists it as a 2006 film, and the Netflix sleeve the disc arrived in said 2005. I guess it doesn't really matter, since the movies is a reeking pile of monkey feces no matter when it was made or released.

I knew I was in bad shape when the Brain Damage Films logo appeared at the film's start. I can't begin to describe the profound, soul-draining fatigue that sets in whenever I subject myself to one of their "films." (If they've ever put out anything with more production value than a grade-school Christmas pageant or Mexican snuff film, please drop me a line.) Anyway, STORM lives up to the threat implied, proving to be as limp, wrongheaded, and ridiculous as its cinematic brethren.

The movie deals with a militia group upholding martial law in Florida following a devastating hurricane (any allusions to or commentary of Hurricane Katrina are left unsaid), their duties mostly consisting of gunning down looters. When one of their squads disappears in the swamp, a platoon of one-dimensional, sketchily-drawn characters take up the search, soon finding themselves in the midst of a vengeful voodoo priestess.

STORM OF THE DEAD aims to create a sense of mystery, but the only suspense is when the damn thing's going to end. Ford spends too much time slogging through the wilderness or interviewing his cast (a tactic that pads the running time more than it fleshes out the characters) than concentrating on his story; he seems more concerned with getting to the next gratuitous tit-shot than developing some of the more promising aspects of the plot.

It drags on for what seems like hours before finally reaching an awful climax that's more about preaching a misguided "message" about right and wrong, with a judgment on the war in Iraq shoehorned in for good measure, than evoking any feeling of horror. And the zombies? There's one, near the end of the movie, that occupies roughly a minute of the entire production, and is there more to justify the title than anything else.

Watching potentially interesting and frightening concepts wither unused makes STORM OF THE DEAD as frustrating as its interminable story. A horror film that wastes any opportunity for horror, it deserves to be tossed into the muck.

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