Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The first 45 seconds of DEAD COUNTRY--a 2008 amateur-night production from director Andrew Merkelbach--features enough atrocious acting, lazy camerawork, and ghastly CGI for an entire movie. A craftless, dunderheaded shot-on-video mess, this is the sort of fanboy love letter I can do without.

A spaceship explodes over the town of Romero--gee, what a subtle and innovative reference, the likes of which I've never seen--infecting the populace with an alien virus that turns them into zombies. And into that rivetingly fresh scenario steps director Merkelbach, the extra-terrestrial responsible, who tries to keep the plague from spreading before it's too late.

DEAD COUNTRY is the kind of DIY ineptitude that throws in fully-clothed sex scenes, meaningless title cards (do we really need to be reminded that December 25 is Christmas Day?), and enough slow-mo tit shots to satisfy a junior-varsity basketball team. In addition to being an unconscionably bad actor, Merkelbach flails as a filmmakers as well, bearing an inconsistent visual style that alternates between cheap video-based sloppiness or the intentionally-scratched look that went stale twenty minutes after GRINDHOUSE hit theaters. Stupid, unfunny, with zombie makeup so bad Andreas Schnaas would balk--life's too short for crap like this, even with the abundant female flesh on display (though I don't think any amount of skin could save this tripe). Even a rare cameo by drive-in legend Ted V. Mikels, and a not-so-rare cameo by Lloyd Kaufman, can't keep this afloat.

For self-loathers only.

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