Friday, September 28, 2012

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Yes, another zombie movie is being reviewed. This one however isn't Italian. it's from Spain and was made back in 1974, which was four years before Dawn of the Dead made zombie flicks en vogue. And it's a good example on how to do a zombie film without having to rely on graphic gore and violence to tell your story.

A cop chases two young vacationers he suspects are involved in a murder across the English countryside. Unbeknownst to him the real culprits are the living dead, brought to life with a thirst for human flesh by radiation being used by local farmers as a pesticide alternative.
What I liked about this flick is the fact that you don't see a zombie for at least the first 45 minutes. And they're not the stereotypical discolored, gory type of zombie; they pretty much look normal with only the way they walk being an indicator that they're undead.

Director Jorge Grau seems more interested in building the proper mood and characters before he lets the shit hit the fan. While the leads aren't exactly what I'd call good actors, the script at least makes them intelligent enough that you end up rooting for them once the zombies show up. Also, when the shit goes down it isn't all blood spraying and body parts. Sure there is a scene where someone gets their guts pulled out, but it isn't in-your-face and it's over before you know it. There's also an axe in the head bit that's kept simple and off screen for the most part.
The reason for the zombies' existence isn't the greatest idea in the world, but I thought it was a nice touch; in order to wipe out the insects that were destroying their crops the farmers created something that will eradicate them. A by-product of their invention is the reanimated dead. And it isn't an army of zombies either. It's mainly a trio of them for most of the film. Another nice touch.

There isn't much else to be said that hasn't been said already about the other films I've reviewed of the genre here already. This one however was a nice change of pace. It's mildly suspenseful, the build-up is nice and slow and when it comes time to deliver the goods it does so in spades. It also features a great finale with a nice twist ending (which I saw coming, but was glad that it happened anyway).

3 out of 5

*written 11/10/05

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