Monday, December 27, 2010

Zombie Nation (2004)

These days, one director whose name horror fans have learned to fear is Ulli Lommel. Originally known for directing films like the supernatural slasher flick "The Boogeyman", the Richard Hell (yes, the musician) vehicle "Blank Generation" and the notorious gay themed horror film "The Tenderness of Wolves", Lommel was a director who at one point could at least be said to have not been terrible. How times change then, because his name is now largely synonymous with pretty bad (and all around tasteless in a bad way) accounts of notorious serial killers and murder cases, and the type of unwatchable, oftentimes lazy low budget crap that polluted rental shelves in the decade. Case in point: his misleadingly titled movie "Zombie Nation."

"Zombie Nation" deals with officer Joe Singer (G√ľnther Ziegler, whose character is supposed to be from Alabama, yet he speaks with a heavy Germanic accent), who likes to pick up loose women, fondle them, and then torture and kill them. Why? Well, like so many cinematic psychopaths in low budget garbage like this, he had a really bad childhood with a minister dad (David Hess, in a rather worthless cameo) and an abusive mom that has turned him into a religious zealot/killer. Well, one woman knows that others are disappearing, so she has herself protected by a voodoo curse in case he gets her. The next thing you know, she and a few others come back from the dead for revenge.

I don't have a problem with the cheap production values (apparently, houses and police stations are in abandoned furniture stores and boiler rooms.) A lot of really low budget exploitation movies were able to take their obvious limitations and still come up with something entertaining. The problem though, is that "Zombie Nation" is really, really bad horror/exploitation garbage. The kind that makes you feel like you've wasted an hour and a half of your life you will never get back. The kind that makes you incredibly mad when it's over. So, what makes it so bad?

For one thing, this movie has no energy to it whatsoever. Pretty much everything about this-from the dialogue to the constant flashbacks to the violence has all the verve and spirit of a man on downers. This movie can't even make a dumb redneck getting his penis torn off and eaten interesting. Then there's the aforementioned flashback scenes, which are handled with all the finesse of an epileptic person holding a food tray. The flashbacks themselves just show up from time to time, and don't offer anything worthy of note other than they are some of the clumsiest attempts at adding back story I've ever seen. Don't even get me started on the "Fight Club" flashback. Also, I know the director (who has a horrible acting role as a therapist who constantly asks "Is it safe?") was working with a budget, but come on, this police station can't even afford things like computers or radios?

Then there's the zombies themselves. While one of them wonders if there are "millions more like us", this isn't really a zombie nation. Apparently, a zombie nation or whatever only needs five zombies. Also, in Ulli Lommel's world, all you need to look like a zombie is some white make-up, a little blood here and there, and enough eyeshadow to make them look like you have raccoon eyes. These thing's not only don't look like zombies (they don't even show any signs of decay), but they don't act like zombies either. I'd forgive this if the intention was to try something different to subvert the expected behavior of the walking dead, but this just reeks of laziness. These zombie girls talk, drive cars, flirt, wear sunglasses, and do so many other things that they did when they were alive. This barely even counts as a zombie movie, as it's more of yet another "killer with mommy issues" movie. Oh, and what's with the annoying Euro-Dance music that plays whenever the girls go on the attack?

I hated everything about this movie, and I didn't give a shit about anyone or anything in it either. As a matter of fact, you can tell nobody involved gave a shit about what they were doing, and there is nothing worse than lazy exploitation. If you, like me, managed to sit through this whole thing, then congratulations, you are just as pissed off as I am. Look, I know Lionsgate and other studios realize that there is an undemanding audience to cater to, but come on, this is bad even by terrible Direct to DVD standards. Seriously, the people who released this crap should feel ashamed of themselves.

I could complain more and more, but yeah, there is no reason to see this. I can't see it appealing even to the bad movie mavens of the world. This movie is worthy of nothing but a big, fat

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