Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mutant Vampire Zombies From The 'Hood! (2008)

Remember C. Thomas Howell? First of all, he's in no way related to me. Second of all, he was in such classics as "The Outsiders", "E.T.", "The Hitcher" and "Red Dawn" (and um, "Soul Man.") Well, his career hasn't been what you'd call a wrecking ball of success, as he's been in a whole lot of shit, usually of the straight to video variety-("House of the Fallen", "Hot Boyz" and "The Hitcher II"-yes, there was a sequel), and judging by 2008's "Mutant Vampire Zombies From the 'Hood!", that hasn't changed much.

Thom Boy stars as David, a police officer who finds himself in the middle of a gang dispute. Said dispute ends up going to the wayside though, when an extra powerful solar flair turns most of L.A. into ravenous, rape-happy blood suckers. Now, they must band together in order to survive, take refuge thanks to a scientist and his daughter-you know, the usual.

There's very little here that's new in MVZFTH that separates it from other straight to video zombie movies. I will say that the make-up and gore effects are pretty good, and that in the field of urban zombie movies, it's better than "Dead Heist" and especially "Zombiez." That's the faintest of praise though.

This is the type of movie that thinks making a bunch of actors play racial stereotypes (some of which are rather offensive) and having them point guns at each other and yell and curse a lot automatically makes good drama and characterization. It also clearly wants to be embraced by a certain audience, but it forgets to be a fun movie in the process. Sure, there's gratuitous nudity, gore and zombie/vampire hybrids, but it forgets basic things like good direction, pacing and an interesting plot or characters. This is all formulaic and familiar, and wants so much to be a cult movie that it forgets that it takes effort to make one.

The acting is also pretty bad. Howell seems to be bored in his role, looking like he's rather be anywhere else. An even bigger offender though, is Tyshawn Bryant as G-Dog. First of all, his name is G-Dog. Nobody uses names like that anymore. Second of all, he uses lingo and slang that's incredibly dated, meaning that out of all the cast, he get's the worst dialog. It also doesn't help matters that he can't seem to act to save his life, and delivers all his dialog in a dull, deadpan manner.

Is there any reason to see this movie? No, there is not, unless you want to see every C. Thomas Howell movie. That out of the way, he has a recurring role on the hit TV show "Southland", and he's in "The Amazing Spiderman" this year, so who knows, maybe things are slowly coming up Milhouse for him.

Rating: 2/10

Apart from having an amusing name, Thunder Levin made his directorial debut with the not remembered by anyone horror film "Soulmates" (aka "Evil Lives.") He was also a still photographer for "Saturday the 14th Strikes Back", "Stripped to Kill II: Live Girls" and "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II." He's more recently moved on to working for The Asylum, writing the "Fast and Furious" ripoff "200 M.P.H." and writing and directing the upcoming mock-buster "American Battleship."

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