Eight soldiers are all that stand between hordes of raging, blood-thirsty zombies in the ultimate battle for humanity ...prepare for carnage. Military attempts to genetically engineer troops into extreme fighting machines have gone catastrophically wrong, resulting in a terrifying epidemic that has turned innocent civilians into flesh-hungry mutants. In an effort to cover up their colossal mistake, the US government plan to stage a terrible accident by planting an atomic bomb in a nearby nuclear plant. Meanwhile, a team of mercenaries will complete the mission and take out the infected population in a gory battle...
I was sufficiently entertained by ‘Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead’ to seek out its prequel. With this debut, the filmography isn’t quite as bleak and gritty, but the characters are better defined – i.e.: there ARE some actual characters in this, not just cliché-spouting action men as there are in ZM2. Most of the acting here is fine, some isn’t. So – much like the other film, this is a bit of a mixed bag.
Zombies by their very nature are limited threats. They eat you, you turn into one of them. So wisely – or unwisely, depending on your point of view – the narrative here concentrates mostly on the human crew, a team of mercenaries contracted by the authorities to cover up an outbreak of the living dead, for which the Government (represented by General Carter played by Carl Wharton) is responsible. The remainders take time to make an impression, but after the arrival of a hillbilly and his (suspiciously young) girlfriend, the entourage prove to be pretty well-defined, especially ‘Mad Dog’ Mackellen (Mike Mitchell).
The Freddie Krueger-esque zombies themselves are more human than the full mask creatures from ‘ZM2’, which is probably budget necessitated, and there are plenty of them here. Luca Boni has a flair for these kind of pictures and succeeds mainly in the bleakness of the situation. He’s directed several other films in this genre, one of which appears to be another sequel to this, entitled ‘Eaters: Rise of the Dead.’
Sadly, a couple of the more anticipated deaths toward the end of the film actually take place off-camera. Worst offender is that of General Carter, whose death the viewer has been anticipating throughout the film and we don’t see it! There’s also a spot of unwelcome and unnecessary moral philosophising from the remaining heroes – but other than that, I really enjoyed this. There are some very enjoyable twists and turns along the way of the thinly-spread plot that keeps the audience on its toes. It isn’t flawless, but I would certainly look forward to any possible Zombie Apocalypse 3.
As a coda: there is a bizarre end scene that comes from nowhere but provides a satisfying topless bloodbath towards throughout the end credits. It proves if nothing else that, although the threat featured throughout this picture may have been curtailed, there are still plenty more of the living dead ‘out there.’