Yes, it’s a provacative title. But this film inspired me in a way that few others have. Why? Because it clearly had the potential to be a really good, even great, film. But they blew it. They totally f*cking blew it. And that makes me mad. One or two plot holes, or inconsistencies, I can overlook. But when they pile up one after the other after the other after the other, none of which (after the first one or two maybe) need to be there for any plot reason, I become incapable of suspending my disbelief, and I shift from movie-watching mode to MST3K heckler mode.
Hence the bile I herewith spew onto this film, much as the zombies in it spewed blood onto those they were trying to infect. To try to keep it brisk, I am doing it in question and answer format; not FAQ, WAQ. I originally posted this to another message board a few months ago. I recently saw this thread, leading me to believe there is still some interest in this movie in this forum. So, I repost it here.
Q: So, the setup is, a bunch of researchers are researching this really nasty virus that accidently gets loose into the population?
A: Yep, basically.
Q: And a pretty powerful virus, eh? One drop in any orifice turns you into a slavering zombie in ten to twenty seconds.
A: Yes, well, they were poking their noses into Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
Q: Mmmm-hmmm. The virus also confers an amazing ability to go without food or water for extended periods of time. Especially considering all that blood-vomitting. After 28 days those zombies…'scuse me, infected…still looked pretty spry to me.
A: Errrr…yes, well, they live on rage. Their burning rage. Plus the flesh of humans…they’re cannibals. I think…though I can’t remember a scene where they actually eat someone…
Q: Mmm-hmmm. That could cover the food thing, maybe. But water?
A: Ummm…errrr…their rage sustains them. Rage can be very powerful, you know.
Q: Mmm-hmmm. And yet for some reason, with all their towering rage, they don’t attack each other. Only uninfected humans, and by implication, rats.
A: Ummm…yeah, well, that must be another effect of the virus…somehow…
Q: Well that is just one amazing virus. And yet…it has this one striking drawback, in that it makes those infected allergic to sunlight. At least I assume it does, as you no doubt noticed that the standard zombie movie convention on this issue was followed, in which the zombies…sorry, infected…were only active at night, or in shaded places.
A: Wait, wait…that infected guy the soldiers kept on a chain…he was active in the daylight.
Q: Indeed…so why didn’t all the other zombies…I mean…ah, the hell with it, I’m gonna call 'em zombies…why didn’t all the other zombies come out and hunt in the daytime?
A: Ummmmmmm…wow. Yeah, that is pretty far-fetched…
Q: So far-fetched that it could easily ruin your enjoyment of what clearly could have been a really good movie, yes?
A: I guess, now that I think about it…
Q: But fear not, for…I Have A Theory*. A theory that can explain all this, and more. Would you like to hear my theory?
A: Well…yeah, obviously. After all, we’re only pretending to be two different people here…
Q: Hush up about that! Ok now, my theory is that the researchers were actually working for…film makers! Yes that’s right. Film makers who wanted to make the Ultimate Zombie Movie. And I do mean ultimate. None of this tedious mucking about with special effects for them. They were determined to make actual zombies. So they hired those researchers to create the perfect zombie virus. Call it Zombiecycline[sup]TM[/sup].
A: And then Something Went Horribly Wrong?
Q: Yes! Or…did it? [Cue Sinister Sounding Music] Perhaps the Zombiecycline[sup]TM[/sup] was meant to get loose the way it did, right at the same time a stupidifying agent was released into the air.
A: A stupidifying agent? (Hey, why am I asking the questions now?)
Q: (Hush up!) Yes, a stupidifying agent, developed by the same researchers. It was much more contagious than the zombie stuff, it could be passed through the air like the common cold.
A: Let me guess…the stupidifying agent explains certain boneheaded actions taken by the non-zombie characters?
Q: Yes, exactly. We’re on the same page now, I see.
A: Well duh. Like I said, we’re really the same person…
Q: Hush I said! Yes, the stupidifying agent explains such things as:
- Blithely walking into buildings that might have zombies in them, like that inexplicably unlooted supermarket, even though showing it in a looted state might have at least partly explained where the zombies were getting food and water from.
A: Perhaps the characters could hear the lighthearted music that was being played in that scene and that’s how they knew they wouldn’t get attacked in there.
Q: Perhaps. But it doesn’t explain:
Jim walking into that building at the truck stop, just 'cuz he’s in a broody mood or something, where he does get attacked but not infected.
Camping out in an exposed place at night and not even (that I could see) setting anyone to stand watch. They were even taking valium to help them sleep. They might as well have put up a big sign that said “zombie chow”.
Driving into a dark, zombie-infested tunnel because “it’s the most direct route out of the city” instead of going for something more circuitous but still in daylight.
Frank driving like a damned maniac while in said tunnel.
A: Hey yeah. What was up with that? He was actually laughing. His daughter was in that car.
Q: I know. And those soldier guys. Don’t get me started on them. What were they guilty of?
Extremely…liberal use of their guns considering that hello! no one is manufacturing bullets anymore. Remember guys? Big plague, collapse of civilization? Ring a bell?
No precautions against getting infected whilst defending the compound from the zombies. I swear I saw, in one scene, a couple of the army guys get splattered by zombie remains after blowing up a bunch of them with an rpg. I thought they were screwed for sure, but no. They walked back in after the battle fit as a fiddle, no spastic movements, no cat-choking-on-a-hairball sounds, no sudden switch to digital camera.
No precautions against getting infected by the zombie they’d captured aside from a single rusty chain. Heck, that head army guy was standing about a foot or two away from him. Bodily fluids easily could have crossed that gap. A little spittle, a little projectile vomitting, and uh-oh.
Failure to follow the obvious, common sense rule that dictates that if you and your mate are in a dark mansion with zombies running around loose, you do not, for Gods sake, split up.
Failure to follow the eminently sensible maxim elucidated by one Scott Evil, in which, once you’ve decided to shoot a guy, you get a gun and shoot him. You don’t detail a couple of your guys to march them through the woods to an execution site and then shoot them.
A: Wait a minute, wait a minute! If they shoot them in the house, they have to go through the trouble and bother of taking the bodies someplace to dump them. Easier to make them move themselves.
Q: They’ve got those trucks, right? They’re making regular trips back and forth to that barricade, they can dump the bodies along the way somewhere.
A: Ummm…yeah, I guess so.
Q: Now where was I? The army guys, yes, they were pretty stupid. And nasty too, ready to engage in gang rape after 4 weeks of no women. Had they never gone that long before? I’d hate to see what happens on ships at sea in the Royal Navy.
A: Yeah well, you know, it’s not quite the same here. The constraints of civilization have been lifted by the collapse thereof.
Q: Perhaps. But the head army guy stopped the men the first time they tried to rape Celine, and he even gave her back her machete, an odd thing to do with someone you intend to rape later.
Q: Of course, all the stupidity and nastiness on the part of the army guys notwithstanding, our Handsome Hero Jim wins the stupidity Grand Prize, hands down, when, in his attempt to rescue the ladies from the clutches of the gang-raping soldiers, he deliberately sets the chained-up zombie loose in the mansion with them in it, thus exposing them to a very grave risk of, not just a hideously gruesome death, but also a fate that is arguably much, much worse than death, never mind rape.
A: Yeah, that was a humdinger, wasn’t it?
Q: Yes indeedy. I don’t think anything can top that. Though I think the cherry on top of this frothy, whipped confection was the film-makers’ little joke, of having the protagonist Jim carry around, as his primary weapon, a baseball bat.
A: How is that funny?
Q: The film is set in bloody England!**
Q: In the frame of mind this film put me in, the spectre of poor Jim forced to resort to carrying around the symbol of the American national pastime as his only defense, I’m half tempted to go off on a rant about gun control.
A: Heh. Guns don’t kill zombies, people kill zombies.
Q: Yeah, but seriously…this film would have been a lot different if set in America. In England, guns are so tightly controlled that when something like this hits, the nasty, evil soldiers have plenty of guns (and lots and lots of bullets apparently), but ordinary folks are forced to make do with machetes and baseball bats and makeshift molatov cocktails. Yes, of course, we’re not going to have a zombie invasion any time soon, but still…
A: Al-righty then, I think we’re all done here. Thanks for reading folks.
Q: Wait a minute, wait a minute! Let me make my point. I was going to say, when people give up their rights…
A: Yep, definitely all done. Move along folks, nothing more to see here.
*[sub]It could be Bunnies! Yes, after two years I still just have to do that. Sorry.[/sub]
**[sub]Ok, yes, I’ve never been to England, maybe people do have baseball bats over there. If so, I’m sure someone will chime in shortly to correct me and make me look stupid. But it still looked weird to me.[/sub]
**Q:**You wrote this some months ago, for another MB. Since then, have you remembered any other plot holes that you’d like to toss in here?
**A:**Why yes, and thank you for asking. Two things:
1: Our Hero Jim, who works as a bicycle messenger in England with it’s super-strict gun control laws which, ok ok, I am not going to rant about, suddenly turns into freakin’ Rambo when he takes on a squad of fully armed and trained soldiers at the barricade, and then further demonstrates his mad, phat, but colossally unlikely skillz by shooting at, and hitting, a metal chain from about thirty feet away. In the dark. In the rain. With one shot.
2: When Our Intrepid Heros are staying at Jim’s parent’s house, why do they stay on the ground floor, right near a big honking glass window that can be easily crashed through by, oh, say, a crazed infected zombie guy who feels no pain?