THE DEAD DON’T DIE

Cert 15 105mins Stars 3

This offbeat black comedy zombie apocalypse shuffles to the unique, intriguing and pessimistic rhythm tapped out by writer, director and all-round indie maestro, Jim Jarmusch.

A man-made eco-disaster has enabled the dead to rise and feast on the intestines of the living, kickstarting a very bad day for small town cops, Bill Murray and Adam Driver.

Seemingly engaged in a private competition as to whom can deliver their lines in the most deadpan and downbeat way, they’re among several Jarmusch regulars who appear, such as singer Tom Waits as a gravel voiced narrator, and Tilda Swinton’s samurai sword wielding Scottish undertaker.

Full of nods, winks and direct references to other movies, the self-aware script and knowing performances play on the audiences’ familiarity with the actors and situations, confounding expectations and adding layers of meaning to the most deliberately banal dialogue.

A lament for cinema as well as humanity, it suggests we’re all dead men walking and it’s what we deserve.

ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE

Cert 15 Stars 4

Catchy tunes make the blood-splatting violence sing in this inventive and entertaining teenage zom-rom-com musical set in a Scottish school.

Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming and Marli Siu lead the bright, attractive young cast as they sing, dance and fight through a zombie apocalypse, which interrupts Anna’s plot to escape her humdrum small town life.

There’s evident glee at the volume of guts, gore, music and mayhem the filmmakers can squeeze out of the low budget, and it feels like a big screen version of the Buffy The Vampire Slayers’ musical episode, Once More With Feeling. And I mean that in a good way.

 

SWISS ARMY MAN

Cert 15 Stars 3

In this remarkably odd black comedy, former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe takes on his most fantastical role yet.

He plays a farting corpse called Manny, who inspires a shipwrecked soul to use him as a jetski to the mainline. After this curious beginning, it all becomes a bit weird.

On his mission to return home, Paul Dano’s Hank utilises the cadaver as a host more practical devices, such as a compass and a gun.

There’s a wonderful chemistry between Dano and Radcliffe, even if the biology and physics are tested to their limits.

SEOUL STATION

Cert 15 Stars 4

Fast track yourself to the South Korean capital for this bloodthirsty zombie thriller. It’s an animated spin-off of the ferocious live action and must-be-seen Train To Busan.

As a father searches desperately for his daughter while fellow citizens are devoured by the undead, there’s no shortage of surprises, grit or gore.

Featuring homelessness and prostitution, it’s a far from glowing portrait of modern Korea. However the commitment to scathing and subversive social commentary never side lines the delivery of first class thrills.

With strong language and adult themes, this cartoon is not for the kids.

 

TRAIN TO BUSAN

Cert 15 stars 5

Book yourself a seat on this non-stop first class carriage of carnage. This inventive epic zombie thriller delivers express thrills straight to the jugular.

A businessman and his nine year old daughter are among the mixed bag of grannies, high school sports stars and pregnant women travelling to Busan in South Korea.

The journey turns into the ride from hell when an infected escapee from a failed biotec experiment causes a zombie outbreak.

They’re a ferociously rabid pack of hungry undead, though none too clever.

It’s a rip roaring thrill ride full of heart, muscle and nerve, most of it splattered over the seats.

REDCON-1

Cert 18 117mins Stars 1

Splashing around buckets of blood isn’t enough to give life to this brainless low budget British zombie action horror.

A crack army unit have seventy two hours to rescue a scientist from a quarantined London, which has been overrun by heavily armed criminal gangs and viral induced zombies whose lingering memories of their humanity means they can use automatic weapons.

The enthusiastic cast are drawn from the ranks of pro-wrestlers, martial arts champs, models and bring your-own-zombie-costume amateurs, but very few actors.

They stomp their way across a wretched wasteland of low level video game-style action scenes, agitated editing, saturated colours, cardboard characterisation and deathless dialogue.

Laughably poor from start to finish, the unintentionally funny line ‘we’re here to evacuate you’, carries far more threat than any of the bad guys manage to achieve.

A huge debt is owed to Danny Boyle’s magnificent, 28 Days Later, and I feel bad even mentioning the two films in the same sentence.

OVERLORD

Cert 18 110mins Stars 4

Zombie Nazi’s make a frontal assault on the senses and take the Second World War to a new level of hell in this full-blooded action horror.

With a knowingly uproarious tone, it’s a brain-splatting, gut-ripping blood-drenched thriller which isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

British born actor, Jovan Adepo, is one of a team of paratroopers whose deadly mission behind enemy lines in France is to help enable the Allies’ 1944 D-Day landing goes to plan.

However the radio mast they must destroy is above a heavily-guarded church crypt, where Nazi scientists are attempting to create a breed of ‘thousand-year’ soldiers of super-human strength. 

Fortunately help comes from Mathilde Ollivier’s glamorous local who has the Germans hot under the collar and is burning for revenge.

Being produced by Star Trek’s J.J. Abrams gives this a big screen sweep and gloss, and though it’s arguably in bad taste, it’s also a great deal of over-the-top fun.