Friday, June 20, 2014

Blu-ray Review: ‘Kill Zombie!’

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Kill Zombie!’ on Blogcritics.

The zombie subgenre is really becoming bereft of ideas. While Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland21 Days/Weeks Later, and even Dead Snow proved there was plenty of, well, life in these kinds of films, they can’t all be winners. Even Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake was far better than anyone thought it would be. The plethora of zombie films is causing this genre to lose steam. Even on TV you can get a weekly fill with The Walking Dead. And there are tons of zombie films oversaturating the direct-to-video marketplace — none more lazy than the Dutch import: Kill Zombie!

Kill ZombieIn Amsterdam, Aziz (Yahya Gaier) has just been fired thanks to incessant phone calls from his best friend Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi), and it’s about to go from bad to worse. Aziz and Mo wind up in jail alongside thugs Jeffrey (Sergio Hasselbaink) and Nolan (Uriah Arnhem). Overnight, the inmates miss news of a toxic green sludge-covered Russian satellite crashing into Aziz’s former office building that turns the citizens of Amsterdam into zombies. Now, the four miscreants must band together, along with police officer Kim (Gigi Ravelli), to find their way to the safety zone. All Aziz wants is for them to head to the office building to save his new girlfriend Tess (Nadia Poeschmann).

Well Go USA lurches Kill Zombie! on to a 25GB Blu-ray disc, framed in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film features an almost stellar transfer. Colors pop — which lends extra gruesomeness to the gore effects — and detail is razor sharp. While there were no signs of aliasing, banding crops up from time to time. Were it not for the one anomaly, it would be practically perfect. Blacks are nice and inky with no noise to speak of, and crush never swallows up any shadow detail either.

The Dutch 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is also exemplary. Featuring nearly nonstop ambience, there’s always something creepy happening around you, even if there’s never anything scary or funny actually happening in the movie. Atmospherics are the name of the game, but the dialogue is always clean and natural. Even if they weren’t, the English subtitles would make sure you never miss any of the so-called “jokes.” An Additional Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 track is included. The only special feature is the film’s trailer.

Kill Zombie! isn’t one of the worst zombie films in recent years, but it is one of the most boring. Along with completely unlikable characters, it just plods along at what should be a breakneck 86 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the Hollywood News quote on the back declaring this a cross between Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; it’s nowhere remotely close to either of Edgar Wright’s brilliant films. With no one to root for, plus some unsavory plot “twists” including a final twist that opens the film to a sequel, and characters forced to do some extremely dumb things, Kill Zombie! winds up just another walking dead film that’s DOA.

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