2012: Zombie Apocalypse

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2012: Zombie Apocalypse
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2012: Zombie Apocalypse
Action, Horror, Science Fiction
The Asylum
October 29th, 2011
Release length: 1:27:08
Made for TV movies are never the most amazing ones you’ll find, especially when they come from The Asylum. They are typically just low-budget, cg-riddled flicks that pander to stereotypes and the demographic of people who have nothing better to do on a Friday or Saturday night. But, then again, there really isn’t a good deal of better films in the theaters either. But, many movie fans have learned at this point to avoid the “SyFy Originals” (or previously and more properly “Sci-Fi Originals”) tag, bracing viewers for some of the worst viewing experiences one can imagine. Once again we find this company with that tag bringing us 2012: Zombie Apocalypse. But, with the knowledge that this is going to be a low-budget film already in place, it all comes down to if it will be an enjoyably bad experience, or just not even worth a couple laughs.

Well, first of all, this one is not going to win over any major new zombie fans. 2012: Zombie Apocalypse is basically a by-the-book zombie survival film. The world has fallen victim to a plague that turns people into zombies and is transferred through a zombie bite, quickly turning the infected into the shambling undead. There is a group of survivors trying to reach a destination where they know or believe other survivors are at. However for this film there’s a mixed bag of modern zombies, and the George Romero zombies that shamble instead of run, explained by how long they have been zombies (the fresher are faster). As the groups go along, they meet up with other survivors, get separated, and have random fights with human emotion and zombies. To put it simply, this film is your typical point a to point b flick.

The film starts off with a group of three survivors who wander into town looking for supplies, but are quickly set upon by zombies. One of the two characters are killed off, though the film immediately makes you believe it’s going with the stereotype of killing off every non-white character, but Henry (Ving Rhames) and Cassie (Lesley-Ann Brandt) swiftly show up and save the day as best they can, saving Ramona (Tyrn Manning) and Billy (Eddie Steeples) from the slaughter, and putting the other survivor out of his misery as he turns into a zombie. From here, the group is introduced, and they venture into town. From here, it’s literally just establishing shot of characters getting to know each other, random zombie attack, repeat. There is some character development here and there, such as obvious building relationships between the group members, and the attachment that Julian (Johnny Pacar) has towards a dog that finds them in two walking shots. There’s also the description of the types of zombies including “Runners” and “Shamblers,” both of which need to be spelled out for Ramona (the first of the two being at the top of the food chain).

Honestly, right from the start Ramona will immediately make anyone watching wish she was the first person killed off. Her character is easily the most annoying, and not just for that annoying rasp in her voice. She is absolutely clueless from start to finish, and really seems to play up the whole damsel-in-distress type of character too much, blaming others for the death of her friends when she does absolutely nothing herself to help the fallen, or anyone else in the middle of a zombie attack. She’s overly whiny and really just gets in everyone’s way. You’ll immediately be paying more attention to the other actors and actresses in here and trying to drown her out entirely after the second zombie attack, even when the group finally happens on a group of archers who Henry and the others had been tracking.

That basically sums up the entire movie honestly. There’s really nothing else to mention other than the zombie animals that are introduced, which no one seems to know could actually happen. In the world of this film, the disease going into animals has never been seen before, and the dog from earlier is the first sign of it, which should send up red flags to the end of the film. Eventually, the groups are broken up by a zombie attack, and they continue along their own ways trying to meet up with each other again. Here and there you can’t help but feel some parts of the story are left out, but this does allow some time for Henry and Cassie to start to build a relationship, one that is actually fleshed out well given the restricted amount of time the two have together at this point due to the other spectrum of the story following the other’s. That group happens on an old school, a “Human Safe Zone,” and after a little exploration they are set upon by a group of zombies, establishing that they are getting smarter and had laid a trap. While most of the zombies are just generic and even laugh-out-loud over-the-top or bad, looking instead like the mentally challenged kid from your special education/needs class rooms, this section does introduce the zombie that clearly was at the wrong movie production. One chases Ramona into the showers from the gym, and the way he shambled looks more like a creepy hunchback character from a Fantasy film, and really just steals the show. The zombie (possibly Zombie Zac played by James McAuley?) just looks sinister, and he does a really good job at being rather unsettling, though you’ll still get a good laugh out of his performance simply with how out-of-place it all looks.

But, this is nothing considering what happens after everyone meets up. Henry and Cassie further establish the growing intelligence of the zombies when one runs from a mounted chain gun that Cassie put into a shopping cart and is wheeling around town (clearly making a lot of noise that they throughout the movie insisted on not doing), and bringing reinforcements with it. They reach the roof of a building, and in similar Dawn of the Dead remake fashion, a light from a building not too far is reflected off a mirror to Henry and Cassie to show the others are there. They meet up, and continue on their way. Eventually they reach a port where a ship is due every Wednesday (or so you assume) due to the spray painted sign, but quickly danger is obvious as mutilated corpses are strewn about in one spot, as if zombies had nested and dragged their victims there. This is where the transition of the virus from human to animals becomes crucial, as the group is set upon by giant wild zombie tigers.

The acting through the film isn’t that bad really, but at the same time it’s not really good. The story itself is pretty basic, and there’s plenty of moments where you’ll burst out laughing or groaning, both from the acting and the cg. During the first scene, you’ll see heads exploding like balloons when hit with gun shots, immediately making you groan, but one overweight zombie shambles past a zombie that just had its head blown up and let’s out an “I don’t wanna be here!” type of scream that you’ll burst out laughing at. Of course the “pee buddy” concept and them having a sound effect to go with the visual of Cassie’s upper body going to the bathroom is another groan worthy moment. Then there’s the cg as mentioned. Sometimes you’ll see a circle where the zombie’s head was blown off, or blood comes flying from a headshot yet the zombie has no damage. Cassie also uses a sword, which almost never comes anywhere near making contact but yet lets out a streak of blood. There’s also the one zombie an archer had pinned against a wall that she decapitates, though clearly goes nowhere near the neck to even give it the equivalent of a mild paper cut.

At the end of the day, this is clearly just a low-budget picture that is obviously playing it safe. There’s really nothing wrong with it other than the Ramona character who you just immediately hate and want at the bottom of the food chain, especially when she needs the concept of “Runners” explained to her. The cg is obviously bad, but anyone who has seen an original on the SyFy channel, before the horrible name change or after, will immediately tell you that it’s almost a guaranteed thing. However, if you just go into it and shut off your brain, not over analyzing everything and just letting the b-movie experience take you away, you’ll actually really enjoy yourself. The walking scenes build the characters up enough, and there’s a good deal of zombie attack scenes that, sadly, do become a little repetitive after a while. If you sit down and watch it yourself, chances are pretty good you won’t really get that much of a kick out it. 2012: Zombie Apocalypse is one of those flicks that you need to set up a movie night with friends, watch, and making light of its faults in a very Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff manner.

Overall Score: 5/10

Zombie Apocalypse

Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.