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< Entertainment >

New Movie Reviews

"Hood of the Living Dead

" DVD

by Steve Anderson
thevideostoreguy@columnist.com

You know, I'm generally in favor of zombie movies. Generally, I'm always willing to look a little more charitably on zombie movies as they represent the highest ideals of survival horror, my personal favorite subgenre of horror.

It's movies like "Hood of the Living Dead" that test that fondness to its limits.

Okay, so here's what's going on in "Hood of the Living Dead". Ricky is a researcher working on, of all the things, a "cellular regeneration formula," designed to revive sick and dying tissue.

One night, his little brother, who probably was voted "Most Likely To Be Tried As An Adult" in the yearbook takes three steps out of the house and gets shot repeatedly by several local drug dealers.

Ricky, in a teary panic (not too badly acted by Carl Washington), calls his lab partner Scott and tells him to bring a sample of the formula, because...okay, do I really have to tell you? He's gonna shoot a load of that stuff into his slowly cooling brother.

Which, of course...okay, you see it coming by now. This is gonna fire up the zombie train like no tomorrow.

First off, the Quiroz Brothers have a couple good-sized plot holes in this sucker. For one, I'm having a really hard time believing that, somehow, the capital of cutting-edge biotechnological and genetic research in California is OAKLAND.

Yeah, you heard me right. This whole thing takes place in Oakland.

Secondly, the company where Ricky and Scott work must have zero security--Scott managed to squeal tires into the parking lot, after hours, and snag a vial of something that must have cost millions of dollars to research and produce all without so much as showing someone his driver's license.

Plus, it's hard to grasp just why Ricky changed his shirt between twenty four minutes thirty two seconds and twenty five minutes thirty six seconds.

And for the life of me, why on earth did it take the Quiroz Brothers almost a third of the movie to get the plot to a point where we could even see a zombie? That's right--it takes almost half an hour to even REACH the point where we can actually see a zombie. And for a movie called "Hood of the Living Dead", that pretty much depends on zombies, zombies are actually pretty few and far between.

And even once they got to the zombies, they pretty much ignored the standard Romero physics. Head shots do nothing to these zombies--it's heart shots that do the job here. Plus, these zombies can run. But at least the Quiroz Brothers managed to stick to the concept that a zombie bite transferred the zombie effect.

In fact, they even made one of their characters a mercenary / assassin named "Romero". How nice of you to name part of this bastard movie after the illegitimate daddy, Quirozes.
I'm rather dismayed by the whole thing. They spent a huge amount of time getting to the point that the zombies showed up that they had only a little time with them on screen. So as a result, there's no expansion at all. Indeed, except for only under a dozen people, nobody even knows that zombies are on the loose in Oakland.

I like my zombie movies to be Zombie Apocalypses, not just some little minor-league zombie romp through gang country.

The ending, however, is a nice twist. Plus it leaves the door open for sequels, and I think doing another "Hood of the Living Dead", with the zombies already in play and all over the United States, would be a good idea.

The special features include outtakes, a gallery, and trailers for "Hood of the Living Dead", "I Got Five On It", "F.E.D.S.", "Beef", "Beef II", "The MC: Why We Do It", "Letter to the President", "Hip Hop Immortals", "Lyricist Lounge: Dirty States of America", "Dunsmore", and "Justice".

All in all, "Hood of the Living Dead" was a nice try that just didn't manage to make any headway. It spent too much time building to the zombies and not enough time using them to any effect.

OVERALL GRADE: 2 stars **

Hood of the Living Dead
**
DVD
Directed by Jose Quiroz, Eduardo Quiroz
Written by Jose Quiroz, Eduardo Quiroz
Starring Carl Washington, Chris Angelo, Brandon Daniels, Jose Rosete
Produced by Jose Quiroz, Eduardo Quiroz
2005
R
86 min

The Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check his Reel Advice weekly at www.monstersandcritics.com

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