"Rise of the Dead"
I had high hopes for
"Rise of the Dead", I admit that freely, but when I
started the DVD and discovered that it was not only a seventy
two minute movie, but also had a menu consisting only of a shot
of the box art, my high hopes began to burst like a housing bubble
in lead mining country.
And yet, at least in
the start, it managed to rise above its less than auspicious beginnings
and really pique my interest. A sudden out-of-nowhere murder will
do that. And it managed to keep building off that, and be interesting,
if only for a while. Which makes what happened by the end of the
movie all the worse.
of the Dead" isn't any kind of zombie flick at all. I was
pretty pissed when I found out what was actually fuelling this
teeny little zombie apocalypse--note the lack of caps on that
one--and I think you'd be too if you'd sat through it. Now, I've
got to do a plot synopsis on this, and it's actually downright
impossible to do so without spoilering. I know, I've been at it
for a couple days now and this is the best I managed to come up
with: Some girl had a baby at a really young age and put it up
for adoption. Granted, this is about the best move you can make
in such a situation--really mature thinking on her part--and the
baby thus begins a trek through a series of foster homes. At one
point, he gets adopted into one home with some marital tension
going on, and in a moment of carelessness, the baby gets his hands
on a loaded handgun left out by the adoptive father.
You can fill in the
blanks on what happens next--I really can't bring myself to type
"the baby jams the muzzle in his mouth, pulls the trigger,
and shoots himself in the head" without feeling like a total
This all leads up to
the part where "Rise of the Dead" gets just plain old
insane: the ghost of the baby returns to earth, possesses various
people, and uses them like tools to kill everybody who was even
vaguely connected with him.
Okay, read that paragraph
really did just say that a ghost baby is possessing people and
using them to kill people.
This must be what it's
like for people who smoke crack: murderous ghost babies round
the clock, twenty four / seven.
Even the movie thinks
this is insane. They're actually going to have a sequence of dialogue
summing this point up about forty minutes in with this killer
bit of dialogue from one of the local cops: "You believe
that the ghost of your dead baby is possessing the people around
you, in order so they can kill you?"
And this bit of lunacy
fueling the plot isn't even the sole downside--the entire first
half of "Rise of the Dead" fights its hardest to build
interest but can't seem to help the inevitability of going flat.
It's trying desperately to set itself up as an adoption drama
the likes of which even Lifetime would shy away from and a murder
mystery so thoroughly incomprehensible as to make even the legendary
Sax Roemer shrug in bafflement. Oh, it has its high points, sure
enough--almost every movie has some--but the average will still
average out to be dull. Worse, by the time it actually starts
to get exciting, that's when it starts to go absolutely bughouse
Oh, and you can forget
about that frantic box art on the front and the back of the box.
There will be no monster crowds of zombies shambling toward the
camera desperate to get on with the munching. I'm not, frankly,
a hundred percent sure just where they got that picture to put
on the box because I don't recognize any scene like that in the
The ending, meanwhile,
sort of sneaks up on you--which is no real surprise for a seventy
minute movie--and that sneaking isn't pleasant as the ending turns
out to be even more lunatic than the rest of the movie.
The special features
include English and Spanish subtitles, cast and crew commentary,
along with trailers for "Experiment in Torture", "Captivity",
"The Abandoned", and "Holla".
All in all, man, this
movie is utterly beyond any standard of sanity. It's an easy competitor
with the most lunatic Japanese fare and fit only for those poor
souls who like their movies bereft of reason.
of the Dead
by William Wedig
Written by Joshua Crook, Jeffrey Crook, Kris Scotto
Starring Erin Wilk, Stephen Seidel, Chris Ferry
Produced by Matt Regney, Patrick Pope, Drew Oppelt, Barbara Burch
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