Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Film Review: Zombie (1979)

Zombie (aka Zombi 2) (Review)
Italy/1979
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"If you like old-school zombie movies, especially those with slow and menacing zombies, I think you'll enjoy this one."

When a patrolman is killed on her father's wandering boat, Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) joins journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) in a search for answers...

Zombie, also known as Zombi 2, is a slow film. It's not like our modern zombie media. In fact, I'd say it's even slower than the original Dawn of the Dead. The pace works in building up the tension, but it can occasionally feel like it's dragging its feet. The plot primarily follows Anne and Peter as they travel to Matul, a Caribbean island where Anne's father was conducting research. They are joined by another couple who happen to be vacationing in the area. When they reach the island, they find it has been infested with zombies. The locals claim the rising of the dead is due to voodoo, but the island doctor begs to differ. There's not much going on in the plot, really. It feels like it could have been 10-15 minutes shorter without hurting the plot. The climax is fantastic, though.

Zombie is a great film. The plot leaves a little to be desired, but it is effective. It's slow, often to a fault, but it takes time to build its character and to form its narrative. The voodoo angle for this zombie uprising is interesting, too. The setting is also great. In terms of horror, this isn't a jump-scare movie. The horror works off of its moderate suspense, shocking gore, and, well, zombies. The gore effects are splendid. It feels strange writing something like that, but I was impressed. I've always been a fan of the strong, slow-moving zombies, too. It brings you back to the old Dawn of the Dead/Resident Evil days. Side-note: Yes, this film has those characters that stand around in the face of danger and always get themselves killed. It can be a little frustrating in this movie.

The acting was stiff and the dialogue was iffy. I didn't hate any of the performances, but it does often feel unnatural. I feel like this is a problem for quite a few 70/80s horror movies. The film looks good, though. I liked the camerawork. The music is fantastic, too. I love the theme for this film. Like I said, the practical gore effects are superb. You can see a few places where the filmmakers cut corners, though. Some of the zombies only have makeup on their heads, so you can catch a glimpse of their regular skin from the neck-down. The film was written by Dardano Sacchetti and directed by Lucio Fulci. The inconsistent pacing was the film's biggest flaw. It's always a slow movie – and that's fine – but it's often too slow for its own good.

Overall, Zombie is a great film. If you like old-school zombie movies, especially those with slow and menacing zombies, I think you'll enjoy this one. You'll really like it if you're a fan of slow-burning movies and practical special effects. I mean, where else are you going to find a film with a zombie fighting a shark?

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity.

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