Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sick n Binging: Zombie Time

NOT a soon-to-be-regular category, but one Kent is welcome to, since he is more often exposed to virus laden bacteria machines, i.e. kids, this one is about laying on the sofa coughing and hacking and sneezing and having not enough energy to even sleep properly, so might as well watch Netflix.

Maggie, 2015, Henry Hobson (title designer) -- Netflix
Re-Kill, 2015, Valeri Milev (Wrong Turn 6) -- Netflix

Really, I should have been watching contagion style movies, but my fever wasn't that high and I didn't have the shakes. So, zombie infection was good enough, and I felt & sounded like a shambler.

Maggie is the attempt at a contemplative zombie movie where her family deals with the slow spread of a zombie plague through their daughter, and the societal weights all around her. It's not a very successful attempt.

Enter a new zombie infection that starts with a scratch or bite and ends up with a decaying, but living, biter. This is the world of the infected, not the risen dead. NecroAmbulism, a virus that leaves them dying on their feet, has swept the world and the government protocols are struggling with control. Most infected are either put down, if in the final stages, while the newly infected are quarantined. A brief wander through the halls of a hospital shows people acting quite matter of fact, as the severely infected moan and struggle in their restraints, all the more just like people with a bad disease. Which is what this movie has it as.

Maggie was bitten when she ran away to the city. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to the city to retrieve her from an isolation ward, his daughter from his first marriage, his connection to his late wife. He has pulled strings with a local doctor to take her home, in his custody, until she shows signs of turning. He gets to spend some time with her. But just in case, he sends his kids from his current marriage to their aunt's.

Contemplative movies hope emotion can be portrayed through silences. There are lots of those typical scenes, focused on people's faces, the background blurred out, no dialogue. This is rural life, a simpler life but what they are dealing with is so much more complicated. And there is the comparison of the decaying rural lifestyle to the decaying daughter. But all the implied emotional impact is just ... boredom. I admit, I find it hard to connect with Abigail Breslin and really don't see Arnie as the grieving, gentle father, so all the connective scenes were bland and unremarkable. Which is a good summary of the film.

Meanwhile Re-Kill is a silly, Canadian (as in shot in the west, using familiar faces) scifi, zombie actioner attempting to portray what World War Z should have. I stole that last bit from Marmy. The premise is again post-zombie (ReAns) plague, but focused on a Cops like TV show that follows members of a Re-Kill Division squad. R Division is tasked with hunting down and re-killing the zombies, hoping to prevent Breakout 2.

Great premise. Silly execution. I was OK with the TV presentation style, but for the repeated sex commercials. OK I get it, there has to be some T&A in a straight-to zombie actioner, but boy was it tacked on. I actually rather enjoyed the interview segments and recollections of the zombie war 5 years previous, all reminiscent of the best parts of that book I mentioned. But the main focus of the movie is the squad being sent into the walled off city of NY to find out why someone was trying to deliver a truckload of zombies.

Sigh. 1) If the city is walled off, how exactly would you have a reason to drive a truck into that zone? Who would let you do that? 2) Why would they only send a small squad of glorified SWAT members, along with a TV crew, into a zone that was created because there are too many zombies there?  Anywayz, as is typical, they quickly begin to pick off members of the squad while mowing down hordes of extras. There is a mystery to be solved that is lifted from one of the latter Romero movies, and not one of the good ones. We are left with one member alive and a premise for a sequel. Not that I believe it will be made.