JULY 29, 2009
After Redneck Zombies, I wasn’t really in the mood for another “backyard” zombie film this week, but being the colossal moron I am, I told my fellow Horror People, Dear Reader commentator and all around fonzanoon Simon Barrett that he could pick my movie today, as it is his 40th birthday. The only requisite I gave him was that it had to be something from Netflix instant view, because I don’t like him enough to go out of my way to get something. And because I apparently stepped on his foot or maybe slept with his wife in a previous life, the bastard got back at me by making me watch Shatter Dead.
It certainly starts off promising, with a lesbian sex scene (one of them is an angel), followed by a strange zombie scene where a woman walks past a bunch that are homeless, and then blows one up for stealing her gas. I liked the idea of a “Zombies are just part of life” motif, such as in Zombies Anonymous, so I was intrigued. Unfortunately, after this, there is almost zero zombie action in the film, which just becomes one of those art-school dramas where people sit around in poorly lit apartments discussing what it means to be alive and all that crap. I can barely tolerate these things in 10 minute student films, but when stretched to an interminable 80 minutes, the filmmakers might as well be smashing my scrotum with a block of wood, Antichrist style.
Every now and then there is some action, such as when a zombie who apparently stepped out of a poorly planned frat costume party begins spouting some religious babble while he and other zombies kill everyone for about 5 straight minutes. There is a lot of splatter here, plus the time-honored indie zombie scene where a fetus is torn from a woman’s body (how do these guys always find a way to work that in?), but then its back to more pontificating into the in-camera mic; “What is it to be alive?” type shit. The last half hour is just the heroine (or is that heroin? Hey-o!!! ...she looks like a junkie is what I’m saying) and her zombie boyfriend in an apartment, with him rambling nonstop about how beautiful it is to be dead while she threatens to shoot herself in the head. If you love everything you hear at a poetry slam, you’ll probably like these interminable scenes. The only reason I was able to sit through them is because the douchebag boyfriend looked like a hair metal version of Joe Lynch.
There is also a surprising amount of nudity in the film. Not that I mind nudity much, but a lot of it seemed gratuitous (the afore-mentioned lesbian angel scene is never explained, nor does she appear again, best as I can tell), not to mention was seemingly just there to pad the film out to feature length. Also, none of the women are particularly attractive, so if it’s meant to titillate, it pretty much fails. Even when the coke whore (sorry, lead actress) blows a gun (for real), I was just sort of bored and somewhat grossed out. If that was the intent, fine - but why would anyone want you to find the lead character unappealing? What incentive do you have to finish the movie?
Like Antichrist, I’m going to just chalk this one up to “Not my thing”. I like zombies, obviously, but writer/director Scooter McCrae apparently doesn’t, or he would have used them in his movie more. I may not have liked Redneck Zombies much, but at least director Pericles Lewnes (who pops up in this movie, strangely enough) definitely wanted to make an actual zombie movie. Scooter seems more interested in recycling what he sort of remembered from a Philosophy 101 class that he spent watching fetish porn. Maybe there’s a niche audience for zombie movies without zombies and a lot of ugly nudity and pretentious babble in their place, and if so, I wholeheartedly recommend this thing. Me, the most entertained I got was when I consulted the Wikipedia page to see if it had any explanation for the angel scene. It didn’t, but the synopsis seems to have been written by someone who was as bored as I was with the movie. The DVD apparently includes lots of extras, but even if I had rented the disc proper I can’t be sure I’d want to spend any more time on Shatter Dead (p.s. 2nd movie in a row with a title in which I am unable to find the relevance).
In conclusion, the moral of the story is: Never listen to Simon, unless he’s talking (with me) over a public domain horror movie. Then listen to each and every word with baited breath.
What say you?
P.S. I couldn't find the trailer so I put in a clip of the only real action scene in the entire movie. Enjoy, I guess.