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MOVIE REVIEWS




UNDEAD (2003)


Undead
WHERE TO FIND

IN THEATERS JULY 1, 2005
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Reviewed By Dead Kev

The wait is over zombie fanatics! What wait you ask? The wait for the next great zombie flick! I've waited many years, since Romero's Day of the Dead, for the next zombie film to come around and blow me away...and it's finally happened. It doesn't surprise me that Hollywood couldn't do it. Just like Romero, it took an independent spirit to pull it all together. That spirit came from twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig in Australia. And the culmination of their passion, sweat, and lots (and lots) of blood has given all of us horror fans an amazing film, appropriately titled...Undead.

Speaking as a self-proclaimed zombie aficionado, it's likely no movie will ever surpass the brilliance of the original Night of the Living Dead, but Undead may vary well take its place right behind it at #2 on my all time favorite zombie films! Yes, it's that good. Does it exude the subtle social commentary that the 'Dead' trilogy did? Probably not, though it does challenge the notion of stereotypes a bit. What it does give us is an amazingly original story, great characters, dazzling special effects, superb acting, and just the right amount of humor.

The story sounds simple enough, but trust me when I say all is not what it seems. The small town of Berkeley has been bombarded by meteorites that bring with them a plague to end all plagues. The townspeople aren't just dying, they're coming back to life to feast on the living! Six locals find themselves together, and in a frantic battle with the undead. I'm not going to go into too much depth about the plot because I don't want to spoil any of the cool twists. All I'll say is that you haven't seen anything like this one before.

Great performances are the norm for the film, with nary a weak link to be found. The characters are well thought out, endearing, and thoroughly a joy to watch. It seemed effortless for everyone, and consequently made for a very believable experience. The town's newly crowned "Miss Catch of the Day," Rene (Felicity Mason), is just trying to get out of town when she's forced to take refuge in the house of Marion (Mungo McKay). Marion's the town's resident loony, who's been alienated because of stories of abduction and zombie fish. Wayne (Rob Jenkins) and a pregnant Sallyanne (Lisa Cunningham) are the young couple expecting their first child, literally at any moment. Local cops Harrison (Dirk Hunter) and Molly (Emma Randall) try to keep the peace, each in their own way, in this obviously out of control situation. Harrison's abusive ranting, Sallyanne's jealousy, Marion's sense of calm, Molly's timidity...all were fun to see play out on screen.

This is the feature film debut for the Spierig Brothers. Trust me, though; you won't be able to tell. The directing is top notch! Together with cinematographer Andrew Strahorn, they provide the audience with a lot of truly amazing, and unique, visual shots. They seem to have a great eye, calling for just the right shot to get the most out of a scene. Not to be outdone was the great job done by composer Cliff Bradley. Very cool music sets the mood throughout!

I don't know the total budget of the film, but if they were lacking funds, you won't really notice. These are some of the best special effects I've ever seen for an independent film. The effects aren't there to make the movie, just to compliment the story, and they do so in impressive fashion. I'd go as far to say that they'd stand up to just about any big-budget production. The zombie make-up is also done very well, and make for some really kick-ass zombies!

So are there any complaints about Undead? No, I can't say that I have any at all. I was impressed from beginning to the very end. Now if I were forced to dig for something to criticize, and I'd have to dig pretty deep, the only thing at all that I would consider changing is the ending. Not really change it, but cut off the last minute or so, and end it a bit short. That's something I've debated with myself, whether or not it would be a more powerful ending if it was shortened by a minute, and I've made cases for both ways. Don't misunderstand me, the ending is great and certainly didn't disappoint, but I told you that I had to dig deep to criticize.

So there you have it. A phenomenal debut film from two guys who know horror, and who know their zombies. I've watched Undead twice already and still I can't wait for its official release! Those who like a little splash of humor in their horror will enjoy it more than those somber horror fans out there, but I believe that all zombie fans should enjoy this one and many will put it on their all-time favorites list. Maybe not quite as high as I put it, but it will be there. Oh, before I forget, I want to see a sequel!


FILM RATING

(Out of 5)
RELEASE DATES
US - July 1, 2005
Japan - March 20, 2004
Australia - September 4, 2003
WEBSITE
www.undeadmovie.com
www.undead.jp (Japan)


DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
Undead is a brilliant, must-see movie! You won't be disappointed!
LESSONS LEARNED
1. Watch out for falling meteorites. If you see a bunch...get outta town!
2. Don't judge a zombie before you've walked a mile in its shoes. <I have no idea what that means>
FAVORITE QUOTES
-"When I was a kid, we f*ckin' respected our parents, we didn't f*ckin' eat 'em!"
-"I'll f*ckin' finish you off faster than a f*ckin' birthday cake at a fat chick's f*ckin' birthday party!"
-"I was almost eaten by their killer fish."
INTERESTING TIDBITS
Undead was the winner of the 'Fipresci Award' at the 2003 Melbourne International Film Festival, "for daring to be everything that Australian films are not supposed to be - part of a popular, disreputable genre. We commend it as an entertainment that is also political, while showing the pleasure of hands-on filmmaking."
Undead has been a work in progress for over 3 years, from the time the Spierig brothers developed the script, to getting principal photography underway in August 2001. Post-production was completed on September 8 2003.
Undead was a work in progress for over 3 years, from the time the Spierig brothers developed the script, to getting principal photography underway in August 2001. Post-production was completed on September 8, 2003.
It is the first feature film written, produced and directed by twin brothers Michael and Peter Spierig. Undead is an independent production shot entirely in Queensland, Australia.
MEDIA
Official Trailers
Official Poster - Australian
Official Poster - Spain
Official Poster - Japan
AROUND THE WEB
Interview With Michael & Peter Spierig - Arrow in the Head
Interview With The Undead - DVDown Under


DIRECTORS
Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
WRITERS
Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
DIR. OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Andrew Strahorn
COMPOSER
Cliff Bradley
CAST CHARACTER
Felicity Mason Rene
Mungo McKay Marion
Rob Jenkins Wayne
Lisa Cunningham Sallyanne
Dirk Hunter Harrison
Emma Randall Molly
PRODUCTION COMPANY
Spierigfilm
STUDIO
Lions Gate Films (US/Canada)
Imagine Entertainment (AU)
Tot Media (Spain)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Australia
RUNNING TIME MPAA RATING
100 mins R


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