In a world ravaged by a virus that turns people into cannibals, a pregnant woman and two men strive to reach an island untouched by the plague. Meanwhile, a dangerous individual is on the trail of a mysterious girl, which causes Alice to realize that the zombies are not their only threat.
Zombie movies and TV shows are a dime a dozen these days. They seem to go through a resurgence every couple of years but lately, thanks mainly to the success of TV’s “The Walking Dead” and its spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead,” they have lingered around longer than usual. And that’s okay because for every turkey (“House of the Dead,” “Survival of the Dead”), there’s a winner (“28 Days later,” “Zombieland”). With this latest incantation however, it falls somewhere in the middle. It’s a pretty decent attempt at something that’s been done before including the quintessential lone survivor who may or may not be the answer to the outbreak (“Resident Evil”) and the insane soldiers from the latter half of “28 Days Later,” suffering from excessive arrogance, including a license to do whatever they want.
When pregnant Alice (Roberta Sparta) is attacked in her apartment by a zombie and manages to barely escape with her life, she meets Stephen (Marius Bizau) and Peter (Michael Segal) and together, the trio survive by driving endlessly, keeping on the move. When they stumble upon a broken down car, they discover a radio which keeps repeating a message about a ferry that will be leaving the dock in a few days to an island where there is no sign of the zombie epidemic. Instilling hope into them, they aim for the coast with hopes of being able to abandon the nightmare which has surrounded them for months.
Meanwhile, a young female, the Prisoner (Désirée Giorgetti), is tied up in a military facility where she is repeatedly raped and experimented upon by unseen faces. One of the soldiers has pity on her and helps her escape but with Rooker (Aaron Stielstra), the team leader in hot pursuit, she must try to acclimatize to her new surroundings, keeping a watchful eye out for Rooker and his men and the hordes of zombies who can turn up out of nowhere. When she meets Alice, the two women must learn to trust in each other if they are to survive the prevailing nightmare, with hopes of a new beginning in the not too-distant future.
For anybody familiar with Uwe Boll, this movie might be a turn-off as he is listed as a co-producer. His name angers a lot of people because he has adapted many beloved video games and turned them into second-rate, inferior films, including “House of the Dead,” “Bloodrayne,” and “Postal,” but as a filmmaker and a movie critic myself, I believe in giving people second chances and after having watched his little-seen but superior war film, “Tunnel Rats,” about the endless tunnels underneath the jungle of Vietnam, I realized that even Mr. Boll can sometimes produce admirable work.
With “Anger of the Dead,” the directing duties are handled by Italian filmmaker Francesco Picone in his feature-film directorial debut. I have to give Mr. Picone credit for at least trying to infuse the movie with some character development and story exposition, something that is typically lacking in films of this ilk. While it’s true that most people watch zombie movies to see people being torn apart, when there’s no evolution or progression for the characters, they become stagnant and lifeless and the film suffers as a result. Even though “The Walking Dead” is in the middle of its sixth season and there is plenty of gore throughout, it is supported by a terrific ensemble cast that fans have come to love and care about where every episode furthers their characters and their fight for survival. With a movie, there is far less time to create such character arcs and backstories but with “Anger of the Dead,” director Francesco Picone has at least made the effort and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
In theaters and On Demand now. Available on DVD February 2nd
For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com