OK, I confess. I really didn’t want to like this film. It has all the makings of a real turkey… a zombie movie with a Z in the title… isn’t that going to be like a B-movie but 25 times worse?
But, despite my best instincts, I really did enjoy this flick.
The plot doesn’t hang about. Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family get flung into the midst of a unexplained and unexplainable zombie apocalypse in the North East USA and society rapidly tears itself apart. Brad is rescued by helicopter from the midst of the mayhem because he is an ex-NATO investigator dude, now retired in very PC style to become a house-husband. Why they don’t have others who are on active service, and presumably more up to the current mark, to do this job is not explained. “We need you, cause you’re the best”. Well, he is Brad Pitt after all.
Leaving his family in apparent safety, Brad jets off round the world to exotic locations like South Korea, Jerusalem and Cardiff – yes, Cardiff – to try to track down the cause of the infection: something which seems pretty hopeless and lame. The plot is nicely non-linear in places though. Just when you think you know where you are going with the story, a slip on a ramp and a gun going off accidentally suddenly knocks your plan from under you, and you go off in a different direction: cunning.
The zombies are scary in a sort of creepy in the dark way, without anything being particularly gruesome. In fact, the film pulls some of its violence punches to the point where I would have thought the makers were actually a bit pissed that they got a ’15’ certificate rather than a ’12A’…. there were a lot more unpleasantly violent non-fantasy sequences in the Dark Knight for example than this film.
But tension there is a plenty. The scenes on a plane – once you put the thought of Easyjet and Ryanair boarding policy out of your head – are well done, and the final scenes within the government lab in Cardiff – yes, Cardiff – are particularly well done.
It is alleged that the budget for this film ballooned from around $170M to nearly $400M, with Brad Pitt investing a significant chunk of his personal fortune in the project. Not a classic – but not a dog either. Will it make its money back? Hmmm, very debatable. But I think, despite some pretty poor reviews, this is a film that through word of mouth a lot of people will end up going to see over the summer. I would certainly pay to watch this one again. Perhaps this is a film that – like the zombies – will just refuse to lay down and die at the box office.
Fad Rating: FFFf.