TV Movie Review of Syfy Channel’s ‘Zombie Apocalypse’

by on October 30, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

'Zombie Apocalypse' movie poster

This is a Cinema Static TV movie review of the Syfy Original Saturday Night movie called Zombie Apocalypse.  So was this another typical Syfy movie or was it something on a different level than the usual Syfy fare?

The cast of Zombie Apocalypse includes Ving Rhames (Shark Night 3D, The River Murders), Taryn Manning (The Speed of Thought; Hawaii Five-0), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena), Eddie Steeples (I Know Who Killed Me; My Name Is Earl [Yes, he still has the hair!]), Johnny Pacar (Make It or Break It), Gary Weeks (Elena Undone), & Anya Monzikova (Iron Man 2).

The cast makes you think there might be something to this flick.  It’s directed by Nick Lyon (Species: The Awakening) and written by Brooks Peck (Rage of the Yeti ) & Craig Engler (Also Rage of the Yeti & the voice behind the Syfy Twitter account).

A Quick Start Outline

'Zombie Apocalypse' on Syfy - there be zombies

Zombie Apocalypse opens to a terse telling of a zombie infection that spreads throughout the world, taking down 90% of the human population.  The quick telling in both printed words and visuals of the infection reminds you quickly of multiple other zombie franchises, but I’m not sure that’s an avoidable situation.

We then watch three humans rummaging noisily through a store and suddenly extras… I mean zombies start ambling out of the woodwork, coming after them.

Rather than flee, they stand and shoot and scream.  They almost succumb to the deadly dead attack.  One of them gets turned but the other two are saved by a group of zombie chopping saviors.

Zombie Apocalypse is produced by The Asylum, the production company notorious for their thematic, low quality rip offs like Battle of Los Angeles, Titanic II, Paranormal Entity, Transmorphers: Fall of Man, The Terminators, The Day the Earth Stopped… and the like.

To be honest, I came into this TV movie expecting the worse, being from The Asylum, but it didn’t suck.

The opening was a collection of standard effects of inexpensive zombie gore and stiffly choreographed fight scenes that was a bit tough to digest.  But as yet another zombie TV platform, it seems to travel down the road traveled by The Walking Dead.  That’s not a knock, and again, probably unavoidable, considering the amount of attention The Walking Dead is getting in its second season.

'Zombie Apocalypse' on Syfy - tiger zombie

What Zombie Apocalypse did introduce to me though was zombie animals and what looked like zombies that may actually plot and lay in wait.  I don’t recall seeing that before.

The narrative moves along at a slow digestible pace, as we learn about each character via dialog between them.  All the while, the small band of humans travel across country to the potential safe haven of the island of Catalina, off the coast of Southern California.  It’s a journey with a few losses and a few new friends made along the way.  The movie comes to a close with one of the usual scenes where the camera focuses on characters swinging at something off-camera, because it must be pretty expensive to have CGI and live-action cast interact too often in the same frame.

Looking Back On It

I was happily surprised by this Asylum production, but a bit disappointed in the less than starring presence of Ving Rhames.  I expected him to have a larger presence in the TV movie.  (I had just watched him earlier in the day in the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake!)

I think what pulled the production through this script was what I suspect to be the talent of the actors.  It was nice to see some character as opposed to the usual stiffly acted newbie filled casts we sometimes see.

For a Syfy channel movie, Zombie Apocalypse was not bad at all.  It was good, slow, methodical TV popcorn fun.

Disclaimer:  Before you try and rip me a new one, remember, I’m comparing it against other Syfy and Asylum movies, not a real dramatic piece!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

StephenZ October 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I found myself losing interest in this movie from the very beginning and never made it to the end. I recorded it and may go back to finish it but probably not. Yeah, I won’t.

The zombies and effects were fine by me but the story and characters were not engaging. If you don’t want plot and character in a zombie movie fine but you need to fill those voids with scares, laughs or something else.

Really, some of this criticism may be due to the undead overload lately. Maybe eight years ago I would’ve been glued to the screen…

ElayneS October 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

When the group was walking through the flood control channel, did anyone notice several cars driving over the overpass in the background? Apparently this film crew didn’t learn anything from 28 Days Later, where you see cars driving over the overpass in the distance once the taxi leaves the tunnel.

I can’t believe how far and inbetween the zombies were scattered. I know you might have to use body shot or slash to push a zombie back, but these people seemed to focus more on those than when there was a better shot at going for the zombie’s head.

I expected better from this film at least.

Bruce Simmons October 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hey Jason! Yea, I sort of put it all together in one sentence with “inexpensive zombie gore and stiffly choreographed fight scenes.” I agree, that 50 cal. scene really sucked. I would have thought mounting a 50 cal. on a shopping cart would have slightly more kick than that. LOL. Yes, the effects were challenging indeed. And then again, quite on par for a Syfy Saturday Night Original!

On the buckets of digital blood spurt… yup! I forget which movie it was, but they had stage-hands toss literal buckets of blood into the camera frames and was as funny as I think (hope) it was intended to be. They do enjoy adding the blood through most of their movies.

HA! Thanks… My mind had gone numb with the effects from ZA and I couldn’t recall the animal zombies from “Resident Evil” or “I am Legend!”

Thanks for chiming in!

JasonE October 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

First of all zombies that can dodge attacks and turn and run? if we are going for a new kind of zombie, ok ill keep an open mind.

Second, anyone else notice thereally bad special effects of the 50 cal on the shopping cart? the rounds never moved.

third if you look at the ninja girl on the bridge, she didnt have her sword on her at all. then she did? serious over site?

fourth, did the movie 300 blood spirting bleed into this show? The fast sword movements where really bad as well. it was a really bad over kill.

Im a zombie movie nut, and i can understand a low, and i mean really low, bottom of the barrel low, looking for pennies on the ground low budget show but my god, they spent the movie on the wrong things.

as for zombie animals, there is “I am Legend” and “Resident Evil” just to name 2.

Bruce Simmons October 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

Excellent… most glad to see someone else felt the same way Mach10! (PS: I fixed the slip up for ya.) -Bruce

Mach10 October 30, 2011 at 2:11 am

Yes not bad … these zombies actually ran away from being attacked and brought more with she came back … from around the corner. And dogs and Tigers … became zombiefied. I did notice the same zombie … popping up and attacking the group … in different scenes … they could have least used different makeup or something … to get her to look a little bit different. But it was worth watching … not bad SYFY … you did good this time … Mach10

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