Review: ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD

zk blu cover emailIt’s very apparent from the first fifteen minutes that B. Harrison Smith’s ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD is not your typical zombie entry. While most films that fall within the undead subgenre tend to focus solely on special effects and not enough on story, it’s quite the opposite with ZK. While the special effects are just as impressive as any other zombie film, what really sets this one apart from the rest is just how character driven and story-driven it is, giving fans a fresh take on something that unfortunately has become stagnant, and offering fans something that at the end of the day, is incredibly easy to get on board with.

The scope of the film is what brings you in, with a small community living together and surrounded by walls and fences guarded by the “Zombie Killer”, a group of young kids led by Billy Zane’s Seiler character, one that recalls John Wayne’s best performances. Zane plays it quiet and cool in this one, and it really sets the tone. While most zombie films are full speed the whole time, Harrison is able to get you invested in the film’s characters and their back stories and motivations before we even see a single zombie walking around. By the time we see the undead, we’re already well invested into the film and its inhabitants, so when the shit hits the fan (pardon my French), we actually care about what happens to each of them, and we’re given enough characters TO care about. It’s a well cast film, full of genre stars like Felissa Rose playing against type in the best way, as a preacher trying to talk the community into what “God Wants”, adding a strong level of religion to the already hectic mix that the residents are trying to soldier through. Rose’s performance is a great one, and it’s easy to hate her, in the best way.

Also filling up the cast, is CUJO/THE HOWLING star Dee Wallace, as the dying mother of the film’s protagonist, a young man who just wants to get away and start a life, away from the zombies and even away from the community, one that has its own agenda and isn’t afraid of throwing its own to the slaughter if it fits the needs of the community’s Dr., a man who is all too familiar with trying to play God.

It’s that closed community beginning to unravel within themselves that just adds to the danger, so when zombies eventually show up, everybody is fighting both the undead AND the living, making the film’s intensity twice as stressful to deal with. It’s a great touch, and something that you just don’t see very often within the zombie subgenre. While The Walking Dead deals a lot with communities and their survivors, it comes off a bit too soap-opera like at times, and ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD never heads into that territory, instead, giving fans a very character driven film that offers a brand new approach and look at a subgenre that until now, has gotten pretty dull. Here’s hoping that the film’s sequel expands on that well-crafted story and characters that live within it.

 

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  1. […] come back and bite you in the ass. Case in point: in my recent review of the greatly entertaining ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD, I wrote about how enjoyable the subtlety and quiet tone of the film was. Feeling bombarded with […]



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