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Zombie Hunter (Blu-ray Review)

Zombie-HunterWe have a lot of zombie films nowadays.  I’m not one of those you’ll find complaining, as I don’t go out of my way to see each and every one of them.  But, with so much zombie material out there, it gets harder and harder to set yourself apart from everything else in this horror subgenre.  That said, everyone’s gotta try somehow.  People love zombies right now, and you have to keep feeding them that flesh.  This latest attempt, Zombie Hunter, comes off as a kind of mash up with some other styles.  I don’t know if it was consciously intentional, but it gives it an interesting edge for at least one act.  And for a while, this cheap production manages to keep you from realizing how low budget it really is.  It’s not until later that it’s hand starts getting revealed.  Oh, and the film sports Danny Trejo as an axe wielding priest named Jesus, so that got my attention as well.

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Film 

In this film, the zombie epidemic is started from a popular drug (“Natas) that people begin to overdose on.  Its pink, and thus, in the mix with red blood, we get pink goop too.  We begin our story following “The Hunter”, a post zombie apocalypse wanderer as he makes his way through desert.  Scavengering for gas and food.  One day he is shot in his car and crashes into a ditch.  When he awakens he is in a small camp of people, led by a priest named Jesus, hiding out from the zombies.  When their home is compromised they are forced to make their way to a possible plane over past the creepy town that may have things far worse than Flesh Eaters.

Zombie Hunter is basically a Mad Max story with zombies.  The wanderer very much dresses, acts and drives in this fashion.  Its got a comic approach to it as it decides to bring a playfulness to its intensity.  The film also doesn’t just settle on zombies, its got a  far more advanced monster as well as a crazy painted up hillbilly with a chainsaw.  It’s very much Road Warrior meets Resident Evil with the tone of Zombieland.

The film actually starts out with a lot of promise and is pretty entertaining.  But, once our Hunter gets to the refuge group things start to slow up.  That’s not bad, as we get to meet these characters and there’s some actually good humor going on.  It’s when the action picks up again that this zombie adventure begins swirling downhill.  And most of that is because it starts getting a little too silly and feeling like the cheap movie it is.  The CGI effects start becoming incredibly terrible.  They are easily discernable and keep getting worse.  Some effects don’t even look like they bothered to shade things to make them look like they fit.  There are blood, monster, slicing and impaling effects that take you out of this movie because they look so bad and like they aren’t even connected to the film.

The film’s cast is pretty fun.  Aside from a bad performance from Terrry Guthrie, the cast seems to get their characters and has a lot of fun with them.  The film seems to want to satirize one-note stereotypes and does it quite well.  This is where most of the humor comes from.  Danny Trejo is a treat and is in this film much more than I figured he’d be.  His presence greatly enhances the film and it’s always ALWAYS cool too see that man in action.  Another surprising element, with as exploitative and raunchy as this movie is, there’s zero nudity in it.  There’s the almost the tease and promise that there will be, but none at all.

Zombie Hunter begins like it could be a recommendable little independent genre piece, but a little before the halfway point the film begins nose diving.  A lot of that had to deal with an uninterested final act.  But, a lot of my qualm came with the shitty CG effects.  There was actually some really cool practical work on this one.  Most of the CG seemed unnecessary and like it was trying to add more gore on top of suitable gore.  Also, the monsters looked pretty fake 85% of the time.  Oh, and the ending is pretty dumb as well and kinda pissed me off.  If you’ve got nothing else going on and this is your only option to watch, you might be ok, but its nothing you need to go out of your way to catch.

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Video 

The film features a very hit and miss 1080p MPEG-4 AVC video encoding.  During the daytime scenes are where this disc show’s its strengths.  Most of the image is extremely well defined and looks perfectly 3 dimensional.  It’s of “best possible” quality.  However, the daytime scenes aren’t without their faults.  There are many instances where the image during the day also appears flat and at times not very well defined. Nighttime is where this disc is problematic.  There are many instances of crushing and the image also gets this weird haze to it.  The discs high definition also does the CGI in this film no favors as it all appears incredibly obvious and a lot of the shading of figures and effects do not match the live action counterparts at all.

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Audio 

Unlike the zombies, in this 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is full of life.  The track is loud and takes charge of putting you into the experience.  The score for the film kicks and the effects are nice clean and distinct.  The bass level on the lows for this is tremendous and reverberates through your body as cars crash and zombies get deep gashes.  There’s enough interplay between channels to satisfy your inner ghoul.  This audio track is the best thing this release has going for it.  It makes the film far more enjoyable and entertaining than it could have been.

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Extras 

The zombies have nothing to munch on because this disc is pretty much bare bones.

Trailer (HD, 2:35)

Previews

  •  A Single Shot (HD, 1:35)
  • The Seasoning House (HD, 1:59)
  • IP Man: The Final Fight (HD, 1:42)

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Summary 

Well Go USA video brings a new zombie tale that doesn’t quite make good on what it sets out to do.  This isn’t a waste of a watch, but by the end of it I can’t really see this as one that I’d be recommending to friends or claim to be some sort of under the radar zombie film that needs more attention.  And once again, let me just whine about the crappy gore effects that poison this film.  Well Go USA releases this with a fantastic audio track and a suitable video presentation that is not without a couple big faults.  There are no extras on this thing, so we are given no idea as to why someone thought CG effects were the route to go on this.  If you’re jones’ing for zombies, you could do far worse, but personally if you want what this film is trying to convey, pop in either Zombieland or Resident Evil: Extinction and enjoy those again.


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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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