Undead is a 2003 Australian film that finally received its United States run this summer. Written and directed by the Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter), Undead is yet another zombie movie in an industry that has seen an explosion of horror and zombie films in recent years. The Spierig Brothers give a twisted take on the George A. Romero popularized genre that is highly stylized and very goofy.
Rene (Felicity Mason) has decided to leave her town of Berkeley, an Australian fishing village, but is halted when an accident leaves her stranded in the middle of nowhere. The accident is caused by an onslaught of meteorites falling to Earth. Humans, when exposed to these meteorites, turn into flesh-eating zombies. Rene runs for safety, and she finds refuge in the farmhouse of Marion (Mungo McKay), who is seemingly well prepared for this day.
Marion’s house becomes a refuge for survivors, who must band together to fight off the endless swarm of zombies that chase them from the first floor to the basement to panic room to the upstairs, etc. I don’t want to spoil any more details regarding what the Spierig Brothers do to reinvent the genre, but I will say that despite how original Undead looks, it still seems contrived. When you watch the scene where Marion is fishing and has his first encounter with the zombies, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
But any artificiality might be induced by my (maybe even society’s) stereotypical view about how zombies come into existence. Actually, as I’m writing this, I don’t even think that I have a clear idea of how zombies come into existence. If I follow Romero’s vision, it’s natural evolution. If I follow Danny Boyle (28 Days Later), it’s by scientists. If I follow the Resident Evil universe, it’s by the government. Hmmm.
To be fair, at the end of Undead, you might come to the conclusion that the Spierig Brothers have created something very creative; however, you might later come to the realization that any brilliance has been diluted with the film having no actual horror (although there’s plenty of gore), too many “video game” sequences, no nudity (although Rene does strip into pretty hot underwear) and tons of dialogue that, at best, can be described as silly. Although if you’re looking for that type of film, then Undead might be your best bet.
Video and Sound:
Undead is shot in 1:81:1 widescreen and for a super low-budget, the film looks really good. The available audio options are 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital with English and Spanish subtitles.
For a very low-budget movie, Lions Gate Home Entertainment has presented Undead in a very large special edition DVD, filled with many extras including cast and crew commentaries, a Zombies Internet Featurette, “Midnight Madness” — a look at the film’s Toronto Film Festival screening, a homemade dolly construction video, Undead trailers, deleted and extended scenes — all of which are few and very expendable — and a special preview of Saw 2. Others include:
“Making Of” Featurette is an in-depth behind-the-scenes look of the film. There is an emphasis on how little money there was to make the film, and knowing that makes the final product such an enormous feat. A film like this could only have been done with very dedicated people — both cast and crew. The coolest part is an explanation to the action sequence of Marion sticking his boot spurs on the doorframe and shooting zombies while hanging upside down.
“Camera and Make-Up Tests” is a cool look at the various combinations of camera shots and make-up levels. It was fun to see how various movements are distorted when shooting down from the normal 24 frames a second to 16 fps to 12 fps to 8 fps.
“Supernova Convention Footage” is a Q&A session with the cast and crew. The funniest moment is when Mungo McKay (Marion) declares that he will go full frontal nude in his next movie when asked about his butt shot.
Official Website: www.undeadthemovie.com