Battle Evil With Friends! “Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” review!

Joel, Darryl, and Roy are mates who work at an Australian telephone exchange. Joined by Roy’s daughter Emma, her boyfriend Lachlan, and his friend Ryan, the surviving group of six hold out in the exchange while the world crumbles around them from a sudden and vicious zombie apocalypse. Trapped and desperate, the survivors bicker amongst themselves in trying to formulate the best plan of escape and who should be recruited for the company cricket team. One shotgun with eight shells, two paintball guns, a machete, a tiny homemade cricket bat, and a grenade is all that stands between them and a cannibalistic horde of zombified Aussies.
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Writer-director Declan Shrubb’s sophomore film stars an eclectic cast of veteran and amateur actors from the 20 years of experience and upcoming TV series “Wolf Creek” actor Greg Fleet to the hilarity of stand-up comedians and radio personalities of Jim Jefferies and Alex Williamson. “Me and my Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” is a tongue-and-cheek zombie comedy straight out of Australia, a country known for it’s intense and respectable homage heavy renditions of America’s video nasties from the 1980’s while also combining brazen wit that hurts so hysterically good. Shrubb’s film nowhere nearly disappoints, living up to the whims and visceral intensity comparable to that of 2007’s “Undead.”
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Just in the simply put title alone, “My and my Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse,” should warrant that the 2015 film doesn’t take itself seriously, but Shrubb blends together various facets of humor, slipping in countless forms of comic relief from crude sexual humor to the harmless play on words while also sprinkling throughout with off-color dialogue. A majority of the characters initially feel aloof or appear as pot smoking knuckleheads; yet, the characters can rise to the occasion at times seemingly becoming a formidable force against the living dead, labeled by the exchange workers as ‘Rotters.” Surprisingly enough, the characters’ dumb luck practically leaves them unscathed or, if really unlucky, placed in the folds of another hair raising scenario to only escape in a goofy fashion.
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Alex Williamson is by far a fan favorite as the hapless company cricket team recruit Darryl who spits out off-the-way quips that make him a likable blockhead much in the same way Goofy is a smart klutz friend to Mickey Mouse. Then Greg Fleet portrays Roy, a pissed off father and cricket coach, looking for the easy way out without his balls turning purple (you’ll have to watch the movie to know what I’m talking about). Fleet’s character grows immensely, withstanding many personal pains from not only the zombies, but from his so-called friends. However, Roy is a tough bird, a real nut puncher when needs to be, bringing his character to the forefront of the film. The third friend, Joel, played by Jim Jefferies was a character that had a role reversal from the actor playing him. Jefferies is an actual stand-up comic, but Joel had to be the most serious and smartest character of the bunch, whipping up communications in a jiffy with meager tools while not being too funny about doing it.
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Like always in Australian or New Zealand zombie horror, the special effects realistically pit our heros against a nasty, grotesque bunch of undead and decaying ghouls whom can dig out your innards in no time flat to make a delicacy out of them. The zombies didn’t appear cheap with rotting skin, gnarly gashes, and effective blood smears and were portrayed actively well, even if applied with some brain smarts to be able to get past Darryl’s homemade and shoddy powerful electric fence. The macabre wasn’t too shabby either with a very Romero-Savini-esque death sequences that’ll be stuffed with plenty of pig intestines.
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UK home entertainment distributor Matchbox Films courteously releases “Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” on DVD. The 90 minute film was sent to Its Bloggin’ Evil for review via an online screener link (as you can tell from the watermark on the screen caps) and a review of the audio and video qualities, plus any bonus material, won’t be critiqued. With that being said, the movie itself nails being impressively amusing. Your sides will burst, your throat will hurt, and your eyes will transform into a torrential waterfall as Declan Shrubb’s horror comedy bites hard into becoming an apocalypse of zombie buffoonery.

Buy “Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” at Amazon.com. Currently on sale! The laughs don’t ever stop!

Who You Gonna Call to Stop Evil? “P.A.S.S. (Paranormal Activity Security Squad)” review!

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A young group of phony ghost ass kickers who call themselves Paranormal Activity Security Squad, aka P.A.S.S., setup a reality show to earn quick cash from gullible callers. When the calls for help trickle into their call center, aka their garage, P.A.S.S. eagerly answers the call, but they become intertwined into the sinister plot orchestrated by a real nasty demon named Vladimir Van Housin. Now, they must obtain the assistance of a slightly unorthodox, if not totally narcissistic, sorcerer, a brutishly strong Asian man-child, and the loyalty to each other to stop the powerful Van Housin demon from entering their world, tilting their very existence.
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“P.A.S.S.” is either the prime candidate for the schlock of Troma or needs to be seriously considered by Jonathan Turell, CEO of The Criterion Collection, for upscaled distribution with all the bells and whistles. To be honest, my initial thought was another stupid horror-comedy with bathroom jokes while camera focusing a lot on Katie Heidy’s Wrench character’s cleavage. Lots of cleavage I can deal with, but when Rigan Machado’s dimwit character dumps a log out of his brown soaked whitey-tighties and then proceeds to pick it up and eat it, I nearly gave up on P.A.S.S….and eating anything…ever. But I continued to watch. And watch. And watch. And the more I watched, the more I witnessed untapped creativity and enigmatic entertainment that kept me enthralled to the cliffhanging end.
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Among nearly all the other credits for P.A.S.S., writer, director, and star Alex Wraith has astronomical vision, using his galactic gonads to implement slight rotoscope technology and practical specials effects that develop a wicked comic world of insane determination. “P.A.S.S.” breaks all the laws of filmmaking. When a film attempts to homage an untouchable classic, in this case Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters,” the project nearly gets blacklisted by fans. If you don’t believe me then check out the critical responses to this year’s “Ghostbusters” remake. Wraith’s film incorporate’s the humorously stiff commercial, the transformed hearse, and a team of four amateurs that all attach itself to the beloved Bill Murray comedy while also adding in public domain footage of retro horror from “Night of the Living Dead” to Ted Browning’s “Dracula” in the montage introduction and seriously ripping Star Wars. Wraith and some of his cast aren’t exactly newbies to the Hollywood game with Wraith having minor roles in “Savages” and “Taken 3,” and Sean Stone in also “Savages” and “Wall Street.” Katie Heidy and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s daughter, Bianca Bridgitte Van Damme, bring the squad’s, if not the movie’s overall, sex appeal while Dale C. Reeves portrays an awesome antagonistic spawned from hell demon who can’t be defeated and who also looks like Darth Maul. Don’t miss appearances by Dawna Lee Heising and “Amateur Pornstar Killer” director Shane Ryan!
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Aforementioned, the rotoscope and practical effects are not top shelf material, but achieve a otherworldly sensation and set the tone for the film’s kooky and demented nature. Wraith loved to overuse the lens flare which works favorably for the world he was trying to create. Also, at some point in time in the duration, I felt as if I was inside the video game series “Twisted Metal.” Perhaps because three of our heros were pitted against a evil clowned-faced giant reeking havoc in an alternative universe. I truly believe this piece of work is a look into the warped mind of some very open minded individuals who eager seek to spill their madness onto paper and onto the big screen.
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“P.A.S.S.” feels rightfully inexpensive due to Wraith and his team’s self funding, but the finished product reveals a smartly written script and some superb editing that keep the laughs rolling and the craziness fresh, turning up the intensity dial to beyond the max! I’m unable to critique the entire package as I was handed a screener link to review and I believe “P.A.S.S. has yet to find home distribution, but the handheld camera footage for the squad’s reality show looks amazing even if purposefully hectic at times and the audio is equally as clear and as balanced. Check out “Paranormal Activity Security Squad” wherever the film ends up and, I promise you, this film kicks not only demon ass, but the ass of many independent movies.

CLICK ABOVE IMAGE to Buy P.A.S.S. from Amazon for only $0.99!

How About Some New Zealand Evil! “I Survived A Zombie Holocaust” review

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Aspiring screenplay writer Wesley Pennington obtains the position of a runner for a low-budget zombie film. Being at the bottom rung, Wesley is commanded to do everything without hesitation or question no matter how big or small the task. With the production already plagued with a slew of problems, the film’s cast and crew come under attack from real life zombies that swarm the forest location. Wesley, along with a handful of lucky survivors, rely on their zombie film knowledge to flee from the flesh feasting fiends, living in their very own zombie apocalypse movie.
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Rare is it to come across New Zealand horror now-a-days and when the opportunity presents itself, one must jump at a viewing with great enthusiasm. New Zealand horror has been known to be eccentric and fun, while also being gory and smartly scripted. From the early prevalent work of Peter Jackson (“Brain Dead,” “Bad Taste”) to lesser known cult favorites (“The Locals,” “Black Sheep”), the tiny New Zealand horror catalogue has made an everlasting mark in a heavily saturated American and European market. Guy Pigden’s written and directed 2014 horror-comedy “I Survived a Zombie Holocaust” takes it’s place rightfully so next to niche brethren, elucidating that horror and comedy in an extremely over saturated genre can and will still be an effective and entertaining movie.
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Simply taking the premise of a horror movie being overwritten by another horror movie and using it’s tropes to poke at itself, while also jabbing at the film industry’s detached reality that ultimately devours itself, conquers being just another run-of-the-mill zombie comedy. Pidgen sharply appoints an ensemble cast to go along with the wanton story, working side by side again with Harley Neville in the socially awkward Wesley Pennington role. The rest of the main characters are purposefully stereotypical, fine tuned by Jocelyn Christian, Ben Baker, Reanin Johannink, Mike Edward, Andrew Laing, and Simon Ward. The character comedy mimics Peter Jackson’s “Brain Dead” with developing persona’s through various types of characters such as Wesley’s nerdy-awkwardness, Reanin as the prissy spoiled actress in Jessica, Mike Edward as an egotistical and closeted gay body builder actor in Adam, and the overbearing, frustrated, and desperate SMP played insanely intense by Andrew Laing.
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The gore is very similar to Jackson’s early nineties splatterfest film. Lead special effects supervisor Timothy Munro had worked under the modern era thumb of Peter Jackson, including box office blockbusters films like 2005’s “King Kong” and 2012’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Did this influence the effects team to explore the gore written in the screenplay pages in “I Survived a Zombie Holocaust?” I would say so. We’re talking about splitting heads in half, viscera spilling out from the waist side, limb detachments, and more sanguinary bits and pieces. The gore is sound and not as exploitive, as maybe “Brain Dead” comes across, smoothing out and around a well-balanced zombie comedy.
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“I Survived a Zombie Holocaust” has faint issues of pacing that slow down between scenes, toning down a smidgen of my praise for Pidgen’s film. But the 38 Production’s freshman film goes above and beyond of being just another likable zombie comedy. The jest upon the horror community is well played and well received while also being a gory homage to an established horror community in New Zealand. “I Survived A Zombie Holocaust” has been released in the UK courtesy of distributor Matchbox films. However, I can’t comment technically on the audio and video quality due to the screener being a streaming link and nor can I comment on the extras as there are none. What I can comment on is that “I Survived a Zombie Holocaust” makes a killer first impression in the new era of Kiwi horror and will be at the top of the list for one of my favorite at home feature releases of the year!

Evil Exes Never Die! “Burying the Ex” review!

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Max believes he’s found the perfect move-in girlfriend with Evelyn: she’s nice, she’s hot, she loves sex. However, when Evelyn’s over-protective, save the planet, go vegan or go home boorish attitude becomes too much for Max to bare, he attempts to break up their dwindling relationship, but ends up accidentally killing her long after making a solid promise, in front of a mysterious satanic genie figurine, to always be with her. Max’s regrets surge him into a depressive state until he meets the beautiful Olivia, the perfect opposite sex carbon-copy of himself. Everything seems to be coming together for Max until Evelyn digs up and out from her grave and returns to him as a decomposing and clingy zombie girlfriend, picking up right where their relationship left off.
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The 2014 romantic horror-comedy “Burying the Ex” is the first feature film from “Gremlins” director Joe Dante since 2009; a six-year stint that resulted in the outcome of this odd, but familiar blended genre film. Dante hasn’t kept his directorial hands too much in the horror genre pot in over two decades with the small exceptions of a “Masters of Horror” short film and 2009’s “The Hole,” the director hasn’t lost his signature touch of dishing out deadpan humor and fusing a knowledgeable palate of horror to go with it making “Burying the Ex” one of the most morbidly fascinating horror releases in the modern zombie age. Another trademark of Dante is casting a familiar face and sure enough, Dick Miller makes a cameo appearance. I swear I thought he was dead.
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“Burying the Ex’s” cast is compiled of seriously underrated, but without a double awe-inspiring generating actors and actresses with the reboot of “Star Trek’s” Anton Yelchin headlining the way as the film’s main character Max. Max’s passiveness quality fits perfectly with Yelchin’s dry delivery and awkward mannerism style and Max’s passion for horror feels natural coming from Yelchin with the actor’s similar background work from “Odd Thomas” and the remake of “Fright Night.” However, aside from playing Chekov from “Star Trek,” this character is more of the same from the 26-year-old actor. Yelchin’s antagonist portraying co-star Ashley Greene, from the vampire romance series “Twilight,” marks well being the strong, opposing character against Max, portraying the snobby and overbearing girlfriend Evelyn. Though Greene is usually quite beautiful and stunning in other roles, the Evelyn character is a breath of fresh (or rotten in this case) air with a bit a sassy appeal. Greene casts an already slightly models-like thin appearance with features that strike well with the characters overall gaunt look, creating a well on it’s way decomposing zombie.
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The supporting actor and actress completely round out Dante’s playfully twisted take on a stalking ex-lover. Oliver Cooper has Max’s back as his sex-crazed, exploitive half brother Travis. Cooper’s fast talking, negotiating-type personality reminisces his “Project X” work and though Cooper’s range as an actor feels limited, Travis works here as being the yang to Max’s yin. Finally, the absolutely gorgeous Alexandra Daddario’s relieves the, if any, thrilling tension and Max’s shortcomings with a quirky, adorable, and cute as hell horror-inspired malt shop owner. Though Daddario’s role might not spark a social media firestorm like her “True Detective” bare it all role, Daddario’s Olivia attempts and achieves an one-eighty, pulling off a split personality from the standard hot girl part in these types of romantic horror-comedies and showing that even the most nerdy of girls can be the girl of your dreams. Daddario is also almost unrecognizable in this role when compared to her previous works.
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The script penned by newcomer Alan Trezza needs some fine tuning. This fantastic hard sell doesn’t fall to fault from with the cast as the story moves along at a roadrunner pace and fails, purposely I’m speculating, to explain the background on the satan genie statue that’s extends the root cause of Max’s problem. Not even a smidgen of background to alleviate any the tiniest inquiries of satan genie is revealed and just leaves the audience wondering just who sent the evil wish granting product. However, the subtle tongue and cheek manner of Trezza’s first feature revels in quirky contentment, leaving the horror and the comedy as equals. “Burying the Ex” shares a similar story we’ve all seen before – “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Life After Beth,” “Warm Bodies” – but each of those tales told have a distinctive quality and a cast of a different caliber.
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Since this a screener copy from UK distribution company High Fliers Films, I’m unable to review the picture and audio quality nor comment on the extras, but as far as a distributed film pickup for the company to release, “Burying the Ex” will live, and return, beyond the grave again and again and again. Dante’s romantic horror-comedy feasts on horror homage and dry wit while delivering surprisingly only little gore. “Burying the Ex” is available on UK DVD from High Fliers Films and can be purchased from most UK online retailers.

Living Alongside Evil. “A Plague So Pleasant” review!

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In the zombie post-apocalypse, the human discovered that by not firing their weapons allowed the flesh eating hordes to calm their desires, resulting in the protection of the zombie species and institutionalizing laws against the killing zombies for fear of another undead swarm attack. One of the many survivors Clay has lived in a zombie cooperation world for over a year after the initial outbreak along with his sister Mia, whose boyfriend Gerry didn’t survive, but still roams the Earth as the walking dead. With no one truly dying, the whole idea of existence becomes meaningless and where people, like Mia, won’t move on when they’re loved ones still feel very much alive. When Clay discovers his sister’s attachment to undead Gerry, he takes it upon himself to kill Mia’s zombie boyfriend, releasing a zombie swarm post-apocalypse apocalypse on the his town.
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Unprecedented and gushing with rage, “A Plague so Pleasant” redefines the way audiences would view the zombie since 1968, constructing still a vicious species of man-eating undead while domesticating them to a lumbering land fixture much like the way pigeons amongst the birds. First time directors Benjamin Roberds and Jordan Reyes triumph amongst the modern zombie competition, spilling their heart and soul onto the script and onto the screen. With a story to match, a Romero-inspired social commentary zombie film held true to form by instilling normality to a post-apocalyptic world. Zombie and man living together. What was that Bill Murray line in “Ghostbusters?” “Cats and dogs living together… mass hysteria.” Clay and Mia were living a mundane life while the dead remained alive and protected, socially poking fun at how society maintain a normal livelihood with zombies: the U.S. Government made killing zombies a national felony, companies were mandated to go through a yearly undead awareness program as a formality, and there’s a guarded visitation area full of the undead much like a graveyard without graves.
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Stunning cinematography added much needed life to “A Plague so Pleasant” which settles into an already over saturated zombie genre. Starting in black and white, Clay introduces his life in a offscreen monologue, conveying much of the post-apocalyptic and zombie information. The black and white symbolizes how simple and plain life has become with the living with zombies regulations. When Clay breaks the law by offing Gerry for good, thats when the movie turns to color and creating complications in a black and white life. The once unvarying and shuffling zombie nuisance goes into full berserk mode with “28 Days Later” sprinters thirsty to tear into anything with a heart beat. Only when the zombies turn calm is when life goes back to being black and white, considering the option that normality needs to be simplified to live peacefully.
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The special effects by first timer Tyler Carver are a great effort clashing together a classic European Giannetto De Rossi style with Carver’s own settle flair by not being overly gruesome. There’s not an over-the-top, chart-topping special effects moment that defines the “A Plague so Pleasant,’ but there the solid effects subtly throughout satisfies. The zombies overall look are the usual stock type, yet they’re exhilarating to watch with an army of intense actors who are no doubt from the Athens, GA Halloween attraction named Zombie Farm where Tyler Carver has a connection. Not everything about the creation of a frightening zombie was accomplished as much of the audio tracks were out of sync and just too gaudy.
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Actor David Chandler as Clay does a fine job portraying a bored survivor and a clueless big brother while also performing the second zombie swarm nearly without speaking during the entire engagement. Mia, played by Eva Boehnke, resembles the gorgeous Lebanese-American porn star actress Mia Khalfia with her giant nerdy glasses. Boehnke creates a free spirited, yet delusional, persona in Mia whose holding onto the past and coping the only way she knows how and that’s by not separating from her undead boyfriend Gerry. We round out the cast with Todd played by Maxwell Moody. Todd becomes the catalyst of the coming events by placing the idea of him and Mia being a couple and putting a bullet into Gerry’s rotting brain. Chandler, Boehnke, and Moody on paper are amateur actors in an estimated $1,500 budget, independent movie, but they own their performances and shine through budgetary constraints.
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Another awesome release from Wild Eye releasing that would make a worthy and unique edition to a zombie fanatic’s movie collection. Don’t judge to harsh the production value with the slight aliasing, the out of sync zombie audio tracks, and the muffled off screen Clay character monologue. Instead, focus on the cinematography, the actors performances, and the genuine story telling of a socially awkward scenario. Let “A Plague so Pleasant” infect, let it sink it’s teeth deep, and let it help turn your undying attention unto a lively concept.