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.
Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 1.58.53 PM
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.”
Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 1.48.41 PM
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.
Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 2.00.51 PM
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.
Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 2.22.11 PM
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.
Screen shot 2016-06-10 at 2.29.35 PM
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!

If You Don’t Know Who You Are? Then Evil Does. “The Ninth Configuration” review!

vlcsnap-2016-04-22-21h23m40s24
An insane asylum located in the North West region of the United States attempts an experimental test to root out Vietnam soldiers faking signs of psychosis. A new commanding officer, a military psychiatrist named Colonel Kane, will take the lead of the experiment. But Kane’s methods are unorthodox and Kane himself seems distant from what’s expected from him, leaving the military patients, and even some of the personnel, wondering about his state of mind. Kane lets the committed soldiers live out their most outrageous fantasies and the further his practice plays out, the more that there might actually be something terribly wrong with the new commanding colonel.
vlcsnap-2016-04-22-22h07m56s217
“The Ninth Configuration” is the big screen adapted version of William Peter Blatty’s novel entitled “Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane.” Blatty, who wrote the screenplay and directed the film, dives back into motion pictures once again after the success of another previous adapted novel; a little piece of work you may be familiar with called “The Exorcist.” In the span of seven years, Blatty was able to cast again the versatile Jason Miller, who had portrayed a much more serious Father Karras in “The Exorcist,” as one of the leading asylum inmates in “The Night Configuration.” From then on, the hired case was forming into a formidable force of method actors including Stacy Keach (“Slave of the Cannibal God”), Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Ed Flanders (“The Exorcist III”), Robert Loggia (“Scarface”), Neville Brand (“Eaten Alive”), George DiCenzo (“The Exorcist III”), Moses Gunn (“Rollerball”), Joe Spinell (“Maniac”), Tom Atkins (“The Fog”), Richard Lynch (“Invasion U.S.A.”), and Steve Sander (“Stryker”). This cast is a wet dream of talent.
vlcsnap-2016-04-22-21h32m58s236
What’s unique about Blatty’s direction of this film is the non-displaying of action and dialogue off screen. Whether it’s character narration, dialogue track overlay, or slightly off camera view, the spectator, for more about half the film or perhaps even more, isn’t being directed to focus on the current action or dialogue and this creates the illusion of hearing bodiless voices or activities, as if you’re part of the ranks in the mentally insane roster. Only until the truth or catalyst is reveal is when more traditional means of camera focus is applied.
vlcsnap-2016-04-22-22h37m48s224
To make this technique work and to make it not become tiresome to the viewer, Blatty had to write some amazing dialogue and with him being a novelist and all, the dialogue was absolutely, 100 percent brilliant. Lets not also neglect to mention that with unrivaled dialogue, out of this world thespians must be accompanied to breathe life into the black printed words that are simply laying upon white pages. Scott Wilson’s and Jason Miller’s craziness is unparalleled while, on the other side of the spectrum, Stacy Keach delivers a melancholic performance that balances out the tone of the film from what could have been considered an anti-Vietnam war comedy at first glance that spun quickly with an unforeseen morph into a suspenseful thriller about the consequences of war PTSD and the affect it has on those surrounding.
output_EezABQ
Gerry Fisher’s cinematography encompasses the Gothicism of the remote Germanic castle to where every ghastly statue and crypt-like stone comes alive like in a horror movie. The setting couldn’t be any of an antonym for a loony-bin set. Even though the film is suppose to be set in North West America, the location used was actually in Wierschem, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany at the medieval Castle Eltz and the story subtly explains how the castle came to be in “America.” To the opposition of such a barbarically beautiful castle, the score by Barry De Vorzon (The Warriors) in the first act into the second is playful, lighthearted, and childish in an appropriate story tone, but turns quickly sinister and angry during progression, building upon the revealing climax.
vlcsnap-2016-04-22-22h09m58s160
Classic film and TV distributor Second Sight brings this cult classic onto DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. Since this was a screener copy of the DVD, I’m unable to provide any audio or video technical comments, but the screener did include the generous amount of bonus material including interviews with writer-director William Peter Blatty, and individual interviews with Stacy Keach, Tom Atkins and Stephen Powers, composer Barry De Vorzon, production designer William Malley and art director J. Dennis Washington. There are also deleted scenes and outtakes and a Mark Kermode introduction. A substantial release for Second Sight and a fine film for any collection so make sure you pick up or order this Second Sight release today!

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

output_5ZCxGv

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.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h13m52s0
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.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h17m39s230
“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.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h14m42s251
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.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h15m19s105
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.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h16m23s230
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!

vlcsnap-2015-10-03-20h33m16s247
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.
vlcsnap-2015-10-03-20h33m43s6
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.
output_hgiPVw
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.
vlcsnap-2015-10-03-20h34m26s181
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.
vlcsnap-2015-10-03-20h35m38s135
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.
output_YwwcFE
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.