Dead Season (Adam Deyoe, 2012)
Below average, but not entirely unwatchable, zombie thriller that at least attempts to do what every good zombie movie should: focus more on the survivors than the zombies. (Have you noticed how few recent zombie movies actually do that?) It’s an amateur production made mostly by folks who generally do other things in the world (director Adam Deyoe, for example, usually works in the art department; his most recent job as I write this was as the art swing on Fading of the Cries. No wonder he wants to direct. But he also worked as the set dresser on the highly underrated 2006 shlockfest Candy Stripers, so it hasn’t all been downhill), and from that angle, I have to give everyone involved points for enthusiasm, at least.
Plot: Elvis (Transformers‘ Scott Peat) and Tweeter (The Symphony‘s Marissa Merrill) are two of the final survivors of the zombie apocalypse still alive in mainland America. They’ve made it to Miami, where they’re hoping to get out to the islands, where they figure they will have a better chance of survival. They procure a boat and head south, finding what they’re looking for—but it turns out to be a little less idyllic than they were hoping.
The movie’s strongest point is that it’s got some really interesting ideas—not only about how people will survive after everything goes to hell (think of this as a different twist on the “we promised them women” scene from 28 Days Later…), but about how the pragmatism enforced upon survivors in the face of an apocalypse can bring about shifting allegiances and force people to make decisions that they would otherwise not even think about. Unfortunately, Deyoe’s screenplay, so-written with Joshua Klausner and Loren Semmens (both producers trying their first hand at writing), doesn’t spend nearly enough time exploring these aspects of the world they’ve built; they’re too busy adding in the odd action scene here and there to keep the gorehounds from getting too restless. Which I guess is a valid point when you’re trying to make a genre horror film, but then when you start adding in all those interesting questions, one has to wonder: at which point have you stopped making a genre horror film and started aspiring to something greater? That question, alas, I do not think got asked; if it had, we might have a very different, and much better, movie on our hands. But for a no-budget genre zombie thriller, it’s not bad. **