Rise of the Zombies (Nick Lyon, 2012)
By the time the title card with “The Asylum Presents” came up five minutes into this movie, I already knew that its place at the very bottom of my 321-item Netflix Instant queue was well-deserved. I didn’t realize it was going to get as much worse as it did, though, and by the time I was through I was sitting there slack-jawed trying to figure out (a) how casting director Gerald Webb (who would soon after cast the immortal Sharknado) managed to convince so many former A-list actors to appear in this piece of shit and (b) how I managed to avoid stopping it halfway through. Rise of the Zombies runs eighty-nine minutes. It feels more like eighty-nine days.
If you can get through the movie’s first scene, with a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse fleeing through San Francisco to try and make it to Alcatraz—one of the flat-out most ridiculous single scenes I have ever seen in a movie—you’ll get to Alcatraz itself, where another small group is holed up trying to find a cure for the plague, led by Dr. Halpern (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s LeVar Burton). After everyone in the compound makes a number of, shall we say, questionable choices (this is one of those movies where the plot is driven entirely by people doing stupid things), they…well, continue making stupid decisions. (Spoiler alert!)
I have seen hundreds of zombie movies over the years, and a lot of them have been some of the worst pieces of garbage to which I have exposed myself over the years. Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence. Zombie Apocalypse and its even worse sequel Redemption. Survival of the Dead, the Romero movie not even diehard fans will defend. Infested. Legion of the Dead. I haven’t quite decided yet—it would be pretty tough to be worse than Zombies Ate My Neighbours: The Movie—but Rise of the Zombies may in fact be the worst of them I have ever seen. Not just because it’s so irredeemably stupid, the effects are terrible, and (of course, it’s an Asylum picture) everything about the movie that might once have been decent was ripped off shamelessly from another, much superior, movie. No, what really gets my goat about this one is that once again The Asylum managed to rope in people like Mariel Hemingway, LeVar Burton, and Danny Trejo in yet another cameo. There was enough talent here to create something halfway decent, which cannot be said of Zombie ’90 or Zombies Ate My Neighbours. And everyone involved blew it. This is moviemaking at its complete and utter laziest from everyone involved. (zero)