Riverwood, Ohio, 1714. A flame-haired wench is seconds away from being sacrificed on the river's edge by Satanists, in a bid to raise legendary creature the Leviathan with the help of a mystical amulet in their possession. Captain Z (Zoltan Zilai) comes to the rescue at the crucial moment, foiling their plans and tossing the amulet into the river. This results in a portal opening, sucking the Satanists into a vortex. Unfortunately, Z is also caught up in it and disappears too.
Three hundred years later, and Riverwood is preparing to host its annual Captain Z Day - a celebration of the date when the heroic pirate saved the town from doom. Sterling (Scott Lewis) is the stuffy owner of the local museum, and he's allowed feisty employee Heather (Madison Siple) to oversee proceedings for the day.
Helping Heather out are surly Samantha (Cerra Atkins), Sterling's politically correct bore of a son Neil (Josh Devett), and sexist jock JT (Joshua Antoon). The latter announces that he'll be hosting a party that evening at his uncle's cabin - all are invited.
Before that though, they have to get through their open day to the public. While hosting a tour of the museum, Heather's facts are challenged by "Doctor, professor, scientist" Glen (Steve Rudzinski) - a famous writer on the occult who has a particular fascination with the legend of Captain Z. He's in town to try and track down the legendary amulet and needs a guide to help. Sterling and Heather both offer their services.
Meanwhile, a local fisherman finds the amulet in the river. He takes it back for his Hillbilly daughter Betty Lou (Julie Alexander) to inspect; she reads the inscription on its reverse and inadvertently reopens the aforementioned portal ... allowing Z and the evil Satanists back into the modern world. As Z swipes the amulet and makes off into Riverwood, the Satanists inhabit the fishing family's bodies and take pursuit.
Following a meeting with Z and an altercation with the possessed Betty Lou, Heather and Glen realise they have a genuine 300-year-old pirate in their company - along with a hugely important amulet which they must protect if they wish to save humanity from Hell on Earth. So they flee to JT's party, where at least they can unwind for a while after their hard day.
Of course, it's not long before the demonic rednecks catch up with them and mayhem ensues...
Jeepers, this is poor. Shot in HD on a reported budget of $15,000.00, the fast paced and flamboyant performance reek of pantomime. Which isn't a bad thing in itself, but there are a lot of unfunny gags in the script and too many inept performances - it all gets very tiresome in no time at all.
Moments of minor gore don't harm, but the film is generally too silly for its own good. With no seriousness whatsoever, the jokes soon become nullifying in their insistence.
On a technical level, there isn't much to recommend. Sure, the HD photography allows for bright visuals and warm colours, but the editing is really poor - exterior scenes are regularly blighted by a total lack of continuity with regards to sunlight and clouds on characters' faces. The music is so loud in the mix that it often drowns out dialogue.
JT's party is accidentally amusing, as it's the lamest shindig ever. Also, Antoon is woefully miscast - each time he drools at a woman's boobs it's excruciating, as he's so blatantly camp.
The film is directed by Rudzinski and I guessed this before having it confirmed. He gets the best lines and gives the most assured performance. Zilai is game for hamming it up as Z. Another plus point is that the pace never flags. And you get the impression that this is very much meant to be fun.
But, allow me to reiterate: jeepers, this is poor.
Still, CAPTAIN Z looks great on SGL Entertainment's all-region DVD. Matted at 2.35:1, the transfer is 16x9 enhanced and is pin-sharp. Clean visuals, deep blacks and impressively vivid colours make for a most impressive proposition.
English 2.0 audio is clean enough; any issues (see above) are inherent of the manner in which the sound has been recorded.
The disc opens to a static main menu page. There is no scene selection option.
Extras include two audio commentary tracks. The first one contains Rudzinski, Zilai and Lewis. It's a fun listen, revealing how each participant took on multiple roles on both sides of the camera to get this made. They're all likeable people and there's a lot of decent information on offer here. The second track sees these same three guys joined by several cast members, including Siple. Perhaps because this track involves more people, the audio isn't as strong here. Even so, we get another good track which is light-hearted but informative. Naturally, Rudzinski leads the way.
A 69-second trailer manages to get the premise across and convey the barmy comedy being proffered; an 11-minute blooper reel consists largely of actors laughing at themselves.
CAPTAIN Z AND THE TERROR OF LEVIATHAN is poor. But it's also oddly agreeable, perhaps due to its affable energy which translates on screen as naive charm. I doubt I'd revisit it but it was an inoffensive way of spending 79 minutes. It looks great on this DVD.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by SGL Entertainment|
|see main review|