Things kick off to a gory start here, with a man (played by the film's editor Chris Bellio) running frantically down a darkened alley. From within the shadows, a crusty zombie lunges out and rips the man's throat out in lingering detail.

The credits follow, with a succession of emergency TV bulletins setting the scene - a zombie epidemic has spread and reached crisis point.

The film starts proper when we are introduced to Mark (John Carson), his girlfriend Amber (Andrea Ramolo, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS) and his daughter Emily (Deanna Wales). They're driving along a country road, returning from a break at their secluded holiday cottage.

When their car breaks down, Mark rushes his family to the nearest building for shelter from radiation that is said to be in the air.

The trio hole themselves up in a disused warehouse cellar for two days, before Mark suggests going out to check the air and get some food.

On his travels Mark meets Dave (Danny Ticknovich), who tells him that people have been turning into zombies and attacking the living. Initially sceptical, Mark is convinced when he witnesses Dave's own daughter reanimated as one of the hungry undead.

After slaying his zombified wife and daughter, Dave offers to share his wealthy food supply with Mark in return for safe accommodation.

It's at this point that the two survivors meet up with several more, all brandishing guns as weapons. Among the newcomers are the dependable Keith (Steve Curtis, ZOMBIE NIGHT 2) and the dangerously belligerent Derek (Dwayne Moniz).

The group agree to haul Dave's food and water supply to the cellar and stay there for the night.

The following morning, the group argues for the first of many times about their plan of action. Should they continue to run, looking for rescue stations, or stay put where it's secure?

Derek, in particular, starts to piss the group off with his selfish theft of food and attempts at persuading people to turn against leaders Mark and Dave, and run with him.

The group eventually agree to run to a nearby two-storey building with better facilities for warding off the living dead.

But it's not long before things go wrong and the group find themselves under seige, with principal cast members suffering bites and more mutiny within the sect ...

ZOMBIE NIGHT joins an already over-saturated cycle of zombie films where the villains feed on the living, can only be killed by destroying the brain, were created by biological warfare ... how many times can this story be retold?

And the observations on people being incapable of pulling together even in times of extreme crisis would be astute - if Romero hadn't been exploring such matter since as far back as 1968's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Still, originality is not necessarily a priority when you're contemplating a low-budget zombie gore fest.

In terms of action, gore and atmosphere, ZOMBIE NIGHT delivers with gusto. The budget is obviously tiny, and this is reflected in the acting and script, but the FX never suffer. The zombie make-up recalls De Rossi's work in Fulci's classic movies, and there's an especially impressive scene where a zombie's leg is blown off by a shotgun blast!

So while it's not high art, and not remotely original, ZOMBIE NIGHT at least holds the attention and keeps the blood flowing nicely.

The ending is a let-down though. And the hideous Pearl Jam-esque song over the end credits ... yuk!

Crypt Keeper present ZOMBIE NIGHT uncut, in it's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The picture is 16x9 enhanced.

Images are dull, occasionally dark and at times soft. It's not a bad transfer as such, and considering the mini-DD origins of the film it's good that there's no pixelation.

The mono soundtrack is perfectly audible.

In terms of extras, the best by far is a 24 minute behind the scenes documentary hosted by writer/director (and Ozzy Osbourne lookalike) David J Francis.

Francis talks enthusiastically about the film's guerilla-style shoot, the cast and FX crew, and the mutiple post-production nightmares he experienced.

It's a highly interesting watch, and heightened my appreciation of the main feature.

Elsewhere we have 4 minutes of deleted scenes (storyline, and a bit of unattractive full-frontal nudity), 10 stills from the film, a trailer that clocks in at just under 2 minutes and 11 minutes worth of outtakes/bloopers, which reinforce the documentary's take on the shoot being an enjoyable one.

Unfortunately the planned audio commentary from Francis does not feature.

Wrapping things up, Crypt Keeper give us a showcase reel of trailers for no less than 17 of their titles. Each trailer is about a minute long. Titles include BLOODLETTING, SCRAPBOOK, CADAVER BAY, THE DEAD NEXT DOOR ... it may have just been my review disc, but some of these were lacking audio!

ZOMBIE NIGHT has a sequel currently in post-production. With that in mind, the original isn't a bad little movie (it kind of reminded me of Leif Jonker's DARKNESS, in terms of budget). Zombie fans who prefer gore over production values will no doubt enjoy it.

One thing: Crypt Keeper state that the running time is 133 minutes. That's the OVERALL running time, including the extras. The film is 91 minutes long.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Crypt Keeper
Region All NTSC
Rated 18
Extras : see main review