... In which a zombie apocalypse forces a group of survivors to take refuge in a building where they hope to remain self-contained while fighting off hordes of the living dead. A plot outline that probably makes you want to scream internally just as much as it did me.

But, there's a twist...

Anyway, it begins (following a rather murky prologue) with a stunning animated titles sequence - courtesy of Glint - which explains in a cleverly exposition-free way how soldiers returned from overseas action in a zombified state: one that resulted in those infected by said ghouls mutating into similar flesh-eating monsters ... a phenomenon that had become a widespread issue within 90 days.

By the time this beautiful sequence has run its course, we learn that we're into day 458 of the infection being declared a crisis. Welcome to zombie apocalypse world. Again!

Then we're transported into the British countryside somewhere, where several survivors traipse through the woods in search of a safe haven. Among them are opinionated Church-goer Esther (Shamiso Mushambi), geeky Beaumont (Danny Brown) and his adult daughter Becca (Rachel Nottingham), his foul-mouthed 'Kat Slater lookalike' chav girlfriend Harden (Jade Colucci), everyman Ghandi (Simon Burbage), and hard-arsed soldier Mac (Jim Sweeney). They also have a "prisoner" in tow, the largely silent Dr Sykes (Eric Colvin). The whole troupe is led rather clumsily by an officious, clueless nerd and army Major called Gibson (Joe Rainbow).

Immediately we are aware of the several things: Harden and Beaumont are highly sexed; Ghandi has designs on Becca; Gibson is a prick, particularly loathed by loose cannon Mac. Meanwhile, we learn that Sykes is one of the scientists responsible for creating the vaccine that inadvertently brought about this zombie plague in the first place.

And so, this motley bunch are en route to a promised retreat for survivors called Imperium. However, when Gibson is attacked in the woods by one of the undead and Sykes consequently has to hack the Major's leg off to prevent him from becoming infected, they decide to find shelter for the night.

Pretty soon, they happen upon an abandoned school. It seems to be the perfect place to find refuge overnight. But anyone who's seen any zombie film ever knows that you should never seek refuge in an abandoned building.

Sure enough, the group swiftly discover they are not alone in there. Even worse, they encounter a horde of flesh-eating ghouls who are being controlled a messiah-like zombie (Rupert Phelps) capable of bringing the undead back to life...

At 79 minutes in length, ZOMBIE RESURRECTION is quite short. It starts out briskly enough, established character traits without delay and throwing in a quick succession of jokes, verbal confrontations and zombie attacks before locating the group in the all-important school setting.

Then the tone changes from broad comedy - complete with exaggerated facial expressions and old-fashion sitcom-type musical cues - to one of claustrophobic horror. Sporadic gore punctuates each set-piece scene, while the pace slows down to allow too much dialogue to take place in-between.

The twist with the undead-resurrecting zombie promises more than it delivers, with its possibilities - along with the sub-plot concerning Sykes' capture and projected fate - being forsaken come an unsatisfying, unimaginative conclusion that fails to satisfactorily explore their potential.

The first fifteen minutes or so had me thinking this would be a good film to take to Dead By Dawn film festival with you, if only so had something viably awful to offer up for their "shit film amnesty". But it does improve once the survivors meet with trouble in the school house. Not much, but enough to rescue it from that particular disgrace.

On the other hand though, I watched ZOMBIE RESURRECTION in the same week that I sat through WHAT'S LEFT OF US - another film where survivors of a zombie apocalypse hole themselves in a building for refuge, and take in a member of the living dead as a hostage (as they also do here). Despite those similarities, the differences between these two films are remarkable. One is astute, carefully considered, superbly performed, beautifully photographed and thought-provoking. The other is ZOMBIE RESURRECTION, an uneven, inconsistently paced and at times painfully stupid film.

In its favour, the performances are broad enough to work during the more comedic moments, and the school house is a suitably atmospheric location come the darker scenes. I suppose you have to give points for lines such as "If you ever touch my bum again I'll punch you in the cock so hard you'll be fucking your arse from the inside" too...

ZOMBIE RESURRECTION comes to UK DVD and blu-ray courtesy of Left Films. We were sent the DVD to review.

It presents the film uncut in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with the benefit of anamorphic enhancement. Images are crisp but do appear to be the victim of edge enhancement a lot of the time. Colours have a washed-out appearance, typical of low-end-of-the-market digital video equipment. This does, funnily enough, bring about a style of its own as the film progresses. But viewers should be forewarned that ZOMBIE RESURRECTION carries a very definite low budget élan - night scenes in particular tend to suffer from a milky effect. Exterior shots are at times blown out by over-exposure to sunlight.

English 2.0 audio is proficient throughout. It won't entice you to remark upon its prowess, but nor are you likely to complain about any obvious shortcomings.

An animated main menu page gives way to an animated scene selection menu allowing access to the film via 9 chapters.

Extras begin with a 32-minute Making Of documentary entitled "Shooting the Dead". Phelps kicks things off by revealing the concept stemmed from a conversation he'd had with his son about things they'd previously never seen in horror films, and how the script was developed via meetings in a pub. Actors and crew members address the screen with high-energy contributions, speaking of character motivation, efforts to sidestep convention and so forth. Interspersing all of this are clips from the film and, most interestingly, some insightful behind-the-scenes footage.

We also get the film's original trailer. This is a slickly edited, fast-moving and righteously gory 98-second race through the film's more horrific moments. With very little dialogue involved, the more comedic elements are avoided.

Pressing on the "More from Left Films" link directs you to trailers for NINJAS VS MONSTERS, BONG OF THE DEAD, BLOOD CAR, DEVIL'S CROSSING, ALIEN UNDEAD and STAG NIGHT OF THE DEAD. The disc is also defaulted to open with the trailers for the first two films on that list.

Also available on blu-ray.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Left Films
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review