A chaotic pre-credits sequence throws us right into the mad aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. People flee frantically en masse into the darkness as zombies of all manner - one even wearing a Santa costume - give chase to them. A public TV announcement then confirms what seems blindingly obvious: a mystery virus has caused people to turn into flesh-eating ghouls, and is now spreading wildly throughout the land.

Cut to the newsroom of cable TV channel KPRS, where quiffed anchorman Marvin (Bill Oberst Jr) informs us that the epidemic continues to be out of control. Indeed, we even witness him dispatching of a zombie on-air with his trusty axe - before he resumes his seat and continues to calmly tell us he's not about to let something as trivial as the bleeding bite-mark on his neck prevent him from doing his job.

Marvin then suggests a look back through history to see where the zombie epidemic may have started. This leads us into the first of several highly polished vignettes.

In the first, Jesus (Marc Velasco) is interrupted from delivering his latest sermon to his disciples, by a frantic local whose son has died earlier that day. True to form, the great man offers to help by bringing the son back to life.

Taking his trusty sidekick Judas (Noe Blancafort) with him, Jesus makes his way to the small village nearby and, sure enough, resurrects the adult son. However, this results in instant pandemonium as the son takes a bite out of his father's neck and immediately zombifies him. Within minutes, there are hordes of the undead running around ravenously.

Luckily, Jesus is a wizard when it comes to hand-to-hand combat.

Stupid? Yes. Funny? Surprisingly, yes, a little. This segment, directed by David Munoz, is also amazingly accomplished - it looks extremely well-endowed in terms of production values. Also, you have to admire the ambition of its extended battle sequence: the ensuing bloodbath, a mix of crude practical FX a la BRAINDEAD and THE EVIL DEAD, luminous CGI gore and tongue-in-cheek choreography, is gore on a grand scale.

The film continues with Marvin in his newsroom, providing increasingly fraught links between each subsequent vignette - each one directed by a different filmmaker.

The next one comes in the guise of a "Public Safety Announcement" entitled How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse. Its style is retro-Grindhouse, akin to DEATH PROOF but with nods to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD along the way.

After that, we're flung to the UK for a blatant riff on SHAUN OF THE DEAD in which a Simon Pegg-alike returns home to find his oversized Nick Frost-alike flatmate turning into a zombie.

A "live feed" from petrol station is the first short to adopt a slightly more serious tone. It relies successfully on realism for effect.

Then we're off to a remote farmhouse where a pretty blonde musters her resolve to fend off the hungry undead.

Another PSA instructs viewers on how to handle fast-moving zombies when you've ran out of ammo ... a first-person POV helps a following segment in terms of urgency as a small group of survivors race for safety ... Paul Shrimpton's "Teleportal" sees a youth sucked in through his TV screen and into the throes of a fast-paced zombie shoot-'em-up game...

All the while, Marvin's condition is steadily worsening during the links in-between. "The show must go on", he insists to his offscreen cameraman Bob...

ZOMBIEWORLD looks incredible. Co-produced by Dread Central and Ruthless Pictures, it's certainly an ambitious project - it takes in shorts from around the world (America, Ireland, Australia, Canada ...) and never looks anything less than extremely polished. From the lighting to the editing, through the FX work - albeit a lot of which is CGI-enhanced - to the performances and the cameras actually employed (RED camera or its successor I'd guess), this looks the bee's knees.

And it's often entertaining. Oberst Jr is always value for money, and pitches the deadpan tone of his delivery perfectly here. As with all vignette-themed flicks, the action comes frequently: those looking for gore will not be disappointed.

But, another flaw of anthology-type films is also present. The film is wildly uneven. Its tone is all over the place. It starts, for example, as a straight-up comedy, but then suddenly settles into a run of comparatively serious shorts about two thirds of the way in. Some vignettes are too long, others - the aforementioned "Teleportal" for example - are too short. So the pacing feels a little 'off' on the whole too.

Still, when a film offers this much bloodshed and giggles in the space of 96 minutes, and looks so good while doing it, these niggles can be overlooked.

ZOMBIEWORLD is presented uncut here. The film is presented in 16x9 widescreen and looks amazing: clean, crisp, vibrant and convincingly cinematic.

English audio comes in options of 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. Both proffer quality playback.

RLJ Entertainment/Image Entertainment's region 2 DVD comes in a striking yellow keepcase, which is in keeping with the eye-grabbing cover artwork.

This boldness carries through to the static main menu page. From there, a static scene selection menu allows access to the film via 14 chapters.

Bonus features are restricted to a 2-minute deleted scene entitled "Marathon Apocalypse", which contains more atmospheric production values and computer graphics in what is essentially a very slick mock Canadian PSA message regarding a forthcoming marathon event aimed at helping survivors outrun their zombie assailants.

The disc is defaulted to open with trailers for FRANKENSTEIN VERSUS THE MUMMY (actually looks great), CAMP DREAD (made to look better here than it really is) and THE HAUNTING OF RADCLIFFE HOUSE (a decent little film given a decent little trailer).

ZOMBIEWORLD is an uneven proposition, but one which nevertheless entertains by virtue of its high production values, frequent gore, inventive storylines and welcome bouts of dark humour.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Image Entertainment
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review