Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

Lily: This city isn’t their prison. It’s their kingdom.

Full, proper review to follow for Movies on Weekends, so I’ll keep this brief! (lol, didn’t happen!)

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is a fun, well conceived, overstuffed, but ultimately solid zombie film. By combining the at this point almost entirely exhausted zombie subgenre with a good old fashioned heist romp, and stacking on top of that a lore and in-universe history that tantalisingly teases prequels, sequels, and spin-offs yet to come, Snyder has breathed new life into the undead. 

For those who can’t abide by Snyder’s penchant for religious imagery and slo-mo, you’ll be pleased to know there is little of either to be found here, but by the same token the film should be commended for capitalising on Snyder’s acute cinematic and literary pool of influences. We get shades of Romero of course, but also Germanic legend and Italian masters such as Lucio Fulci are homaged side by side, as well as more populist fare like Aliens - Samantha Win’s Chambers channels Vasquez from Jim Cameron’s seminal action sequel in a way that feels respectful and reverent moreso than derivative.

The special effects are solid, whilst the practical effects on the zombies’ make-up and the goriness of the kills are even more impressive, with some legitimately fucked up shots promising to satiate bloodlusting gorehounds. Also, the soundtrack is banging, rivalling Snyder’s own playlist for 2004’s DOTD remake - the opening twofer of Suspicious Minds and then Viva Las Vegas sets the tone spectacularly.

The story is pretty take-it-or-leave-it excepting the high concept premise, and the film falters a little when things slow down for some contrived daddy-daughter reconciliation scenes that just don’t quite carry the heft that they aspire to. That being said, Dave Bautista proves he can carry a film as an action hero lead with heart, impressing as heist lead Scott Ward. Tig Notaro is the real MVP though, stealing every scene she has been superimposed into with ease. The rest of the cast are passable but do what they must to take us from A to B to Z in a film that is almost definitely about 45 minutes longer than it has any need to be.

Anyway, I’ve said more than enough for a “brief” review ahead of something a little more extensive. Suffice it to say, you can call it a safe bet that you’ll have a good time with Army of the Dead, and when the chips are down, you’ll be all in for whatever Snyder cooks up next in this promising if imperfectly realised new world of his.

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