Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

55

Zack Snyder's shallowest of focus provides a strange stagnation to the ensemble cast moving through desolate Vegas spaces. As does the handheld camerawork, creating an environment that is ill-defined, constructed out of sudden bursts of violence and frantic struggles of survival. As a zombie film, this is immediate and constantly on edge as an aesthetic exercise, but unique in that the stakes feel real, not futile. The concept is great: stealing capital from a city that has no use for it anymore. Much of this corresponds to the political text too. Loaded images of temperature guns, refugee camps, covert government operations - how America functions under a crisis that happened to be contained. Zack Snyder once again encapsulates this in a brilliant opening credits sequence, although it almost renders the film as a whole unnecessary.

As for negatives, the father/daughter drama, the interplay with the heist crew members, the quip-y attempts at humor - it all adds up to a fumble narratively. Not quite so bad as to ruin the experience, but it's rather uninteresting in sections. Not to mention the baggage of its run-time. The Justice League Snyder Cut felt shorter than this somehow. But Snyder has a way with images that make up for some of its sloppiness, and he knows how to bring fresh blood to a zombie picture. Gnarly gore gags!

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