I have a policy around these parts. I don’t like writing negative reviews. I don’t really see the point. I’d rather be a beacon of light shining on worthy books and films. I don’t want to be a prick who gets off trashing said movies and books that I don’t like. I don’t need to get my jollies that way. I watched Zombies: The Beginning several weeks ago. I didn’t like it at first but the more I think about it the more the movie has grown on me. I wasn’t going to review it. But here I am doing just that.
Zombies: The Beginning is ironically the last film ever directed by the late Bruno Mattei. If you’ve slummed it through the sewers of eurosleaze and cheese his name has come up even if you didn’t know it. He used several pseudonyms, the most common is Vincent Dawn. He directed the hilariously bad Rambo ripoff Strike Commando, Hell of the Living Dead, the surprisingly good Rats: the Night of Terror and about 50 other films during his career. It would be unfair to judge his last films on a scale that doesn’t fit the rest of his oeuvre. He made cheap exploitation flicks good and bad.
Zombies: The Beginning is about a woman who survives an zombie outbreak on a small island. The zombies were created in a lab and she is sent back to the island as an observer and as a walking bundle of information for the troops sent in to find out what happened. If this sorta sounds like Aliens you would be right. There is no denying that the film “borrows” the plot as well as memorable scenes and even the uber macho characters. The plot here is rather cliche and frankly there isn’t much to write about. A guy who made a career doing ripoffs and retreads can’t be expected to pull out a masterpiece in his last film, nor can I rightly complain about it. I knew what I was getting into. The movie is shot on video but isn’t as bad as you might expect. It’s still video though and pre-dslr/4k camera video still looks like video. It didn’t bother me. Again, I wouldn’t expect anything more (or less).
The film features a bevy of gore effects, in fact much of the running time of the movie is dedicated to fighting and dying with lots of big bloody squibs, exploding heads and all manner of nastiness. It being shot on video gives it an even sleazier feel. It felt like some disturbed kid directed this, and that kid should be on a watch list somewhere. The gore is certainly the centerpiece of the film because it sure as hell isn’t the acting or the script. The ending is super bonkers and goes off in a direction that is both disgusting and surprising. I won’t spoil it here but if you like the red stuff, you get plenty.
Zombies: The Beginning needs to be judged in context of the directors previous efforts. The efforts which for many cinema fans are guilty pleasures at best and laughably bad to downright unwatchable. Zombies: The Beginning fits right in and is certainly watchable especially if you’re a gore hound. If you like the director’s previous efforts, you’ll enjoy this one too though it’s certainly on the nastiest side of things he did during his career.