Review contributed by new panel member, Hateful Jock.
Anyone who loves to spend hours looking at the covers of newly released DVD boxes at the video store has noticed a slick little box with the word ZOMBIE on the cover. It depicts the city of New York being overrun by zombies with nice shiny detail and a friendly cream background. The cover fills your mind with great ideas of what the box may hold. Perhaps there is a scene of screaming zombies descending upon a frightened civilization unable to fight off the bloodthirsty demons now threatening their very existence. Or maybe there is an epic battle where the humans use mortar shells and flamethrowers to no avail and are eventually overcome and torn apart by the sheer mass of the living dead.
Unfortunately, my imagination is more active than the premise of this movie. The only thing remotely resembling what the box portrays is that some Italians on a boat land at New York harbor and find a zombie. This scene, like the DVD box, implies that the above-described carnage has already happened, yet doesn’t show any of it. Most of the movie takes place on a single boat and on a small island overrun by zombies.
From that get-go, we are force-fed the standard Zombie-survivor scenario with unbelievable characters that we hate, dialogue that must have been lost in the translation, and an overzealous zoom lens that shoves our faces into every bit of blood and gore that pours from any given person or zombie orifice. The director, Lucio Fulchi, rolls the dice by relying heavily on guns – a gamble which fails miserably, making this an even worse movie than those of its kind that would use knives or chain weapons.
Overall, the movie certainly doesn’t live up to its cover, but there is one scene worth describing in detail in which a zombie fights a shark. In this scene, a woman strips down to a g-string and scuba gear and dives into the water from the aforementioned boat. She makes the plunge for the very same reason that she stripped down to a g-string - that is to say, no reason at all. While underwater she sees a shark and swims away from it. When an aquatic zombie accosts her she also easily escapes. The zombie then attacks the very real shark and takes bites out of it before the shark tears off his arm. Despite the goofiness of the scene you still get to see a man wrestle a live shark, and take a bite out of him! They certainly didn’t cover shark wrasslin’ in JAWS or even SHARK ATTACK with Burt Reynolds. I therefore declare ZOMBIE to be the greatest b-horror shark movie of all time, which is a good second place for something trying to be a zombie movie.
Also because of the strangeness of titling with respect to these types of movies, you may see this film under the nomenclature of ZOMBI 2, ZOMBIE FLESHEATERS and THE DEAD ARE AMONG US. Enjoy!
RATING: ** (out of four)
Buy ZOMBIE ON DVD