Going into this movie I knew two things beforehand. One, expect top notch zombie makeup effects. And two, there is a scene involving a shark and a zombie fighting to the death, and that premise alone sounded so incredibly ridiculously bad ass that the rest of the movie would surely be as goofy, right?
Thankfully no, the rest of the movie is not nearly as silly as the zombie on shark smack down, though it was still cool to watch. The film opens with an unknown zombie attacking some unsuspecting police officers, and managing to kill one of them, before falling overboard after being shot by another officer. In the first five minutes, we are treated to some absolutely incredible zombie makeup and design.
While Zombie‘s opening moments take place in New York, most of the film takes place on a small island known as Matul. And it is here on Matul that the zombie makeup and effects really shine. Nearly all of the zombie’s designs are eerily similar to the same creatures brought to life by none other than the late, great George Romero. And interesting enough that design choice does serve a purpose.
Zombie was originally supposed to serve as a sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead which explains why the majority of the zombies showcased on screen call back to Romero’s work. It was also interesting that the exact cause of the undead outbreak is never fully explained. It is stated that a voodoo ritual is to blame, but never expanded on after that.
The voodoo serves the job as to explain why there are shambling corpses wandering around, but is still vague enough to leave something up to the imagination of the viewer. Another strong point was the use of gore. At one point a character is killed brutally by one of the undead by having her eye slowly pushed into a large splintered piece of wood from a broken door.
It was one of the most painful things I have had the pleasure of watching in a horror film in recent years, and only helped to showcase the stunning practical effects that were used. While the acting and writing may be a little dated just due to the age of the movie, the final product is endlessly entertaining even if it’s a bit ridiculous at times. But hey I got to watch a zombie fight a shark underwater, and if nothing else, that is the coolest fight scene I have seen in any horror movie.
Be sure to come back next week to check out our thoughts over none other than Ridley Scott’s horror masterpiece, Alien.
Feature Image Credit: Chris Fischer