Written by: Andrew Goodman
Director: Matthew R. Anderson & Edward Conna
Screenplay: Edward Conna
Producers: Matthew R. Anderson, Edward Conna, Bill Davis, Jon Myers & Edward L. Plumb
Starring: Luke Goss, Cameron Goodman, Luke LaFontaine, Matthew R. Anderson, Spice Williams-Crosby & Edward Conna
Duration: 89 mins
When will he, will he be famous? If this is the mark Luke Goss has reached then it’ll still be a long time coming. Luke plays Jack, the leader of a group of ‘good’ Vampires … sorry, ‘Nightwalkers’ as they term themselves, in Anderson and Conna’s The Dead Undead.
The premise behind the film is that a group of five teenagers go to a remote hotel in the back-end-of-nowhere (although based on the scenery I suspect that it was just outside LA) and are attacked by a number of rather nasty zombie-type creatures. They’re saved by Jack and his team who are determined to use every round of ammunition they have within the first five minutes, but remarkably discover they have enough for the rest of the film. Phew, that was lucky.
Jack tells the surviving teenagers that the creatures are ZVs. What’s that, they ask? Zombie-Vampires, he says. Yeah, really. Jack and his team are trying to wipe out all of the ZVs before they can reach heavily populated areas and cause their condition to spread across the whole country. The film quickly deteriorates into a series of badly orchestrated shoot-‘em up scenes which smacks of the producers having a SFX budget that, by God, they were going to use.
The humans quickly die off until only Summer (Cameron Goodman, no relation) is left and (surprise, surprise) she forges a relationship with Jack. Summer? Some Buffy reference, perhaps? I guess so, and that’s what the tone of the film felt like: it was trying to give nods to so many other genre references that it didn’t really have an identity of its own.
There are many issues with The Dead Undead; the casual acceptance of the teenagers to their predicament not least amongst them. The characters are so two-dimensional that I swear on a couple of occasions when they turned to the side you couldn’t see them. The use of laboured flash-backs to show the audience how the Nightwalkers came to be what they are was sooooooo badly done, the person I had watching the film with me asked if it was supposed to be a comedy. The ‘Viking’ flash-back reminded me of a poor pastiche of the live role-playing scenes in Role Models, it was so poorly done. Oh, and by the way, the two ‘Vikings’ were named Ares and Gabrielle – I guess they felt that going all-out and calling the woman Xena was a step too far.
And the ending (such as it was) was sign-posted so far off that when it came I was just glad it was all over: Jack believes in a mythical place where the blood of a Nightwalker can be used to bring them back to life – or unlife, I suppose – it wasn’t clear which. And quelle surprise one of Jack’s buddys turns up to save the day (deus ex machina, anyone?) and he tells Jack that he’s found the second parchment which leads to the mythical place. Jack then turns to Summer and asks if she wants to ‘go on a trip?’ ‘Yeah’, she says with a big smile, ‘we could do that.’ Hello! Your friends have all just been horribly killed and mutilated, and you’re treating this as a date? Good God, woman. Anyway, cue The Dead Undead part deux. Although why beats the hell out of me.
The Dead Undead is released on DVD 1st August. And Luke … you owe me nothing.
Review by Andy Goodman