Director: Kevin King
Screenplay: Kevin King, Kurt Knight
Starring: Martin Copping, Clare Niederpruem, Terry Guthrie, Jake Suazo, Jason K. Wixom, Jade Regier and Danny Trejo
Producer: Kevin King, Chris Le, Jennifer Griffin
Running Time: 89 min
BBFC Rating: 18
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior meets Resident Evil: Extinction meets 300 meets The Terminator meets Lethal Weapon. No really, put the aforementioned classics in a bucket, pluck out a random 89 minutes and that is Zombie Hunter.
An introduction explains that the zombie apocalypse was brought about by misuse of the hallucinogenic drug NATAS (now what does that spell backwards?). We then meet our “title” character Hunter played by Martin Copping (looking like Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reece and sounding like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Callahan). Hunter roams the post-apocalyptic wasteland in his muscle car, angry at the death of his family and seeking revenge where ever he can find it.
It is here that we first get a voiceover from Hunter. This is confusing as he switches from narration to inner monologue. It gets better, as later on the audience can also hear what another character is thinking!
An unfortunate incident teams Hunter with a band of misfit survivors led by Father Jesús (Danny Trejo). The group is made up of clichéd characters; obnoxious Lyle (Suazo), buxom Fast Lane Debbie (Regier), girl next door Alison (Niederpruem), her dim-witted brother Ricky (Wixom) and finally the wizened mechanic/pilot Jerry (Guthrie) who keeps reminding us that he’s “getting too old for this shit”.
The two girls fight over the handsome stranger and soon the victor falls into bed with him (as is the requirement with this sort of thing). This is an interesting sex scene where the director has taken the phrase “knocking boots” a little too literally!
Soon enough, the hideout is overrun with zombies and the groups numbers start to thin. As they make their escape we are treated to our first look at a ten foot tall mutated zombie “boss”. Quite how this evolved we never do find out, but there are more to come. The survivors carry on with their plan to get to an airfield and fly to an uninhabited island.
Zombie Hunter remains formulaic through to the end, without any twists or turns to surprise the audience. It seems that sadly, more attention was paid to post production effects than to the story. Sure, the neon pink cut scenes and 1980’s synth soundtrack adds a sense of style, but it is wasted due to a lack of substance.
There are times you think that maybe what they were going for here is a parody. If so, they missed the mark. Zombie stories have evolved over the decades into credible comedies such as Zombieland, and serious dramas like television’s The Walking Dead. Against that sort of competition, Zombie Hunter just doesn’t make the cut.
Review by Keiran McGreevy