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The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies
cast: Garret Jones, Juliet Reeves, William Howard Bowman, Rowan Bousaid, and Ashley Elizabeth Pierce
writer and director: Steven C. Miller
72 minutes (18) 2006
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail
review by Jim Steel
This 'let's-do-the-movie-right-here' low-budget horror from Florida has something of the feel of watching a mid-table football match between two
teams that you don't support. It passes the time, and it does have its moments, but you can't get rid of a niggling feeling that you should be
doing something more worthwhile. And, at the end, you'll be left with the feeling that you spent more time watching this film than the director
did editing it. However, once the zombie apocalypse gets underway, it does entertain. Just don't expect competently delivered (or written) lines.
Logic..? Ha! Who needs logic when you've got zombies?
It does feel as if it is thrown together without much care, though. The poor video stock used to film it doesn't help, but that can be excused
when working with a budget this small. Little things, such as a nonsensical title, are less forgivable. Zombie Transfusion... What transfusion?
At no point in the film does anyone get a transfusion. Ah, but that wasn't the original title. However, the original title of Automaton Transfusion
makes even less sense.
The plot, such as it is, concerns three high-school friends who decide to head out from their small-town home of Downey to see a gig in Grover
City. However, by the time they get there, the city has been over-run by zombies. One of the friends, Chris (Garrett Jones), decides that they
should head back to Downey to warn the others. They should have gone to a party with Chris' girlfriend, Jackie (Juliet Reeves), but by the time
they get there, it too has been over-run by zombies. The survivors then decide to head for the school, because that is where people would gather
in an emergency. And that is pretty much it.
Our three grungy heroes might have been clued in when there is a zombie attack at the school near the beginning but they just seem to forget about
it, despite the fact that one of them, Scott (William Howard Bowman), had to flatten the zombie with a knuckleduster. Curiously, the emergency team
who had just stretchered an injured teacher (our director and writer, Stephen C. Miller) out of a classroom failed to notice that there was also
a zombie in there, so maybe this is a collective fault on the part of the people of Downey.
Our heroes are familiar with horror films, though - in a rare example of wit, Scott makes reference to the Evil Dead films when he picks up a
chainsaw later in the film. However, if you can forgive the poor stitching and lack of originality, you will find a fairly relentless zombie
film. It does come a cropper when the zombie outbreak is revealed to be an army experiment gone wrong, especially when one of the undercover
army chiefs turns out to have been the janitor, straight from the Scooby Doo cut 'n' paste character folder.
The film doesn't so much finish as stop dead, with a couple of the characters readying themselves for a 'Butch and Sundance' finale. It is
impossible from this angle to decide whether the 'to be continued' notice is a result of Miller writing himself into a corner or if it is
instead a symptom of his rampaging optimism: after all, this film did start life as a trailer. The third possibility, that he just didn't
care, is surely too cynical to be taken seriously. Regardless of the reason, at this stage it feels more like a threat than a promise.
A trailer is included as the sole extra in this DVD package, but it doesn't appear to be the original one that got the ball rolling in the first
place. It does have a stonking soundtrack, though, by Blinded Black amongst others. Now, that I can recommend...