The number of zombie movies is pretty much well past critical mass at this point, and it’s not like zombies are really that distinctive from one another. Oh sure, you can have fast moving zombies or slow moving zombies, but that’s about the extent of it. There are also a bazillion vampire movies out there, but at least you could argue that different vampires have different personalities. Maybe one vampire prefers hooker blood and another uses massive amounts of gel in his hair. You know, character development and shit.
So, a new zombie film usual requires some sort of interesting innovation to make it worthwhile, and The Dead Undead obliges with…vampire zombies? Why didn’t somebody think of this earlier? I bet you’re wondering…aren’t vampires really just zombies with personality who drink human blood instead of eating flesh? What happens when you combine two different strains of undead monster? Well, none of that matters in this one folks. Basically, these are just the generic fast moving zombies, except they don’t come out during the day and you can spot dimestore fangs right before somebody is about to turn into one. Whoop de do.
But, I’ve gotten ahead of myself folks. A group of good looking Montana teens head out to a motel on a lake to do whatever it is young people do on a lake (chug PBR and do cannonballs, I guess). Ominously, there's no one around, not even in the motel office, but they go ahead and grabs themselves a room anyway because, you know...getting drunk and shit.
Lo and behold, a zombie vampire kid with a mullet pops out of nowhere and bites one of the girls. Suddenly, it’s night, and zombies start coming out of everywhere. The entire area was empty just moments before, and now dozens of zombies are jumping out from behind bushes and out of trees and maybe out of the lake and out from God knows where else (sort of like that scene from House of the Dead but way more boring). Maybe they all live during the day in a secret underground bunker next to the lake? But, who made the bunker? I don’t get it folks.
Luckily, the dude’s SUV is equipped with firearms like that dude’s van in Birdemic. However, a couple of guns isn’t going to stop an entire zombie onslaught. Thankfully, a militia shows up in a van and starts blowing away wave after wave of zombies to the tune of some terrible numetal. On second thought, it might actually be extremely competent numetal, but that only makes it worse. Either way, it seems odd that there is such a huge zombie problem that a heavily armed militia is roving around trying to contain it, yet there wasn’t any news about a zombie threat getting back to the teens before they left town. That shit would be all over Facebook pretty quick.
When the militia aren't blowing zombies away, they are sitting around bonding with each other and the surviving teens. Normally, these types of scenes are supposed to be filled with some sort of tension, with characters clinging to some vestige of humanity while an apocalyptic threat closes in on them. Here, it comes across like they're taking a break from shooting zombies because shooting zombies can get boring after awhile and maybe lead to carpel tunnel syndrome.
If you think these scenes might humanize these characters, you’d be completely wrong (except maybe teen girl Summer, but I was probably too busy checking her out to notice if she was indeed being humanized or not). Not only are the characters pretty much annoying, their very existence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You see, the militia members are vampires themselves! However, they’re not zombies I guess. They're undead all right, but not that undead. However, you would never know that for a second looking at them. They are just militia grunts who work at night. They don’t even have sharp teeth because they file them down. One of the dudes even moonlights as a female columnist (?!?) that Summer actually reads. I’m not even gonna try to break down the logic of that one. It should be noted that this factoid is most definitely not an attempt at absurdist comedy, but is presented as banal “getting-to-know-you” chatter for some ungodly reason. Oh, and I think the zombie vampires are a result of vampires contracting mad cow disease. I don’t know either. I just work here folks.
Apart from Vernon Wells showing up at the end to cash a paycheck, and the ubitiquitous hacky Forest J. Ackerman cameo, there are also two long flashback scenes showcasing the previous lives of several militia members. One couple used to be Norse warriors with American accents, and another dude used to be an old west gunfighter. This all seems like pretty bizarre and unnecessary back story for characters that wear fatigues and shoot guns at moving targets. Maybe more of the emphasis should have been put on the zombies (well, vampire zombies). As far as I can tell, they are just monsters that are forced to pop into frame, wait for the squib in their shirt to go off, and then fall over. If anyone is being dehumanized here, it’s the zombies.
P.S. This was written as part of Project Terrible, hosted by Alec over at Mondo Bizarro. He also picked this movie for me to watch, because the world could always use another rambling analyzation of a crappy zombie movie.