August 4, 2013

State of Emergency

Turner Clay, 2013

An explosion at a chemical plant causes a toxic chemical to leak. Local residents become infected and turn into flesh hungry monsters. Jim (Jay Hayden) finds a few other uninfected people in a nearby warehouse and teams up with them to pool resources.

The opening of the film shows a bit of promise, but that soon turns sour. The noticeable use of sound early on in the film begins to feel augmented, and soon becomes distracting. The dialogue begins and it soon feels like an 8th grader wrote the script. Completely elementary. Bad CGI with the helicopters flying over at night. And then, the poor editing. Oh no. There is a moment where one of the characters gets attacked and you only see him fall with the attacker missing from the shot. Jim goes to scream and the audio is not even aligned. Devoid of any flare, completely forgettable characters. Amateur hour.

The film lacks any moral dilemmas or any social commentary. No satire. Just a group of people, in a warehouse, lots of noises outside. Even the newscaster on the choppy news broadcast was uninspired. These horribly made zombie films really just reinforce how well made 28 Days Later was. Or even borrow a chapter from The Walking Dead. With that series, you become so invested in the characters that it's like losing a family member when you see one go. George Romero could have done a better job with this film if he were drunk.

This film completely lacks character development. When there are jumps in timeline, you only go back to see Jim in the not so far past where he's just as muted and flat as his present day character is. Jay Hayden looks like Richard Gere mixed with Peter Facinelli (Can't Hardly Wait) without any of the acting chops. Jim meets the girl that doesn't talk, because shes been through some traumatic event. Little does Jim know, that all he has to do is be mildly persistent and she'll open right up. She opens up and you hope for some much needed acting. It doesn't come, and you wish she would have stayed muted. It's hard to get behind characters that you really are not invested in. Not only that, but the survivors locked up in the warehouse appear to outnumber whatever is outside! Can you really call it a zombie infestation when 50 minutes into the film you have only seen one of them? Not sure where the $1.5M budget went on this film. The makeup artist and the sound editor should leave this film off of their resume, because they should be entitled to some future work. Turner Clay, however, I don't know. I hope this wasn't the film he set out to make. Maybe this just isn't his genre.

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