Action-packed zombie thriller The ReZort hits digital on January 17th
As a lover of strange cinema, there would be something wrong with you if you refuse a film that sells itself as an amalgam of Jurassic Park and Dawn of the Dead, even if you are worn down by the glut of zombie movies that pummel their way across the pop-cult landscape. And that’s exactly what British indie The Rezort (previously known as Zafari and Generation Z) is, a film about a world in which people pay big bucks to go to an island and hunt and shoot the living dead. But unlike many of its The Walking Dead-influenced ilk, The ReZort is beautifully produced, exceptionally acted (with a solid heroic turn from Dougray Scott), classy… and yes, scary.
Director Steve Barker’s (Outpost) intense and — as most contemporary zombie films are — allegorical horror/thriller takes place in a world still stinging from the spread of a deadly virus, which of course caused human beings to die and then return as mindless cannibal drones. The zombie outbreak wiped out a great chunk of the world, but after, the military successfully stopped its progress via a bombing mission dubbed the Brimstone Protocol. Seven years later, the world is once more secure, with the odd zombie rearing its head being easily dispatched.
But on a remote island in the Pacific, a visionary businesswoman has created The ReZort, a massive fantasy camp for wealthy people to take out their anxieties of the apocalypse they have survived by mowing down as many ghouls as their hearts desire. The park is a safe, secure environment but, as this is a horror movie, things go awry and suddenly, the starving, screaming (one ghoul shrieks like Meg Tilly in Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers) and pretty angry farm-zoms are ripping apart everyone they can lock their jaws on. It’s up to a few jeep-load of pundits to escape the island before the army implements The Brimstone Protocol once more.
The ReZort‘s premise is wonderfully hokey and hoary, but again, Barker is such a good director and the package he’s put together here is so professionally made and the characters so engaging, that it’s almost always credible on its own terms. George A. Romero’s movies work so well because he took the time to empathize with the zombies, to give them their key moments where we look for — and often find — enough traces of their lost humanity for us to care about their fates. Barker ensures that this happens enough that there is much more emotional and allegorical gravitas to all the shooting and blood spraying (and there is plenty of both in the last half of the picture). There’s also a magnificently retro synth soundtrack by Zacarias M. del la Riva (The Machinist), one that doesn’t try to ape John Carpenter (like most contemporary indie horror movie scores do) but rather sounds like early ’90s techno/industrial stuff: messy, chunky and often rather groovy.
The ReZort releases on all major digital platforms in North America on January 17, courtesy of Content Media. It’s a ride worth taking.