Another lower budget zombie movie that I’ve not heard of popped up on Netflix so of course I had to check it out. Re-Kill ended up being sort of an interesting hybrid of found footage and fake reality show set years after a zombie outbreak. But before I go any further with the review lets start with a recap of the plot.
The movie opens with a little girl wandering around her house. From the state of things we can tell immediately that something is horribly wrong. She can’t find anyone so of course she wanders over to the TV and turns it to the Outbreak network. This not only acts as the bookends to the movie (we will see her again at the end) but also sets up the way the story is going to be presented. From here on the action plays out as a reality show that follows the R-Division as it tries to re-kill the reanimates.
After a short sequence where an R-Division squad gets wiped out to almost the last man in New Orleans the action moves to the main story. Here we follow another squad and their embedded cameramenas they fall into a mystery and try to unravel it. After stopping a semi truck filled with reanimates and interrogating the driver they learn of the Judas project. This leads them to entering the “zone”, which is part of New York City that was walled off and never cleared. Lots of bad stuff happens, a zombie army is discovered, and we see in the wrap around with the little girl that what we were watching happened a while ago and things haven’t gone so well since.
For me Re-Kill was a mixed bag. There were somethings that I really liked about it. The production values were a surprise. I expected a much lower budget effort but they clearly had some money to spend. There are explosions, practical effects work, actually realistic guns and bullet hits. These look great on screen and make the action sequences fun to watch for the most part, but more on that later. I thought that the zombies looked good and you get an occasional one that sticks out as being different. Nothing worse than watching a zombie movie and have all the zombies look alike. They were people and we all look different so you know…
I thought the “gimmick” of it being presented as a television show, complete with commercials would be annoying but it wasn’t. It does a good job of breaking the tension and adding some humor here and there. Whether it was advertising medication that claims to help you if you are bitten to the repopulation commercials encouraging people to get it “on” they were sort of fun. The wrap around with the little girl also was very clever and gives the movie a sense of scope as it lets you know what you just watched happened in the past in a very clever way.
There were a couple of things that did annoy me. One is a classic argument and one is a personal pet peeve of mine. First the classic argumentof fast zombie vs.shambler. I’m a Romero guy so I want them slow, dumb, and relentless. The zombies in Re-Kill are the running type and that annoyed the heck out of me. You know this also reminds me of another thing. When did it become uncool to call a zombie a zombie? Sure Romero never called them zombies, but I’ll give him a pass. In 2015 if you are making a zombie movie call them zombies! And yes I’m annoyed that the Walking Dead doesn’t call them zombies. Get over yourselves! Seriously though the above is just personal preference and I wouldn’t not recommend a movie because of these.
What might be a deal breaker is the camerawork. Combine fake reality show and fast moving zombies and you end up with nausea inducing shaky cam. They do a wonderful job with the firefights with the soldiers vs zombies, but half of the time you can’t tell. The action gets very confusing because of this. This sucks because I was interested in the characters and story. After a while I couldn’t tell who was dead and who wasn’t. Sure I guess this might be more “accurate” in a combat zone but I’m trying to watch a movie! Plus it’s a zombie movie so I’m not looking for realism here.
I wouldn’t consider this to be a classic or even a movie that I’d have the desire to watch again. There are a lot of zombie movies being made and most of them show up on Netflix eventually so you can be picky and still get your zombie fix. To me this is one that is worth spending your time on.