February 23, 2006

DVD Review: The Resurrection Game

With all of the zombie movies that have been made over the years, do we really need another one? My reaction has been, and always will be, "of course we do!" Who doesn't want another zombie movie on the shelves? There are a lot of lousy ones out there, and to be sure, many lousy ones yet to be made. The zombie genre is a bit overcrowded, and there are very few good zombie movies. The fun of watching these movies, and horror movies in general, is wading through the junk, and discovering those hidden gems that strike a chord and work as good movies. All that said, is The Resurrection Game worthy of joining the small ranks of great zombie movies? The short answer is no, but that doesn't tell the full story.

The Resurrection Game is a low budget film that offers a lot to admire, but also falls prey to its low budget roots. It combines horror, science fiction, drama, and black comedy underneath a banner of creativity. There is a lot at work in this film, and with some fine tuning, it could have made the leap to being great. Viewing low and no budget films is a tricky proposition. I watch this movie and cannot help but be distracted by the wildly inconsistent audio, mediocre to poor acting and effects that are, shall we say, less than convincing. However, through it all it is the energy put into the production that carries it along. Content is king, if the writing is interesting and the filmmakers believe in what they are doing, it is that much easier to put the lesser aspects aside. On some levels, this succeeds at doing just that.

The film open with the great screen title "This story will be true." We are then thrust into a near future where the dead have been returning to life, but prove to be more of an annoyance than a threat. It seems that civilization has just learned to deal with the slow and lumbering brain eaters. A new form of police have also been created, the NOE, or exterminators. If you have an infestation problem, give them a call, they come and take care of it.

The story focuses on a former cop turned private investigator who is hired to find the source of and cure the infestation of the living dead. His investigation leads him to a doctor who has been disgraced for her experiments looking for a cure for cancer. They eventually team up with a pair of independent exterminators, who enjoy their work, but do not particularly enjoy each others company. Together they end up uncovering a conspiracy with global implications. The source of the zombie infestation is actually a little more complicated and involves duplicates and never ending funds. I dare not say more, save you should see it.

The story is intriguing, it actually is original. Although, it could have used another rewrite or two to tighten it up, as it stands, it plays out in a rather disjointed manner and when it does come together, it is a bit nebulous. I like the idea of a horror writer wanting to get rid of the zombies to cut out the real world competition. The idea of the disgraced cop is not original, but I liked the back story created for this one, becoming an activist for living rights following the death of his wife is rather interesting. Then there is the mullet-laden exterminator and his dominatrix nun counselor competition.

There is a lot of clever stuff here, I would love to see it developed further in a larger budgeted production. There is enough originality that it could dispense with the low budget trappings and mediocrity to become a bold new vision in zombie films. The film is not technically sound as there are numerous audio problems, and the film transfer is less than stellar, so those expecting a Hollywood style feature will be sorely disappointed. But for those adventurous souls who are adept at suspending disbelief are in for a treat of undead proportions.

Bottomline. Zombie movies are a dime a dozen, but those with a creative spark are a bit more scarce. This movie is far from perfect, but it does show what those who have that spark can do. If you are into zombie movies, this is a movie to see. If not for what it is, but for what it could be.

Recommended. *** / *****

Visit the website of the production company, Happy Cloud Pictures.

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