Armageddon of the Dead (2008)

Armageddon of the Dead (2008)

When the dead have risen, some things are more important than your own survival.

A train carrying dangerous chemicals derails on the outskirts of a small American town which releases a gas that begins to reanimate the dead. This spells bad news for a young couple who left their daughter at her grandma’s house and are now trying to rescue her by battling their way through the zombie wasteland.

 

Another low budget zombie flick with another variation on ‘….. of the Dead’ as the title and another fancy cover apparently showcasing the zombie apocalypse bringing down burning cities. Look at the covers for The Zombie Undead, Zombie Apocalypse, The Dead Undead, The Horde, Zombie Virus On Mulberry Street, World of the Dead: Zombie Diaries 2, Apocalypse of the Dead and so on….they’re all virtually the same. Its overkill at an extreme level to see so many similarly-themed films all being released within the space of a few years (though The Horde doesn’t deserve to be in the same bracket as the others as it’s actually really good). And besides which, pretty much none of them feature anything as remotely as exciting as their covers suggest. See the muscular man and woman on the front sporting some serious hardware and looking upon the zombie menace like they mean business? Well you won’t see them in this film that’s for sure!

Armageddon of the Dead’s artwork has nothing to do with anything in the film (even more so than usual). Neither does the majority of the synopsis on the back of the DVD. It’s almost like a totally different film. The DVD blurb proclaims that Armageddon of the Dead ‘has been called one of the goriest, most violent films ever made.’ No source is attributed to this quote. For all I know, it was the director who said that. It most definitely is not one of the goriest, most violent films ever made. Its most definitely is nowhere near being one of the goriest, most violent films ever made. This is a ridiculous unquantified statement which just goes to show how desperate the makers of this film were to sell their product to a gullible market currently being well-served by TV’s The Walking Dead.

Armageddon of the Dead isn’t gory or violent in the slightest so, unless that quote came from someone who has only ever watched Disney films, then it’s a big fat lie. Attack scenes generally consist of the standard neck biting or gang assaults where victims are mugged by a group of zombies (which conveniently means you don’t get to see the victim being ripped apart as there’s too many zombies in the way). There’s a few of the headshots that you’d expect to see but its standard issue zombie film stuff done at an amateurish level. Watch one of Fulci’s zombie films if you want violence and gore.

Armageddon of the Dead is low budget zombie movie making at its most blatant – low on creativity, low on originality and low on entertainment. It’s fairly standard issue storytelling to place a group of normal people into the extraordinary situation of a zombie apocalypse but it serves its purpose pretty well here. Only you never get the sense that this is the end of the world. There’s no scale or scope. And there’s nothing worse than a modern zombie flick which can’t decide how to portray its zombies – whether they go old school like classic Romero or the sprinting fiends from the Dawn of the Dead remake. So you get lots of inconsistency here, with some shuffling along as if they have no care in the world and others gunning for the 100m record.

I’m afraid that at some point we have to mention the acting – or lack of it. Think nursery nativity levels of direness. Zombie films like this rarely pull off any big names as it’s usually the case of a director and a few mates doing some silly stuff in front of a camera. Of course the acting isn’t helped by the poor screenplay so even Pacino or De Niro would find this a struggle to work. At one point the main character is wrestling with a door to stop a ravenous zombie from entering his bathroom and devouring him. His phone rings. Instead of ignoring it like any sane person would, he actually wonders whether to let go of the door and answer it. I guess that annoying Unknown Caller would have hell to pay when they find out the person they are harassing has just been gored by a zombie. The dumb script gives me no reason to care for the characters at the start of the film and you’ll spend the next hour rooting for the zombies to break through and mercy kill them.

 

Armageddon of the Dead is an atrocious zombie film of gigantic proportions. With nothing to do with its advertised premise, grossly misleading artwork and overblown visions of being the next big zombie thing, the only thing apocalyptic about this is the realisation that thousands of people across the world have wasted an hour and a half of their life on this rubbish.

 

NB: the film originally went under the name Risen but it was changed for some reason to Armageddon of the Dead, no doubt due to the slew of rival zombie films that had similar names. Getting confused and watching the wrong one is a mistake I’ve already made once!

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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