Little Box of Horrors: Zoombies.
We quest around our great nation (well, ok, Maine) to find Redbox movies so bad they’re good.
We fail a lot.
Did you order the Code Red!?!
In our last two outings, we came across two movies that flat-lined when it came to delivering any excitement. Today, my friends, will be different. We hope. Today we head to the Scarborough, ME Walmart, the home of things so ridiculously cheap, you’d have to go to the deli on Ridiculous Day to find deals this ridiculous. Our quarry: action movies so cheap it looks like the studio shook the spare change out of their couches to make them. You want movies? You can’t handle these movies!!!
- Hard Target 2. The first hard target, featuring Jean Claude Van Johnson, came out in 1993. As is Hollywood’s wont, they decided to trot out a sequel 23 years later that has none of the same actors and nothing resembling the same plot. Starring a who’s who of “who the hell are these C-list MMA fighters”, it is the story of one man and a GAP fanny pack of jewels who must survive the game. Yup, they are ripping off an Ice-T movie.
- Zoombies. From the company that brought you Sharknado, comes a movie that billed itself as “the Jurassic World of the Dead”. Don’t you believe it. No-one in this film runs around in high-heels.
- American Ultra. Sounds like a beer, I’m intrigued. Oh hell it’s got Kristen Stewart. And Jesse Eisenberg. Topher Grace????? What the hell is this? A story about two lovers that have an entire government out to put the kibosh on their love… DIDN’T I JUST REVIEW THIS FUCKING MOVIE??
So who will win my 50 cents (I had a coupon, sue me) and PRESS THEIR LUCK!? Big money, no whammy, no whammy… STOP!
I wanted cheap, and I think this thing’s trailer had special effects last seen in the first StarFox game (oh mode 7, you were great). Sharknado was the last movie to have a large following laud it as being so bad it’s good, so let’s see if their distributer can sniff out another winner. Also, the movie I actually wanted to review has been handled deftly by Erik. Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.
Directed by Glenn Miller and starring absolutely no one you’d know, the premise is simple. A wildlife refuge has been steadily losing money and has decided to retrofit itself as a theme park to boost ticket sales. This retrofit has left the security laughably weak (and incompetent) and a zombie-like virus has infected some monkeys because… reasons. The “no monkey dies on my watch!!” line uttered by the scientist who injects a dying monkey with Chemical X (well, it worked on the Powerpuff Girls….) wouldn’t have made it as a valid plot driver on General Hospital. So anyway, zombie monkeys threaten to infect every animal in the Zoo and escape off premise if they make it to the aviary.
See it Instead: Sharknado
Whoops, wrong feature. Everything that broke in Sharknado’s favor is absent in this film. C-List 90’s talent that chews scenery and purposefully over-acts? Nope. An original yet spoofy premise? Nuh-uh. A small budget that knew when to splurge on iconic moments of absurdity? Well, I doubt they spent the million dollars Sharknado did. Everything on display here is generic and passionless. The only compliment I can give the film is that the location they shot on was pretty (incidentally, they reused the lab from Bio-Dome to make this movie!)
Who the what?!
The cast is a bunch of no names that were apparently having an in-house bet as to who could let what was supposed to be a catchy comeback line drop harder. I think they split the pot. Fortunately, most of them are dead within 15 minutes, in a scene so bad I’ll tackle it in more detail when we get to the “special” effects. It’s got an annoying child who I think was actually filmed because her parents couldn’t find a sitter and brought her to work, which is the reason she’s there in-universe as well. The only slightly competent acting job we get is from the heroine of the film. You can tell she’s the bad-ass protagonist because she’s dressed like she Tomb-Raided Lara Croft’s wardrobe.
The plot of this movie is so by the numbers that giving it more than a sentence would be giving it too much…
Prepare to be Amazed!
Now to the main draw of the movie: could the cheap as hell special effects give us that “Jumping through a Shark with a Chainsaw” moment? I will now describe the scene where a bunch of idiots get dead and let the monkeys out. It’s the first obvious instance of the film trying to give us an iconic moment. It should answer our question pretty thoroughly.
The security team arrives at the lab after getting an alert to a breach via the Commodore 64 that passes for their computer systems. They do the sensible thing and break into a lab that has been sealed shut as a quarantine against a biological hazard. They are wearing Khakis, which I don’t think is CDC standard issue. The Frankenstein to these monkey monsters is sitting bloodied right inside the door and starts to discuss the situation in a fairly calm and roundabout way. A CGI monkey then bursts out of his chest a la Aliens. Think hard about this. The scientist does not urge them to seal the lab. He doesn’t clue them into A FUCKING MONKEY LIVING IN HIS ABDOMEN. He might as well have been using a bunsen burner to make the guards tea while they breach his last line of defense.
It was all a blur…
CGI monkeys then go jumping around trying to assassinate the keystone cops. Every time one lands on a guard to attack them, it’s obvious they swap in a bit of fluff that isn’t even monkey shaped. One sniveling accountant (did I mention they brought the accountant to a hazmat situation? Must have slipped my mind.) pretends that he has a monkey wrapped up in his obviously empty jacket, and begins to bash that against a wall like he’s trying to put out a fire. Needless to say, guards: zero, monkeys: home free.
The iconic moment was undoubtedly intended to be the screeching monkey popping from the good doctor. It’s set up poorly, and has no punch. Mel brooks did this joke decades ago in Spaceballs, so it’s not so much crazy as lazy. And all the bloodshed and gore are played straight here. No wink, no nod. No Bruce Campbell stomping around killing special effects with “hot chocolate”. And the effects. The monkeys are such a blurry, pixelated mess. The last time I saw this many blurred out hairy things bashing against each other to bad music and even worse acting I was watching Japanese Porn. Things don’t get much better. They proudly show off the ugliest CGI elephants I’ve ever scene like a child bringing you a clay ashtray on father’s day.
They then go and bury the lead by filming their iconic zombie lion chase scene in a pitch dark environment. I mean, they were on the stupid DVD cover and that’s the CGI you shame-facedly try and sneak by us? And they waste a man in a gorilla suit. God I hate this movie.
From the heart of Hell I stab at thee!
Another movie fails to find its way into my abdomen heart. Oh well, I guess it’s on to another… WHAT THE HELL!? I went to return this movie before the 9pm deadline on my way to work and inserting it into the kiosk caused the entire system to crash. I then had to tear ass like the van in Old School to find the next Red Box that was available before I had to pay another $1.50 for this piece of garbage. This movie and I are now mortal enemies. For evermore this movie will strike at my wallet and I will strike at its Metacritic rating.