Friday, June 24, 2011

Eaters: Rise Of The Dead (2010)

 Feed Your Need

Don't judge a film by it's cover; its poor, cartoonish, bargain-bin video game-looking cover. There are no hordes of shirtless zombies running about in this film, nor is there a single helicopter on the attack (thankfully this is just the UK's DVD cover art). Also, don't let the fact that Uwe Boll's name being promptly displayed above the film's title dissuade you, as I'm sure it will bring back some PTSD symptoms from those of you who made it out of House of the Dead alive. Just as Quentin Tarantino slapped his name over Hostel, Boll is only serving as Eaters: Rise of the Dead's producer. Say what you will about the guy, but after contacting "millions" of genre directors to invest in the film, Boll was the only one who said yes to the filmmakers. I think that deserves a slow-clap. You start.

Now that our applause has died down, let's get right to the nitty gritty. Set in Italy, Eaters is a surprisingly effective zombie film that takes place after a man known solely as The Plague Spreader has taken credit for releasing a virus that has caused legions of the undead to take reign over the world. With the entire female population seemingly wiped out, the film sets its focus on a handful of survivors trying to cope with a new world that now lacks human reproduction and answers as to why this catastrophic event happened in the first place. Our two protagonists, Igor and Alen, are zombie hunters working for Gyno, a scientist on the verge of finding an antidote to the plague. In need of living zombies to conduct his experiments, Igor and Alen are requested to hunt for specimens in Sector F, a notoriously dangerous zone that's a long trek from the safety of their Sector A hideout. On their trip, we meet a handful of interesting characters like a crazy painter who trades food and beer for severed limbs that he uses as inspiration in his work, as well as the dangerous Neo-Nazis in Sector B who believe that they are the new militia of the world, under the command of a literal mini-Hitler. As Igor and Alen near Sector F, they begin picking up a signal from The Plague Spreader. Determined to find answers (as well as the desire to put a bullet in his head), the two decide to add an extra mission to their already heavy workload, making a few startling discoveries in the process.

With an endless selection of zombie films at your disposal, what sets Eaters apart from the rest? Namely the connection between Igor and Alen, who we sit alongside throughout nearly the entire film. Alen's determination for answers but hesitation for conflict mesh perfectly with Igor's shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality as the two are rarely in complete agreement, but never so far as it hampers their friendship. We also get a lot of humor from their random banter, particularly in one scene where Igor can't stop singing "Wake me up, before you go go", and referring to Wham! as a great band.

Where most zombie films entice a feeling of dread and "will they get bitten?", Eaters has a sense of confidence that shines above out protagonists like a lucky star. They're skilled hunters and we rarely feel that they are in immediate danger, so instead of following the usual survival-horror approach, we're given more of a "road movie", if you will, that is more concerned with introducing the audience to eccentric characters all the while on the hunt for answers.

For a low-budget picture, Boll's money goes a long way, giving us some great gore effects as well as some truly nasty zombie makeup. There's a few instances of dodgy CGI (the blood splatters that hit the screen can grow a bit tiresome), but for every scene involving computer effects, there are probably ten that utilize great makeup and prosthetics to give the kills a sickening thud of realism. The visual effects also come into play to create a constant skyline filled with dark hues and an impending sense of apocalyptic dread, but this only enhances the film and never comes off as cheesy as other movies that tamper with the effect.

Combine all of these pluses and you've got yourself an entertaining zombie film that few will regret watching. Sure, the story isn't entirely original, but what undead film is nowadays? With some fantastic acting, buckets of gore, a touch of humor, and an outstanding opening news sequence that discusses the fall of government and the Pope's suicide, Eaters is definitely needle in a stack of intestines that truly gives the viewer the feel of a real life end-of-the-world scenario. So if you're a ravenous zombie fan, you'll want to get your hands on this film because you're likely to eat it up.

 3.5/5 Stars

Great. Now I'm Hungry.

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