I love zombies, and I love over-the-top gimmicky stories. So the idea of a zombie outbreak at a zoo is right up my ally. Fortuitously, given my new column. The fact that this was by The Asylum should have given me pause, but they have made some great passable popcorn movies, so I went into this with optimism. This should have been fun, ridiculous and gory. It was one of those things and not in a good way.
As this movie is fairly recent I’m going cover the basics about this movie, then I’m going to spoil the shit out of this. I will give fair warning ahead of time, though.
You probably know the story or can surmise it just off the title. There’s a zoo, animals become “zombies” and the staff at the zoo must stop the infected animals from escaping and sequel-baiting another movie because no one wants that. Mayhem ensues, etc. That’s the movie. And if I’m being completely fair that’s all this movie needs to be. I mean, you can’t screw up such a simple concept, right? Right? Turns out you can literally screw up anything if you really try. Or don’t try as the case may be.
Zoombies is riddled with plot holes the characters themselves point out, laughably bad CGI, not nearly enough gore and no humor to speak of, unless you count stupid shit that is played as straight. Zoombies has literally no redeeming factors at all. Even the core concept falls flaccid, as calling them zombies is a stretch. Black Sheep is closer to being about zombies.
That’s my spoiler-free review. If you read all that and you are still interested, by all means be my guest. Now after this I’m going into a frothy rage and rant spoiling this hot mess, so turn back now if you don’t want the “experience” ruined for you.
This movie starts with the monkey from Outbreak being infected with an unknown virus, and if that’s not typecasting then I don’t know what is. The monkey dies and gets a shot of epinephrine, which apparently doesn’t restart your heart, so mild surprise there. Right about this time the other two caged monkeys become crazed just in time to distract the doctors, and then the monkey comes back to life. Because we don’t have enough Resident Evil movies. Let me say that again. The monkey comes back to life as evidenced by its heartbeat.
Do you see the problem here? Why does a zombie have a heartbeat? If it has a heartbeat it is alive, and it can be killed by shooting it in the body as opposed to requiring a headshot. Do you see the issue there? If it can be killed normally then there is no point in it being a zombie, if you can even call it a zombie after that. You might as well make the movie about a new strain of rabies breaking out at a zoo. And wouldn’t you know it’s intern/community service day at the zoo because we need fresh bodies. But oh nos, they get their phones taken away. Why even put cell phones in a movie just to take them away? Not every teen is on their phone constantly.
This is where we meet the characters that survive the longest, and boy, do they— exist. Actually the acting is probably the highlight of the film. Minus the little girl who may or may not be human. Really the actors just have nothing to work with. But they (mostly) try, and I must give props when due.
And the monkeys get loose because idiots are idiots. Say, the laboratory alarms were set off, and the doctor is clearly trying to hold the door shut from the inside. I guess that means we should force the door open. Hmm, he’s clearly been attacked and he says to barricade the door. And another actor says ‘why?’
Fuck me I miss the idiots from Grizzly Rage.
This leads to the one scene that feels like it’s from a zombie movie. I won’t spoil it because it’s actually the best part of the film, after the acting.
The monkeys escapes are the most importantly forgotten plot point in cinema I think. See, everyone is afraid the monkeys will infect the birds (I assume pigeons don’t exist in this world) which would be a legitimate concern except the monkeys could escape the zoo easily at any time. So the entire plot of the movie is moot. You cannot build tension with plot holes this huge, and I can’t turn my brain off and overlook this problem because the movie plays everything straight.
Oh, my favorite part of the movie? Every time they cut to the intern in the aviary. There’s a parrot that talks, but they obviously dub its lines in. Gee, can’t imagine why they have a talking parrot. Oh, and they stated early in the movie that the entire point of the zoo was to minimalize human contact with the animals, like teaching the birds to talk. Oops. Or should we assume that pet parrots have become an endangered species? Or more likely the writers were lazy fucks that just wanted a talking bird.
Then we cut back to the warthog pen with a character who lives for a bit, but she was never named in the movie, and if the movie doesn’t care then neither do I. BTW, warthogs are listed as LEAST CONCERN on the endangered species list. Way to do a Google search writers. So okay, we see the monkeys attack someone, and then…. The warthog are suddenly infected. We don’t see the monkeys infect them. In fact, we don’t see any animals infect any other animal, which suggests that the virus became airborne, which (again) makes the plot about saving the birds completely useless. Except it doesn’t affect humans. I guess it just doesn’t like them.
Now here’s where the movie gets stupid…er. Zombie giraffe show up, and they look nothing like zombie, so again, rabid animals would be just as good. The problem? Who let them out of their enclosure? And yes, the animals do have enclosures as shown with the gorilla. And no, it’s not just the herbivores, meaning someone let the animals out. Was there a power failure? Is there a crazy person letting them loose? Did the virus turn the monkeys smart? Make up your own answer, because the movie never bothers to explain. Because it’s a lazy fuck movie. Also, zombie giraffe but no dark comedy. Zombie giraffe are not scary. Especially when they don’t look like fucking zombies. Again, just watch Black Sheep.
Hey, have we introduced a new plot yet? Because at the halfway point the movie brings up catfish theory, suggesting that the endangered animals are “evolving” to increase their survival rate. Couple things wrong with that. That isn’t what Catfish theory is about, what is happening in the movie isn’t evolution by any accepted definition, and that plot shoots the movie in the foot. See that implies this is a nature vs humanity type of thing, rather than a random outbreak of an unknown virus. I would think this was a prequel to After Earth, but I think we all know Day of the Animals leads into that. Because infecting animals and turning them against us makes more sense than just infecting us. Oh wait, that was The Happening. By the way, this was an animal preserve/zoo. So clearly these people deserved to die. It fails as a zombie flick and you fail as an eco-horror flick.
Then we get to the elephant scene. Wow. This scene is where it becomes obvious no one edited the script. Nothing was left on the cutting room floor. First, the elephants are loose, so someone or something let them loose. But if the monkeys set them loose why the FUCK aren’t they infected??? The movie has an explanation. Because “elephants have no natural predators, the infected will leave them alone.” Okay, first that contradicts the nature vs humanity theme, because the elephants would have been infected to join the cause. Second, this is said mere moments after the giraffe attack. Humans have no natural predators, and giraffe aren’t meat eaters. So the “natural order” doesn’t apply here. Either way this is bullshit.
So they are riding the wild elephants, because that’s as believable as anything in this movie, but they forgot that elephant are terrified of lemurs. And then this happened—
Warm body number three or four gets his leg crushed by the CG elephant
Feast your eyes on that. The laziest effect I have ever seen. I’m not technical expert, but I know that could have been digitally corrected. I honestly can’t imagine how you could screw up a shot that bad. I’d think it was intentional if this was a horror comedy.
This movie is bad. Like, hot garbage on toast bad. The writing is lazy, the effects are hella lazy. They clearly didn’t know their demographic because a movie featuring zombie giraffe should be tongue-in cheek. It should be over the top. I should be rolling my eyes at gratuitous violence and gore, not the shitty writing. They try to play it straight but they fail horribly because the plot holes are huge and the situation is absurd. The movie wants to be Jurassic World, but is too stupid to realize that fucking-zombie-dinosaurs would have been 100% better.