EZMM 2019 Day 4.1: The Rezort (2015)

It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013201420152016, 2017, and 2018.

It’s only taken four days, but we finally watched a movie during the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon! What happens when a director mostly known for directing Nazi Zombie films teams up with a writer mostly known for writing TV shows about teenage girls to make a film best described as West World meets The Walking Dead? Nothing very memorable, to be quite honest.

The Rezort is a predictable, but nicely paced, zombie outing where nothing you see will come as a surprise, but it won’t trigger any kind of real resentment. At least it didn’t for me. And that is mainly because our three leads are more than competent, and the director knows how to keep things moving. Jessica De Gouw and Martin McCann play a couple who in the ten years since humanity survived a zombie apocalypse, have moved on from their trauma in very different ways. Lewis (McCann) was a soldier during the war and has pretty much buried the horrible things he had to do deep inside and is trying to live like a normal person. Melanie (De Gouw), on the other hand, is still suffering from PTSD and hasn’t gotten over the loss of her father to the zombies.

As a therapeutic act, Melanie has splurged and purchased tickets to The Rezort, an island that houses the last remaining zombies on the planet, where tourists can pay to hunt and kill the undead. The hunting can include either a guided tour through a shooting gallery where zombies strapped to planks are swung out like targets (while rich douchebags riddle them with bullets), or a more free-range hunt where tourists can fire rifles from clifftops at a herd of zombies wandering around down below.

There’s also camping!

De Gouw and McCann do fine work with what they’re given, as does the former almost-Wolverine, Dougray Scott as the enigmatic crack shot, Archer, who is a repeat visitor to The Rezort because killing zombies “is the only thing [he’s] ever been good at.” He’s also there because you have to have the mysterious, quiet, shellshocked vet who never misses a shot and realizes something’s wrong before everyone else.

That came off as snarkier than I intended. Because, dammit, I liked Archer and I like Dougray Scott. He does a good job here and honestly if he, De Gouw, and McCann weren’t in this film it might not have been nearly as watchable.

The script, by Paul Gerstenberger, lacks imagination, but succeeds on a structural level. None of the characters are remotely memorable – except those you just want to see die horribly – but the dialogue is okay. There’s a nice moment between De Gouw and Elen Rhys as the zombie-rights activist Sadie, where they share a beer and commiserate about how humans are the real zombies (as well as share an enlightening bit of info about the origins of the term ‘zombie’ that I actually wasn’t aware of).

Of course, while they both think shooting the zombies is cruel and heartless, they both shoot their fair share of zombies once they’re trying to survive.

There’s a very Romero-esque commentary going on about the evils of corporations and capitalism, and a slight nod to Romero’s Land of the Dead that’s just as on-the-nose as it was there. It would be more interesting if there was something more than that going on thematically, but with a film as slight as this, I’ll take what I can get when it comes to depth.

I was hoping for a little more when I realized that the director was Steve Barker, who was responsible for one of my favorite zombie films, Outpost (2008) and one of my almost favorite zombie films, Outpost: Black Sun (2012), however, he was the writer on both of those. Here, working as a hired gun, he was able to bring a lot to the screen that might not have made the cut otherwise. Most importantly, he was able to make the most of a limited budget. With an estimated five million pounds, he and cinematographer Roman Osin, turned out a very good-looking film.

Overall, The Rezort isn’t a horrible way to spend your evening. You might not remember much of it afterward, but you won’t have a bad time.

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