27th Jun2014

‘Goal of the Dead’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Alban Lenoir, Charlie Bruneau, Tiphaine Daviot, Ahmed Sylla, Alexandre Philip | Written by Tristan Schulmann, Marie Garel Weiss, Quoc Dang Tran, Izm, Laetitia Trapet | Directed by Benjamin Rocher, Thierry Poiraud

GOTD

Well this couldn’t be better timing really could it? With the World Cup occupying TV screens and newspapers across the globe Metrodome unleash Goal of the Dead on a football-hungry UK audience. And whilst I typically avoid football movies like the proverbial plague, I couldn’t help but check out any film which also involves zombies and The Horde director Benjamin Rocher!

Like The Horde before it, the plot of Goal of the Dead is relatively simple and sees professional football team arrive at their lowly local-rivals stadium for an end of season friendly when a zombie apocalypse turns the hostile fans into flesh-eating undead hooligans.

This time round it would seem Rocher and his co-director Thierry Poiraud have taken a leaf out of the Shaun of the Dead playbook for their movie – hell, even the title is a play on the same “…of the Dead” trope – adding much more comedy to this particular zombie flick that their previous effort, The Horde, which was much more action orientated. What both films do have in common however is Rocher and Poiraud’s penchant for stunning visuals. In The Horde it was the iconic scene in which one of the “heroes” climbs on to the roof of a car and fight off the oncoming zombie swarm. In Goal of the Dead it’s the superb outbreak in the zombie stadium mid-football match, full of smoke, light, gore and vomit (it’s the vomit which changes folks into the undead in this flick) which is at once extremely violent and yet somehow eerily peaceful. A set-up which is also repeated come the films fantastic conclusion!

Apparently released as two short films in it’s native France, Goal of the Dead is literally a movie of two halves – the exciting first, in which the zombie outbreak begins, is helmed by Benjamin Rocher and the second half, which follows the survivors of the world’s most violent football match, comes from Thierry Poiraud. Although in all honesty you’d be hard-pressed to find any differences in the two directors styles. What this does mean though is that the second half of the film drags a little as the runtime approaches almost two hours…

But for the most part Goal of the Dead is a fun, exciting and incredibly gory zombie film in the best Gallic tradition, i.e. it’s bloody (pun intended) good! The cinematography, from Matias Boucard, gives the movie a truly apocalyptic look; whilst the script is packed with jokes about overpaid footballers, devoted and often drunk football fans, and French football “politics” (essentially the rest of France hates Paris and it’s football team) and of course there’s plenty of gore including the usual gamut of decapitations, zombie flesh-eating and even – come the final football match – a head used in place of a soccer ball.

Yet more proof that the French have a solid grasp on the entrails of the zombie genre, Goal of the Dead is released on DVD on July 7th courtesy of Metrodome.

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