Stars: Edward Furlong, Corey Feldman, George McCluskey, David McClelland, Michael Gamarano, Seb Castang, Rebecca-Clare Evans, Jennifer Chippindale, Jon Campling, Timothy Owen, Anabel Barnston, Jane Foufas, Leo Horsfield, Sebastian Street, Tanya Katarina | Written by Rebecca-Clare Evans, Jennifer Chippindal, George McCluskey | Directed by Aidan Belizaire
With an ever growing horde of zombies completely wiping out a countryside town, the Government sets a perimeter around the town area and employs a shoot on sight policy. Trapped within the town, the locals and unlikely bunch of misfits fight for their lives, realising they must unite to survive. Can our heroes unravel the clues in time and survive or will The Zombie King and his horde of zombies rise on the night of the dark moon?
I am not going to lie; King of the Dead starts off strong. Sure, zombie films are done to death (pun intended), but The Zombie King isn’t afraid to poke holes in itself and point out the ridiculousness of the whole situation. This leads to some cracking scenes between the three characters at the beginning, a postman, a milkman and a traffic warden which sounds a bit like a bad joke in itself. It even has little nods to other zombie films like Shaun of the Dead which help with a chuckle or two.
Surprisingly, King of the Dead doesn’t have too much gore. It seems to shy away from it, which is very unusual for a zombie film. Most of the gross stuff happens just off screen, more implied than anything else. A very strange choice, but doesn’t ruin the film in anyway (unless that is exactly what you came for of course).
Unfortunately King of the Dead doesn’t sustain that strength. Its main problem is that it doesn’t trust its viewers. The man bad guy’s story is told through a sequence of flashbacks throughout the film. I thought it was well handled and we got a good grip on his motivations despite him only getting a few seconds of screen time at a time. However, in the final third, they then show all the flashbacks again in one longer scene and THEN have another scene where a character explains everything the flashback has just shown us, as if we weren’t smart enough to have figured it out. I found this incredibly frustrating and found it slowed the pace right down to an almost stand still. By the time we got to the ‘final battle’ I was begging for the film to be over just so I could do something else. I had lost all interest.
After a strong start I’m afraid King of the Dead lets itself down. That, along with a few slightly illogical choices by characters as they flee the approaching hordes, the result is a film which becomes more of a burden to watch than entertainment, which is a shame.
King of the Dead is released on the UK on March 7th, courtesy of High Fliers.