02nd Jun2021

‘Aquarium of the Dead’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Vivica A. Fox, Eva Ceja, D.C. Douglas, Erica Duke, Anthony Jensen, Madeleine Falk, Robert Contrado, Jeffery Thomas Johnson, Brandon Lee W., Anna Telfer, Kim Nielsen, Ash Dadvand, Rishi Arya, Torrey B. Lawrence | Written by Marc Gottlieb, Michael Varrati | Directed by Glenn Miller

It had to happen didn’t it. First we had Zombeavers, then Zoombies and its sequel and now the zombie plague hits sea life with Aquarium of the Dead – the latest undead horror from The Asylum. Of course, given this an Asylum release, the timing couldn’t be more perfect – after all once you’ve seen an Army of the Dead you’re going to want to see an aquarium full of them too right?!

Glenn Miller, director of the aforementioned Zoombies films is back behind the camera for this fishy tale, which comes from a story by Michael Varrati (who also co-wrote the excellent Tales of Poe) and a screenplay by Marc Gottlieb (Planet of the Sharks, Fast & Fierce: Death Race). Now, for me, Planet of the Sharks is one of the best sharksploitation movies The Asylum have ever produced so I had high hopes for this film!

Aquarium of the Dead follows workers at an aquarium off the coast of southern California who find themselves surrounded by undead marine life after a mysterious virus sweeps through the building. Only steps from an ocean inlet, the workers must fight to stop the creatures before they escape into the sea and infect the entire planet…

Now for those that have seen, and enjoyed, the Zoombies movies will no doubt be pleased to hear that Aquarium of the Dead is actually a continuation of that series – the epinephrine that triggers this films octopus coming back from the dead and starting an all-new zombie plague is marked “Eden Zoo” – the very same place the Zoombies zombie outbreak took place!

Now I know what you’re thinking. The fish are all behind glass in an aquarium, what damage can they do from there? Well The Asylum are one step ahead of you – these zombified fish don’t need water to survive, they’re already dead, not being able to breathe outside their tanks isn’t going to kill them… so they smash their tanks to escape and munch down on the staff trapped in the building. Yes, trapped. As, surprise surprise, the aquarium locks down when a tank is breached, meaning our cast of humans have to battle to not only survive but also get our of the building!

And surviving is not going to be easy with this aquariums cadre of creatures. Man (and women) eating crocodiles, killer crabs, blind undead walruses and even bloodsucking starfish – this aquarium has it all! Even if that “all” are all CGI creations in the typical Asylum style. I’m sure that CGI in this day and age could look better than the type of thing we see in The Asylum productions even on their meagre budgets… the poorly-rendered visuals HAVE to be a stylistic choice at this point, there’s no other excuse. Really.

In the end Aquarium of the Dead is little more than a rehash of Zoombies in a new locale, i.e. its not as good, IMHO, as Zoombies 2. If you liked either of Glenn Miller’s zoological zombie films you enjoy this one too. I have a feeling this is not the last we’ll see of that Eden Zoo branded medicine and the zombie animals it creates either!

Aquarium of the Dead is out now in the US from The Asylum. The film comes to DVD in the UK on June 28th, courtesy of High Flier Films.

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