24th May2021

‘Army of the Dead’ Review (Netflix)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Samantha Win, Richard Cetrone, michael Cassidy | Written by Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold | Directed by Zack Snyder

To start this review I will just state, I am a big fan of Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, so I was hopeful that this would be more of the same. While this may not be the case, what Army of the Dead gives us is a welcome dose of crazy zombie action in typical Zack Snyder style.

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group or mercenaries are given the job of getting back into the city and pulling off one of the greatest heists ever. Not only do they have to get into one of the most secure safes in the city but must take on a zombie horde in the process.

When I see a reference to American Werewolf in London in a movie, I know I am in for a good time. Whether it was unintentional or not, there is a moment at the start of the film that fans of Landis’ werewolf horror will recognise. This happens many times in the movie, right down to the fact that the way the zombies are handled is very much like Aliens.

Looking at the zombies that the mercenaries must handle, again purists may not be happy. There are zombies that do not run, but for the most part they are more advanced creatures who have a set structure. Some of this is handled well, but there are some moments that are very questionable. It is interesting though that there is an attempt to give reason to why the zombies attack as they do.

When it comes down to the mercenaries, in a film which features a Las Vegas heist I cannot help but compare them to Oceans 11, original and remake. The team made up of the likes of Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Tig Notaro, and Matthias Schweighofer are charismatic, and most importantly likable. One of the things that often annoys me in horror these days is the fact many characters just are not likable. Thankfully, this time it is different.

One thing that did worry me about Army of the Dead was the length. At around two and a half hours it does seem long for a fun zombie movie, but surprisingly the time moves fast. This is probably down to the fact that there is so much going on, and the pace never lets up.

Fans of the Dawn of the Dead remake will have looked forward to this in hopes it would be a worthy follow up to what that movie became. With many references to other horror films, an actual refreshing take on the zombies, and with a good cast of likable characters Army of the Dead will leave you wanting more.

****½  4.5/5

Army of the Dead is available on Netflix now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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