Zoombies (2016)


When a strange virus quickly spreads through a new wildlife sanctuary park and turns all the zoo animals undead, those left in the park must stop the creatures before they escape out into the nearby city. 

REVIEW: Being the huge B-Movie nerd that I am, I always highly anticipate each new Asylum release, and Zoombies was obviously no exception. However, I wasn't really a big fan of Asylum's previous two 2016 releases so far, Little Dead Rotting Hood and Night of the Wild. Both are ok, don't get me wrong, but I didn't find them all that fantastic either, and neither one is probably one that I'll randomly grab off my shelf to rewatch ever again outside of potential reviewing purposes. On top of that, I'm beyond sick of zombies and zombie movies. At this point anything new or interesting that can be done with the genre has already been done and outside of a couple shows I'm watching and will stick with until they end (Walking Dead and Asylum's own Z Nation), I've pretty much gone on record and stated that I'll no longer be watching any new zombie stuff, with the exception of course of anything Asylum puts out as they always get a free pass from me, especially this day in age where they only release one new movie a month, and sometimes not even then.

As the cleverly-titled Zoombies played on though, I was relieved to find out that these aren’t actual zombies per say, so much as just a new strain of rabies or something. These animals can still run and move quickly, they don't come back from the dead once killed, and they can be killed by pretty much any means that you can already kill animals by. I'd liken this more so to the rage virus from 28 Days Later than actual zombies. With that said, I was confused by how this virus operates. They make it clear that humans aren’t affected by it and it's strictly wildlife, however there's a part in the movie where (through one of the luckily-rare examples of piss poor horrible CGI in this movie) they ride elephants to get from Point A to Point B in the park after everything goes to hell and their vehicles get destroyed, and they say that elephants aren’t affected by this virus because their DNA is close to that of humans or some such explanation...which would be fine, except then there's parts throughout the entire movie where monkeys and gorillas are affected by it, and while I'm no animal expect or zoologist, it seems to me that those animals would be closer to humans than elephants are. Somebody feel free to correct me on that if I'm wrong though, as I love learning new things.


In terms of the zombie animals themselves, this movie has a whole slew of them from monkeys to birds to hippos to lions to pretty much just about any kind of regular zoo animal you can think of, and I was really glad that they were able to make room for lots of them to be a recurring threat. It always bothers me in movies that deal with multiple species of killer animals when it goes from just one animal attack scene to another, with each one just being a different animal and they never make any of them a recurring threat. It's like you get to your favorite one, but then that's it, it's over and it's onto the next type of killer animal threat, but luckily in this movie there are quite a few that seem to keep popping up here and there and being a continuous danger to our characters, and I loved that, especially when it comes to Kifo the Gorilla as he was easily my favorite in the entire movie. I actually thought for sure that Kifo was going to pop in and save the day at the end, ALA the Rex in Jurassic World, especially since watching this movie makes it very clear that this is actually a Jurassic World mockbuster in disguise, and on top of that I figured the movie was giving us foreshadowing early on when the little girl was playing with her toys and had the gorilla toy fighting another animal toy, but I'm glad it didn't go that route because I always love it when a movie, especially a B-Movie, doesn't do what you're expecting it to and throws a curveball in there.

As for how Kifo and the other zombie animals looked, well the CGI is a mix bag. Sometimes it was pretty good, especially when it came to Kifo and the monkeys, however other times it was a tad bit lower than what I've come to expect from a modern Asylum flick, such as the aforementioned elephant-riding scene or a scene later on where the characters are zooming down a zip line that goes throughout the park. Overall though, this movie is just so much fun that I'm able to mostly overlook those few moments of lesser CGI. Plus we get some practical stuff here and there too, like many of the scenes with Kifo, where it's actually a man in a gorilla suit filming the scene, and while it's obvious that it's a man-in-suit, he still does a great job of acting like a gorilla and it actually didn't take me out of the movie as much as I was initially expecting it to.

And I know I've said this already, but good golly this movie is FUN! There are tons, and I mean tons of fun animal attack scenes throughout this entire movie, with my favorite (and probably zaniest) being a scene where giraffes, infected by this virus, start hauling people out of trees that were hiding up there and munching down on them, and that's not to mention scenes involving jungle cats stalking their prey throughout the park, or a deadly koala bear scene, or a pretty intense scene inside of Kifo's enclosure that will probably remind most B-Movie fans of the 1995 killer gorilla movie Congo, especially with the cave backdrop that's inside of the enclosure that seems almost directly inspired by Congo. There is certainly no shortage of fun action scenes taking place in a nice diverse variety of locations throughout this park, during both day scenes and night scenes (I love it when modern killer animal movies have a good amount of night scenes in them as I find most these days are entirely during the day), however part of me wishes we could have seen even more of the park, as there are some locations, such as the Water Park and Crocodile Swamps, that we hear about in dialogue and see pictures of, and they sound and look like they could have had some fun action scenes there, but sadly we never get to visit. Not a complaint, mind you, as I'm perfectly content with the variety that we do get, just a personal little Wish List item is all.


Enough about the animals though, I want to talk about the humans involved in this movie now for a minute. There is a nice range of characters in this movie, this isn't one of those that only has four or five people in it, and surprisingly the movie did a great job with giving pretty much everybody developed personalities and back stories, to the point where, other than the main character that runs this park and her young daughter, you're never quite sure as to which characters will be killed off and which ones will make it to the end, which was a nice surprise for this type of flick. Helping matters was the fact that almost all of them, save for a couple of the more minor side characters, were actually acted quite well, with the shining star of the movie being the brand new comer LaLa Nestor as the main character's little daughter. Child actors, especially in low budget movies, tend to be the weak spot in the cast but here she was easily the best, and I was never not impressed with her acting chops, so major kudos go to her for her phenomenal job.

Not all the talent here was in front of the screen though. Suffice to say, going by how much I enjoyed everything thus far, I thought the script by Scotty Mullen (who previously did The Coed and the Zombie Stoner) was fantastic and actually pretty far above-average for what's expected from Asylum, and the directing by Glenn Miller (also of The Coed and the Zombie Stoner in addition to The Bell Witch Haunting), save for some questionable CGI shots, was great as well, with some shots and scenes seemingly going above and beyond what you would expect from the usual SyFy/Asylum type stuff. Rounding it all out is a fantastic Jurassic World-esque musical score by Asylum-regular Christopher Cano that actually remains pretty memorable even after the movie is over and done with.


 Zoombies turned out far better then I was expecting it to be, and not only is it my favorite Asylum movie so far this year, but it's also right alongside 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack, and Age of Dinosaurs as one of my top favorite movies of Asylum's entire catalog. Sure it stumbles a bit here and there in the CGI department at times, but the amount that this movie gets right, and even surpasses expectations at times, far outweighs those few questionable CG moments.

Seeing as how the movie ends kind of open-ended (I mean, the characters don't kill every single animal in the park before they themselves manage to escape, even though it's never directly referenced either), in my own personal head cannon I see this movie being the beginning of the zombie virus, where then after some of the animals escape after the events of this movie, the virus mutates and adapts so that it can also infect humans, which then leads to Asylum's 2012: Zombie Apocalypse, which (again, this is only in my own personal head cannon) takes place in the same movie universe as Rise of the Zombies. BOOM, got myself a nice little trilogy there, especially since there's zombie animals in 2012: Zombie Apocalypse as well. I may even take it a step further and add Asylum's TV show Z Nation into that universe as well once I catch up on it and see if it could potentially fit in.

9/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


Comments

  1. I am super pleased that you enjoyed it so much! It was so cool, and intense, that yeah, whatever flaws it has just slide right off.

    Excellent review, as always my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! yeah, it was a nice surprise for me, definitely one of my favorites. I find every year Asylum has that one sole movie that stands out above even all their other releases for me (Sharknado events aside, lol), and I have a feeling that for this year it's this one. If not then I REALLY look forward to the one that beats even this one out for me this year, lol

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