Studio: Inception Media Group
Director: Sergio Myers
Writer: Sergio Myers
Producer: Sergio Myers, Patrick Kilpatrick
Stars: Patrick Kilpatrick, Joseph Aviel, Lucia Brizzi, Justin Brown, Diana Sillaots, Travis Matthew Bratten, Scott Alin, Maria Desimone, Jennifer Sulkowski, Melvin Breedlove, Joanne Tombo
A mysterious mercenary is the only hope of survival for a group of college students and a camera crew when a zombie outbreak infects Youngstown, Ohio.
If you had to pick just one thing about horror movies that you feel is oversaturated, what would it be? Found footage? Zombies? Ghost hunting in a haunted building? Dumb college kids doing dumb things? It’s a tough choice, isn’t it? “The Zombinator” couldn’t decide either. So it lumped all of them together in one lackluster movie and tied the package with a bow of amateur production values for good measure. Choose to unwrap it and you will find a thoroughly messed up mix of everything fans complain about most when bemoaning the worst that genre film has to offer.
Unable to settle on a sensible premise for its “found footage” frame, “The Zombinator” slaps together an odd hodgepodge intro that starts with something about a documentary profile on a young fashion blogger. Her family is interviewed around the breakfast table, the girl is shown shopping, and the viewer is left wondering if it is even possible for this to lead to something interesting.
The camera crew then makes mention of Youngstown, Ohio’s reputation for unsolved murders and the camera later catches a half-glimpsed man stalking the girls from a distance. They find a blood smear on a wall near where the man was standing and dare the sound guy to lick it. Weirdly enough, he does, as things start taking a darker turn. Except strangely, this doesn’t add up to anything either.
Next on the seemingly random agenda is a trip to a wake for a fallen soldier. Most of the fashion blogger’s friend circle does not even know the deceased, but that doesn’t stop anyone from raising a red Solo cup in his honor as “The Zombinator” tries channeling a “Cloverfield” vibe before the real storyline finally gets underway.
Out of nowhere, a strange-looking little girl appears and without hesitation, everyone immediately assumes zombie and starts running in a panic. At least the plotline is done beating around the bush, even if it only leads to nonsensical scenes staged like rooms in a cheap Halloween haunted house where actors in street clothes smear their faces with stage blood.
The college kids take refuge in a church basement, where a team of ghost hunters happens to be filming a paranormal investigation of the building with a pair of priests in tow. Because, why not? This serves a three-in-one function of justifying additional cameras, making the storyline more ludicrous, and overstuffing the roster enough to ensure that no one in the audience can filter out a single personality to connect with. At this point, the movie has close to two-dozen characters, and all of them talk over each other in a cacophony of improvised dialogue that doesn’t mean anything anyway.
Recognizing that there is no character development whatsoever transpiring, “The Zombinator” abruptly stops for the cast to splinter off and deliver emotional exchanges in a bizarrely positioned interlude. One girl suddenly breaks up with her boyfriend. One boy reveals his history of child abuse. Another wells up with tears while recalling the loss of his parents at an early age. Then the movie ditches the pointless sentimentality and goes back to being absurd with the introduction of The Zombinator himself.
As expected, the titular character is a knockoff of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, complete with a gap in his teeth. In a movie full of silly ideas, this is one of the silliest, although also arguably one of the smartest. Only because this is the first inkling that writer/director Sergio Myers finally figured out there was no way this movie could ever be taken seriously and just said, “who cares?” Which is the exact same reaction the audience has by the time the movie is over.
Supposedly, “The Zombinator” was shot in just four days. I say supposedly because it looks like it was filmed in one. A conservative estimate might guess that at least 25% of the footage, and likely quite a lot more than that, is out of focus. Two cameramen but no camera assistants are listed in the credits, suggesting that an autofocus feature might be to blame for the back and forth racking constantly fuzzying up the frame. Whatever the reason, it makes the movie literally painful to watch, what with the constant blinking and eye watering.
Remember being young, musing wistfully with friends and coming up with offbeat ideas for stories like Jaws versus Alien? Most of us grew up to develop a proper sense of why concepts that seemed cool as a kid don’t work as an adult (although I would still pay money to see Jaws fight a xenomorph). “The Zombinator” plays like stoned teens decided to live action role play poorly conceived “Walking Dead” fan fiction with a Terminator as the lead while someone hit record on a home video camera. Frankly, I would rather watch the boring fashion blogger profile that the faux documentary started as in the first place than have to sit through this poorly conceived film again.
NOTE: “The Zombinator” was previously titled “Dead Z.”
Review Score: 20