Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Jesse Baget, Peter Horn, Jared Marshall, David Munoz, Adrian Cardona, Vedran Marjanovic Wekster, Phil Haine, Tommy Woodard, Cameron McCulloch, Zach Ramelan, Paul Shrimpton, Luke Asa Guidici, Adam O’Brien
Writer: Stefania Moscato, Jonathan Brown, Raven Cousens, Graham Taylor, Alex Chandon
Producer: Jesse Baget, Steve Barton, KW Low, John Condit, Zebediah De Soto
Stars: Bill Oberst Jr., Various
Eleven short stories humorously chronicle life around the globe during the onset of a zombie apocalypse.
Although going in blind is generally the optimal way to maximize enjoyment of a motion picture, “Zombieworld” is a case where I regret not doing my homework ahead of time. Before watching the movie, I knew exactly three things about it. “Zombieworld” was co-produced by genre journalism website Dread Central, the artwork was a complete rip of the one sheet for Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” and the content presumably had something to do with the undead. Thus, having no real expectations to speak of, one might think that the capacity for disappointment would be virtually nonexistent, or at least significantly reduced. Well, not quite.
Following are additional items about “Zombieworld” that I wish I had known before pressing Play. You wouldn’t be reading this review right now if I had, but I also wouldn’t have flushed 98 minutes down the toilet of forgettable entertainment, either.
“Zombieworld” is a zombie-themed anthology fancying itself as a horror-comedy showcasing the work of a baker’s dozen directors, an equal number of writers, and more actors than you can shake a severed limb at. Don’t be fooled by the 2015 release year and copyright date, though. Take a peek at IMDB while looking up the creators’ pedigrees and you will discover that seven of the movie’s eleven segments are previously released shorts with dates originally ranging between 2010 and 2012. So instead of actually being a “new” movie, what this means is that someone scraped up material as much as five years old and stitched it together for a thrift store-style patchwork that looks and feels like the DIY effort of freshman filmmakers.
Somewhat tying the threads together as the film’s de facto Cryptkeeper is familiar face Bill Oberst Jr. playing a news anchor fighting the onset of infection during a zombie apocalypse, yet broadcasting TV segments in between shorts nonetheless. Like “Zombieworld” as a whole, this “Zombie News” wraparound considers itself to be comedic, even though it most certainly is not.
The only half-snicker I could muster for the duration of the runtime was from the irony of the film misusing “effect” instead of “affect” while lampooning the perceived dimwittedness of the Kardashian clan in one of its two Kardashian-related jokes on the screen bottom news ticker. A news ticker that repeats the same three or four sentences over the course of the entire film, despite broadcasting across a period of multiple days, I might add. Then again, the day nine broadcast occurs before day seven’s, so no one behind the scenes appears concerned about things like details.
“Zombieworld” tries wringing out laughs from a kindergarten-grade sense of humor. The first segment, “Dark Times,” is apparently meant to be taken as funny because one of its frantic survivors is clad in a Santa suit, leading to witty lines like, “Santa, move your fat ass!” The news anchor is similarly outfitted for ha-has, sporting an over-the-top obvious toupee and a Herb Tarlek plaid jacket. Not funny enough for you? How about a marijuana leaf accompanying the “Highest Definition” tagline on the news station logo? Get it? Highbrow hilarity at its finest.
The “Fist of Jesus” segment’s greatest offense isn’t trivializing the New Testament by parodying it as a humorous horror story, but by going on long after its gag of multiplying fish to battle Lazarus’ undead horde of Roman centurions and six-shooter cowboys loses its novelty. This could have been an amusing five-minute short if it wasn’t 14 minutes long.
The “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse” interludes are pointless two-minute asides thrown away at various intervals. “I Am Lonely” is a rambling monologue to pay off a one-note punchline. “Certified” does almost the same. The greatest contribution made by “Dead Stop” is confusing the overall location by being set in Utah while the California news anchor claims it took place right near the TV station. “Home” doesn’t have a comedic element at all. “Brutal Relax” is mainly a goofy FX showcase for overzealous makeup artists oddly obsessed with glow-in-the-dark zombie blood. All in all, “Zombieworld” consists of eleven shorts and not one of them is worth recommending.
Once you know its hodge podge origin, it no longer comes as a surprise that the only element shared between the “Zombieworld” segments is low production value. This isn’t an “ABCs of Death” project where independently-working filmmakers craft artistically different projects united by a common theme, or a “V/H/S” movie unifying disparate chapters through a shared vision. “Zombieworld” is a “Creepshow 3” (review here) caliber anthology whose pieces have no relation to one another aside from the inclusion of shambling corpses and a near complete absence of frights, fun, and quality.
Review Score: 30