Day of the Dead: Bloodline tries a more personal spin on the zombie movie — making it a bargain basement monster flick where a rapist tries to continue his obsession after becoming a mindless undead. Call it the far less romantic version of Warm Bodies. Not shockingly it makes for a pretty ridiculous zombie flick.
The film is a very, very loose re-imagining of George Romero’s classic. Re-imagining in the sense that both movies contain zombies. That’s where the similarities end. Director Hèctor Hernández Vicens kicks things off with an attention grabbing chaotic opening sequence with zombies tearing into people on the street.
After a brief flashback to explain how the outbreak began, the film settles onto a group of survivors at a military outpost.
Zoe (Sophie Skelton) is hard at work trying to find a cure and dealing with the trauma of nearly being raped by a patient (Johnathon Schaech, Legends of Tomorrow). When one of the inhabitants develops an aggressive case of the flu, Zoe wants to travel beyond the safe zone to secure medical supplies.
Screenwriters Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson desperately hope viewers have never seen a zombie film and have never heard of The Walking Dead.
There’s some basic rules of the genre that casually get dismissed to advance the story. Like the idiotic character who needs a closeup view of blood in the ventilation shaft, others walking needlessly close to a fenced off perimeter or the simple mathematics of one life versus hundreds.
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The cast isn’t able to carry the shoddy script to respectability as they frequently seem baffled by the dialogue. Not from a simple B movie perspective, but from the standpoint of genuine confusion with their character’s actions and motivations.
For a zombie movie, Bloodline is way too clean and sterile. The cinematography lacks the necessary graininess and grimy visuals to pull off an immersive movie experience. This extends to the set designs as well as the locations look more staged than lived in with a scattered approach.
Despite the clean environment, Vicens delivers the goods on the violent and gory death scenes. It’s clear this is where most of the film’s $8 million budget went. The action is crisp and the dismemberment carnage is highly effective. Vicens probably would have been better suited handling a more action heavy zombie flick. Maybe a Resident Evil reboot?
As the film plays out, the psychotic overprotective dictator (Jeff Glum) running the base was proven correct. Zoe’s plan to save one life ends up costing the lives of dozens. It’s hard to root for the main character when their poor decisions cost so many survivors’ lives.
If you’re hungry for a good zombie homage to Romero’s work, look no further than Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. Bloodline is just plain rotten.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Photo Credit: Lionsgate