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Undead
DVD disk
Oct 11, 2005 By: Matt Hosack
Undead order
Director:
The Spierig Brothers

Actors:
Felicity Mason
Mungo McKay
Rob Jenkins

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a meteor shower hits the small Australian town of Berkely, all hell breaks loose as the town’s people turn into zombies. Five strangers hold up in a farmhouse, but they’ll soon learn that there’s something worse than zombies, yep little green men.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Anyone other than die-hard zombie fans will find this film a complete waste of time. The confusing story, loads of cheese, wooden characters, and John Woo action may prove to be too much for the average movie watcher. Indeed, I found myself having a hard time sitting through it. The main character for example, is a hill billy that can perform feats that would make Chow Yun-Fat blush, he talks one. word. at. a. time., somehow knows everything about the story, but doesn’t know to shoot zombies in the head! UNDEAD is so full of camp that the hero fights a small fish. There is, however, some decent comedy to be found as well as bucket loads of gore, but even Sam Raimi knew how to make a better movie in his sleep.

As much as I didn’t care for the movie, I was impressed at the plight of the film’s directors, the Spierig brothers. These two Aussies got a couple cameras with no budget and decided to make a film. Given this situation, I think they did a damn bang up job with impressive zombie effects, competent lighting, and some decent action. It’s not every day that a couple of guys can shoestring a movie and do it relatively well. I must commend the Spierigs for getting some sh*t done and releasing an independent zombie film from Australia. Again, hardcore zombie fans will have a fun time but casual horror viewers might want to stick to Romero.
THE EXTRAS
Like many horror titles, the special features are even better than the feature. The extent of these features reveals the Spierig brother’s plight to just make a movie and end up being pretty inciteful. All of the features are contained on the main disc.

Commentary by Crew: This was kind of fun to listen to because it felt like just sitting on some couches, shooting the sh*t with the directors. These easy going guys drop bits of info about what it took to make the picture and relate some of the hardships as well.

Commentary by Cast: The film’s cast rambunctiously tell their experiences in a more “light” atmosphere, complete with jokes and re-enactments. Don’t expect it to be on par with a Kevin Smith group commentary though.

“Making Of” Featurette: Constituting the meat of the features, this is a more personal, homemade look at the production. Everything from zombie makeup effects, to the crew van that kept breaking down is covered. Most interestingly, you learn that the brothers loved cheesy B zombie films and they just wanted to make a movie that would go on that shelf.

Zombies Internet Featurette: Only lasting a minute, it’s simply a series of montage shots of the actors training to be the undead.

“Midnight Madness” – Toronto Film Festival Screening: This homemade movie shows the brothers at the festival answering audience’s questions. At this point the audience realizes how cheaply the film was produced. I was especially amazed to learn that the film’s special effects were produced on a Pentium III laptop.

Camera and Make-Up Tests: By far the best special feature, you get a cool look at the way light can set a scene and change it. The brothers were able to dramatically change the ways in which zombies appeared just by moving a light.

Homemade Dolly Construction Video: The Spierig’s actually built their own dolly rig from scratch much like Sam Raimi tied a camera to a 2x4.

Animatic to Film Comparison: This is a revolutionary segment chronicling the computer storyboards to the final shots of the movie. Ok, so it’s not so revolutionary.

Deleted and Extended Scenes: There are five extended scenes and five deleted scenes, all of which NEEDED to be cut. The only scene worth checking out is a cheesy alternate title sequence for a good laugh. ‘Nuff said.

Supernova Convention Footage: A very brief Q & A at Supernova. The questions are kind of a re-hash of questions answered in the previous features.

Artwork and Design Sketches: A small handful of drawings detailing alien and set designs.

There is also a teaser for SAW II.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Fans of zombies and gore should check out this B film if only for the down and dirty filmmaking. It’s certainly not classic but it is a good example of what two guys and a camera can accomplish. And they’re from Australia!
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