ALL SOULS DAY - UNRATED EDITION
Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert
What's it about
A young couple get stranded in a strange Mexican village hundreds of miles from anywhere on the Day of the Dead. They call friends for a ride, only to find that once they’re ‘rescued’ the local zombies come out to play; looking for a single full blooded Mexican woman to sacrifice and feed their hunger.
Is it good movie?
ALL SOULS DAY was a joke of a zombie movie. While the premise and initial set up was fresh, the pieces that held it together fell flatter than day old beer. It’s a movie that wants to be a horror lovers wet dream, but a few decisions made during the filmmaking process ultimately befuddled that attempt, resulting in a mild romp of zombie fun. Here are a few of the main fallacies that led to ruining this picture:
In order for the audience to actually give a f*ck about the lead characters, it’s usually a good idea for them to be likable. The main couple in question is anything but. While I didn’t really have issues with the female lead (Marisa Ramirez), her boyfriend (Travis Wester) might be the most annoying protagonist I’ve ever seen on film. Ever. In his attempts at being funny, he comes off as obnoxious, loud, and way too over the top- the guy was a chode with a capital C. Couldn’t stand him- f*ck that guy! The two friends who show up to ‘rescue’ these two weren’t nearly as bad, though the cheerleader would have done better with less lines and more cleavage.
Since the main characters sucked, the next best thing would have been to beef up the body count, and do what zombie films do best- showcase lots and lots of gory carnage. What do we get here? Weak sauce. A severed tongue here, a few limb removals there- and one nasty bite to the neck. That’s it. I could count the amount of people that die in this flick on my left hand. Damage done to zombies include a few gun shot wounds, and an exploding head. Weak! Weak, I tell you! For a zombie movie, this just didn’t cut it.
To really be afraid of zombies, it has to appear like they could actually kill the folks on screen. The zombies here slowly mill aimlessly around the town square for the majority of the flick, throwing that ever sought after sense of danger out the window. They weren’t scary, they were lame! These zombies wouldn’t scare a three year old! Those who did die by zombie basically walked into it, which felt more like a cop-out than anything else. I will say one thing though- the zombie ‘look’ was very cool and even a bit creepy- exactly what you’d expect walking corpses would look like.
Which brings me to the good parts- yes, there were good parts. The 1950s intro worked really well- Jeffrey Combs rocking his dry humor the only way he can was a pleasure to watch, not to mention checking out Micrea Monroe’s funbags (for that split second- don’t blink!). From beginning to end, this flashback sequence was the creepiest part of the movie, and I wished it went longer- like the length of the entire movie.
Danny Trejo also rocked as the evil Vargas Diaz, but I felt that he wasn’t giving his all the whole time (though that lick to the face at the end was down right nasty- nice!). And the award for coolest character goes to David Keith’s sheriff, whose skills with a knife and monologue about eating pussy was priceless. Good show!
Video / Audio
Video: Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1), the film looks more professional here than it does in the trailer
Audio: Standard Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mono 2.0. Good sound quality doesn’t overshadow the fact that the musical score didn’t fit the movie.
This is where the DVD really left a bad taste in my mouth. Through a disclaimer you’re urged not to watch the extras until after you’ve seen the movie (due to spoilers throughout the features), which isn’t a bad idea except that the movie isn’t anything to write home about, and all three featurettes showcase the cast and crew applauding themselves for making the ultimate zombie horror movie. Are these people serious? They practically start sucking each others dicks, going on and on and on about how wonderful every aspect of making this movie was, and how amazing all the actors were to work with. In no way are any of these features interesting or entertaining (though watching director Jeremy Katsen direct the entire movie in a suite and tie was kinda goofy), they just pour salt into the wounds after having to sit through the flick.
Raising The Undead: The Making of "All Souls Day" : Listen to the filmmakers talk about how the characters in this film don’t make your typical horror movie mistakes, and how no character was thrown in this movie just to be killed off. Are we talkin’ about the same movie here???
Faces of Death: The Make-up Effects of “All Souls Day”: I’ll give it this: the movie had awesome zombie effects! Seeing how they brought these really creepy looking walking corpses to life was cool. Not a great feature, but the best of the bunch.
Jailhouse Rock: The Stunts of "All Souls Day”: Watch how cast and crew talk in detail about the one fight sequence that actually required some stunt work. And listen to their rationale about having the cheerleader bust out some comic-book style kung-fu moves near the end. Bugh!
Audio Commentary with Director Jeremy Kasten and Producer Mark Altman: After sitting through the above features, I couldn’t put myself through listening to these guys discuss their work. Expect more of the same.
Deleted Scene : Yeah- all 3 seconds of it…. What’s the point of even showing us this?
Extended Scene: We get to see Danny Trejo be even more of a badass from the opening scene. It actually worked a lot better for me than the original cut- why didn’t they put it in? This is the Unrated Special Edition, is it not?
Trailer, Storyboard Gallery & Screenplay (DVD-ROM) round out the rest of the extras. Better than the featurettes, but that’s not saying much….
ALL SOULS DAY came off like a made-for-TV zombie flick (oh wait… it was!), even in this ‘Unrated’ edition (which promised more ‘sex, violence and mayhem never broadcast on television’). We hardly get any love when it comes to what you’d expect from a zombie movie, and way too much love from the annoying douche bag boyfriend that should have been killed off in the first Act. The segment from the 50s worked for me and was the highlight of the movie. Renting this flick for just those 15 minutes would be totally worth it in my book. All in all, it wasn’t a horrendous movie, but it sure as shit wasn’t good: it just kind of ‘was’. This is the perfect movie to play in the background during your next beer-bong party: no one will pay attention to it, but when they do, they’ll be mildly entertained…