Jack Link is a tough as nails bounty hunter with a couple of outlaws he needs to get off his hands. But he soon has to rely on his prisoners when he finds himself in a town plagued with zombies.
I have to say, it is hard to make an original zombie flick. And while director Spencer Estabrooks
didn’t really re-invent the sub-genre, he certainly added a quirky new look with a western motif. Yep, it is a zombie western in the form of a short film called Dead Walkers
. And the biggest compliment I could give it is that when I received the screener copy, I had no idea it was a short film. I personally like to know as little about a film before I review it. So when I realized it was a short film, I was kind of bummed out as I was having a good time with this flesh eating, gun-toting tale set in the wild, wild west. I think this could have used an extended storyline and been turned into a feature. The splicing of genres worked quite well here, and it would have been interesting to see what could’ve come from a feature.
Now, it isn’t all body parts and roses, as some of the performances are weak and the scares aren’t all that scary, but this was just a fun little short not intending to shape lives. The actors here range from giving a decent show (Michael Shepherd
is especially fun here) to pretty amateurish. But what the film does have, is the love of blood spattered, shoot ‘em in the head zombie killers. One sequence that involves a bloody shot to the head with a ton of the red stuff coving the camera is just good, fun times. The zombie make-up is not all that brilliant, but it gets the job done. In fact, the zombies aren’t all that scary as they seem to give up too quickly, and they are resigned to wait for the men and women to do something stupid. And trust me, they do.
Lately, since zombie movies have been all the rage, it is fun to see what someone with limited funds and a limited budget can do. By all means, director and co-writer Estabrooks is treading on very familiar ground, yet he sure as heck is having a good time. For some reason, crossing the genre into another period can be very entertaining. While this is only a short, it has a couple of moments that are pretty inspired. When the four survivors in this undead infested town walk the city streets, shooting themselves some flesh eaters, it really shines and made for an easy watch. Even with the flaws, I loved the spirit here and the whole western motif. I also have to give praise to the gore effects. Considering the budget, they really had the love of the dead which helped create a rollicking good western with zombies.
Sure it’s not perfect. The script is nothing to get excited about, and the characters are not the brightest of the bunch. But Spencer Estabrooks made a short film that easily could’ve been a feature, and I would’ve been fine with that. With groovy gore, and a fun performance from Michael Shepherd, this is one zombie western that was worth it. Although if you are going to cross genre’s like this, give us a barroom brawl with the undead… I would love to see zombie breaking bottles over a cowboy’s head.