E1 Entertainment // 2011 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // March 14th, 2013
It's feeding time.
Italian cinema has a long tradition of second rate zombie movies. Sometimes, they're gloriously trashy, like Zombie and, sometimes, they're just trashy, like Hell of the Living Dead. Most of them, though, have a cheap charm to them that attracts me more than it probably should. With the new influx of flesh eating freaks in worldwide television and cinema, Italy returns with Eaters, which maintains that old tradition. It's really not very good, but when has that ever stopped me?
Some kind of plague has caused the people of the world to become deformed zombies, with flesh dripping from the bone and an unquenchable thirst for blood. It started with the women, but quickly affected both genders. Now, with only a few actual humans left, a pair of bickering hunters and the scientist they work for search for survivors while battling neo-Nazis and finding the daughter of the man who might have started the plague.
The box for Eaters displays prominently, "Presented by Uwe Boll," but don't let that dissuade you from watching the movie. He had nothing to do with the production, and only agreed to have his name on the cover to help with sales. It's a lot better than his movies, but that's hardly praise; there are good points to the film, but not many.
Writer/director Marco Ristori has simply tried to stuff too much into the film's relatively short running time. Though ninety minutes is pretty standard for a horror film, between all the concepts and characters he tries to shove in, two hours probably wouldn't have cut it. Ristori gets some points for trying to be original; he brings up the idea that the zombies represent some kind of new human evolution, but he feels the need to explain it so thoroughly that it shines too bright a light on how ridiculous the concept is and, even with all that explanation, never gets to a point where it actually makes any sense. This is compounded by the rival factions, including a bunch of Nazis with an odd Hitler lookalike leader, and all the banter between the main characters, all of which makes the story a huge mess.
To its credit, the film has fairly decent zombie makeup and effects for its budget. It's fairly violent and, if you don't listen to all the random talking while it's going on, these are things to enjoy about the film. But that's the problem: in order to explain all the different things going on in Eaters, the characters never shut up, which makes it a pretty hard film to watch, even if it delivers on the zombie action.
E1 delivers a decent disc for Eaters, though it's nothing particularly great. The 2.35:1 image looks pretty good; it's a cheap movie and it shows, but the transfer is solid enough. There aren't any digital errors to complain about and black levels are fairly deep. The intentionally washed out look of the film makes the colors difficult to judge, but it looks sharp overall. On the audio front, the disc comes with a surprising three mixes. Two surround tracks in Italian and a stereo mix in English. Oddly, the English one is the default on the disc, so be sure to change your settings if you want to avoid a bad overdub. Though I don't know whether the Italian tracks are dubbed like the old days, they match pretty well. The DTS track is the preferred one, with nice surround effects and a booming low end. The Dolby surround track is pretty good, but not quite as dynamic, while the English stereo track sounds weak in comparison. The only extra on the disc is a fifteen minute making-of featurette, in which the director adamantly defends Uwe Boll. His argument has little merit, but I'm sure he's very grateful for the shout-out, so it can be forgiven.
Eaters plainly tries to do too much, which is its downfall. If it was just zombie violence, the film would hold some merit for genre fans, but with terrible dialogue and overplayed conceptual issues, this one is hard to recommend. It's far from the worst piece of living dead violence I've ever seen, but it isn't particularly good, either.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Italian)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Italian)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated