Anchor Bay // 2013 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 12th, 2013
They're coming to get you...again!
When a group of horror fans have the time of their lives at the party of the century, they discover they're in for more than they bargained for...waking up in their very own scary movie! Dressed in the clothing of characters from George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, this group of survivors are trapped inside an isolated farmhouse swarming with zombies. But this is no movie. The living dead are real...or are they? Is this some kind of sick and twisted prank? We'll soon find out!
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead is a movie with a semi-interesting plot but uninspired execution. The idea of taking movie fans and dropping them into their own (seemingly) real life horror setting seems ripe for exploitation. What would happen if you went to a party and woke up the next morning in the costume of a character from a terrifying movie everyone remembers? Writer/Director Douglas Schulze's story starts with promise, slows to a crawl, then goes off the rails.
Those with a working knowledge of Romero's 1968 classic will notice a lot of tidbits in the crevices of this film -- characters are dressed like Barbara, Johnny, and Ben; the farmhouse bears a striking resemblance to the original. Mimesis is a mixture of homage and parody, which the filmmakers are able to do without permission, thanks to Romero's film being in the public domain. Unfortunately, neither are very successful. The actors are all forgettable -- as in community theater forgettable -- save for horror icons Sid Haig (The Devil's Rejects) and Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn) in small cameo roles that have little impact. Come to think of it, I'm not sure either of those actors would be much of a draw in a big budget film, much less one with a miniscule budget like this.
The effects work -- a cornerstone of any effective horror film -- are sometimes decent, but often atrocious, filled with a lot of terrible computer generated blood. The zombies themselves are pretty bad, their skin looking like someone with a can of Ace Hardware spray paint went to town on them. Mimesis also features numerous flubs, including a moment when one character breaks the fourth wall and begins laughing in reaction to another character's joke; it's as if the ghost of Edward D. Wood, Jr. is at work here. The film may also have one of the worst titles in horror movie history. The word "Mimesis" means imitation or mimicry, but I have the sneaking suspicion your average every day horror fan doesn't know this and probably doesn't care.
Ultimately, Mimesis doesn't work because we are aware we're watching a movie about a movie that's a lot better than the movie we're actually watching. Got all that? I'm a big fan of Night of the Living Dead, which is impossible to replicate. This film tries hard to tip its hat to Romero's classic, but only ends up a carbon copy that can't hold a candle to it. Why watch a duplicate when you can sit down and enjoy the real thing?
Presented in 2.35:1/1080p high definition widescreen, the film looks very good considering its low budget origins. Much of it takes place at night or in the shadows, but the colors and black levels are still solidly rendered. Unfortunately, the clarity just serves to highlight how chintzy the effects work is, especially the computer generated stuff. The TrueHD 5.1 track offers some good surround effects, mostly in the form of composer Diego Navarro's eerie musical score, which is the movie's most effective element. Also included are English and Spanish subtitles.
Bonus features include a commentary track with Schulze and screenwriter Joshua Wagner.
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead's final "twist" doesn't come as a big surprise. It ends as it should, but not as we want it to. Schulze and Wagner should have spent more time on character and story instead of chintzy entrails.
Needs to be buried where the general public can't get its hands on it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R