Well Go USA // 2013 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // October 11th, 2013
Hell Hath All Fury
Sometime in the not too distant future, a drug called Natas (clever name, right?) becomes a craze, then a plague. Those who succumb to its pharmaceutical siren song turn into flesh eating mutants, and soon, the world is overrun with these...zombie? Anyway, we meet up with one of the last survivors, a mad man in a muscle car named Max...wait, this guy has no name. He's merely known as The Hunter (Martin Copping, Battle Ground) and he travels around, looking for survivors and blowing the Hell out of these doped up death bringers. Eventually, he is hijacked by a collective run by a fallen priest who goes by the name of Jesus (Danny Trejo, Machete). They want his vehicle, or his help, or something or other. He just wants to keep moving. Eventually, their outpost is overrun by these murderous fiends and the group makes a stand...even the horrid whore in training known as Fast Lane Debbie (Jade Regier) and the wannabe Hunter love interest Alison (Claire Niederpruem, Vamp U).
It's motion picture blender time, people. Zombie Hunter is our chance to see just how much about horror and post-apocalyptic gibberish our writer/director Kevin King can spew forth in 90 minutes. Turns out, it's quite a lot. We get riffs on everything from George Miller to George Romero, Nightmare City to City of the Living Dead. There's even lifts from Grindhouse, Planet Terror (isn't that the same thing?), 300, and the entirety of the Quentin Tarantino guidebook. In fact, the film's only saving grace are those moments when King mimics Zack Snyder and gives Trejo some trippy slo-mo heroics as he battles baddies with a bloody axe. As for the rest of the film, it's an irritating amalgamation of one fright geek's fetid fever dreams. The narrative makes no sense (the whole "Satan" angle is approached, then dropped, then reactivated once some silly CG demons show up) and every character is so completely reprehensible that you'd rather see them die at the mandibles of some pizza dough faced creatures than spend one more minute bemoaning their laughable end of the world fate.
If this is supposed to be campy, cheesy fun, Mr. King misses the mark by a mega-mile. The overall feel is sloppy and subpar, as if getting Trejo was the only reason the production could find backing. All this otherwise awful movie cares about is showing off. King has clearly weaned at the televised teat of his favorite home video offerings and decides that, since he has nothing original or interesting to say within the genre, he will simply copy his favorite bits. This leads to all manner of cinematic schizophrenia. One moment, it's trying to be a scary spaghetti western. The next, it's a sex farce. A single sequence can shift from proposed terror to unintentional comedy to equally laughable sci-fi seriousness and we're supposed to find this fascinating. Instead, once Trejo leaves the scene, we are stuck with a group of unlikable nobodies who basically end up dying off because they've got less IQ points than their walking dead counterparts. There's no atmosphere of dread, just a clear sensation of being taken for a talentless, grade-Z ride.
Aside from Trejo, the cast are completely forgettable -- even Ms. Regier who you'd think would be a natural at playing the unquenchable slut. They either overact horribly or fail to nail down a single specific characterization. Mr. Copping is perhaps the worst, having all the heroic authority of Robert Gitny circa Warrior of the Lost World. He's dense, as appealing as a bag of used Band-Aids, and can't seem to muster up enough meanness to make his threats seem anything less than empty. Given the fact that most here are nameless day players in the business called show, it's up to Trejo to save the day, and again, when he's wielding a weapon and looking like a caged Minotaur, we believe in the badness. Then, he drops out of the film and everything just peters out and dies. Some may get a kitschy kick out of the way King combines references in order to create a kind of lunatic fringe feel. On the other hand, Zombie Hunter is so horrid, so lacking in legitimate entertainment value that camp may be all it's capable of.
Oddly enough, this is a pretty good looking Blu-ray. King did a lot of fiddling in post, including the addition of odd wipes, a few insert names and tags, and a lot of color correction and flash-worthy animation. The results turn the low budget leanings of the 2.35:1/1080p digitally shot widescreen image into something almost professional. Almost. Similarly, the sound situation is pretty good as well. Sure, the DTS-HD Master Audio 6.0 mix doesn't take full advantage of the various cues King throws at it, but it delivers the dialogue and the occasional aural in-jokes aside. There's also a Dolby 2.0 Stereo alternative provided. As for added content, there's a trailer. That's it.
When you hire Danny Trejo and give your movie a title like Zombie Hunter, you better be prepared to deliver the horror geek goods. Kevin King can't and won't. Instead, he hopes borrowing from his betters would work. It doesn't.
Guilty. A goofy, god-awful mess.
Review content copyright © 2013 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 6.0 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R