Action Movie Fanatix Review: Dead Season

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On This Island, Survival Is No Game

Starring: Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns

Director: Adam Deyoe

2012  |  88 Minutes  |  Unrated

“He’s doing what he has to do to keep the people that he loves alive.” – Elvis

It’s zombie time again here on Action Movie Fanatix.  I’ve seen about a billion zombie movies ranging from the totally awesome all the way down to the dreadfully terrible.  And yet, even after all the zombie duds I have seen I still keep coming back for more.  Enter Dead Season…

After a worldwide zombie outbreak, Elvis (Scott Peat) and Tweeter (Marissa Merrill) get on a boat and head for an island off the coast of Florida.  Once there they encounter a small group of survivors.  Soon after they discover the island has a food shortage and the great lengths these survivors will go to survive.

The beginning of the movie is a little confusing.  We are sort of introduced to two characters via them talking to each other on walkie talkies.  They are planning a time to meet.  It feels a little like they are going on a blind date.  Then we get a shot of the girl stealing a bunch of food from the guy, he chases her and the next scene they are friends… and there’s a kid.  It’s never clear if there was a previous relationship between the two.  They later say that Elvis was a babysitter for Tweeter at some point.  It may have been a joke but it is unclear whether or not Elvis was joking when he told the story.

Bad camera angles and cinematography seemingly to hide how cheap everything looks just came off as being even more cheap.  The music attempts to amp up the excitement but when you have a blasting guitar riff that seemingly spells danger for the protagonists but when they look back there are no zombies following them.

Then they kill some zombies, get on a boat, the kid gets bit, they kill the kid, find an island, kill more zombies and meet some survivors.  This all feels like it happens in about 10 minutes.  And we still don’t get any sense for who these people are.  I don’t know if I want to root for them, they could be serial killers for all I know.

I was going to write that these actors really suck at acting but then I started to feel a little bit bad.  It would suck if people started blogs to talk about how horrible I am at my job, although I wouldn’t be shocked if my boss went that route at some point.  That said, the acting is not good even though I am sure they are doing their best.  A for effort, C- for actual performance.

But it isn’t all their fault.  The dialogue and direction is pretty terrible as well.  It becomes quite clear that there was never any intention to tell us who the main characters even are.  They are given very little backstory by the writing and are given very little personality by the acting and direction.

The one character that actually has a personality is the militant leader of the survivors, Kurt Conrad (James C. Burns).  He doesn’t seem like a good guy and he definitely doesn’t come across as innocent but you get a sense of where he is coming from.

And then they all eat human flesh…  This is probably the point where this movie finally pulls people in or completely loses them (if it hadn’t already).  Count me among the latter.  I’m just one of those people that no matter how horrible things get, I’m just not going to eat another person.  You just can’t pull me into a moral dilemma about choosing to keep grinding on or kill and eat another person.

And then we find out they’ve had a boat this whole time and could have at least tried to find another island that had food.  It just makes the above “moral dilemma” even less meaningful.

The zombies in Dead Season usually consists of some grey makeup on the face, dirty clothes and blood sprayed all over the place.  So, it’s not the best I’ve ever seen.

The gore effects are at times impressive.  I was actually a little shocked at how good/gross it looked.  After seeing the poor camera work and zombie makeup I was assuming I would just be seeing a lot of crappy blood effects but I was wrong.  Heads are lopped off and in half, organs are spilled and the blood sprays… oh does the blood spray.

The blood spray actually bugged me a little bit.  They keep referring to the zombies as being infected and yet when the zombies’ blood is sprayed all over their faces and mouths they never get infected.  I know this happens plenty in other zombie movies but Dead Season’s filmmakers took extra care in getting closeup shots of their faces as blood sprayed everywhere.  They actually want us to pay attention to the infected blood spraying all over our “heroes” faces and not infecting them.

So, you can probably guess where I landed on Dead Season.  BEST MOVIE EVER it was not.  If you take out the “moral dilemma” this movie has absolutely nothing original in it.  In fact, it feels like it is ripping off a bunch of other zombie movies.  Pile the ever present feeling of cheapness and mediocre acting on top of that and you are left with something that feels like a meaningless, derivative zombie romp that is never fun, funny, thought provoking or exciting.  Something tells me this isn’t what they were going for.

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