Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recent problems with the Zombie genre

So I just got done watching a movie on Netflix called The Horde.  I was suckered in by the high ratings the film received from the Netflix community.  Sadly I sat through a film teeming with problems that have become common place within the genre. 
The story involves a group of cops who enter a dilapidated high rise to get revenge on the gangsters who killed one of their own.  Unceremoniously (and never explained) a "horde" of zombies show up and start wreaking havok on the two groups.  They have to put their differences aside to survive, which sounds like an interesting premise, but that side story falls apart rather quickly.  They all decide, without a single debate, that they should find a way out of the building. 
I don't understand this logic at all.  They know there are 1000's of the undead just waiting for them outside. Why not try to hole up somewhere, build a strong defense, and wait out the storm... zombies or not flesh decays so inevitably they would pose less of a threat if their joints couldn't function anymore right? 
So it was difficult for me to root for their cause when the basic plan was so flawed.  Add in the fact that none of the characters are likable in the least and you have a recipe for tedium.  Anyways, I've been pondering what is wrong with the zombie genre after watching the film and came up with a few points.

1.  I may be alone in this, but I really don't like fast zombies.  It has been done decently before (Dawn of the Dead remake), but for the most part I just don't like the idea of them.  A dead person should be all stiff from rigor mortis, so it would make sense if they struggled to move and lumbered around.  I find it far more realistic (granted the idea of zombies in general is pretty crazy, but still).  These fast zombies always seem to have the strength of 10 men too.

2. I'm a bit tired of the whole social statement message.  The "we are the real monsters" thing.  I would much prefer a simple "oh crap they want to eat us, let's kill them before they kill us" scenario.  I know most people would freak out in a panic, but some of these movies just push this message to the extreme, The Horde being a prime example.

3. Zombie films have also become far more action oriented.  Now I love my gore and admittedly a lot of the reason for watching a film like this is to see some messed up stuff.  The problem with the action lately is the overfast editing.  I read an article a week or so ago about this new phenomena which has been called Chaos Editing.  Basically the scenes just come across as random madness, meant to overwhelm your senses and excite you.  As a contrast, think of one of your favorite action films from bygone eras.  Die Hard, for example, set up their confrontations in a well thought out and easy to understand way.  The final scene, where McClane has a gun taped to his back is a nice one to point to.  We are given the information, the crooks have the girl, he's seemingly unarmed, finds his opportunity, and takes it. 
In contrast, take a look at most action films today.  There's sooo much going on onscreen and so many edits, it is difficult to even get a sense for what side of the room everyone is standing on.  I believe this trend will eventually end, but in the meantime we will be forced to endure more of it.  I worry about future films I am looking forward to falling into this trap.  Jurassic Park 4 has been announced... I remember how well thought out the original was.  We knew where the raptors were, but it was still very tense and exciting.  They didn't need 5000 edits in the span of a few minutes to convey the terror and adrenaline we all were supposed to feel. 

4. Ammo conservation!  If you are fighting a legion of the undead and you have established that shots to the head will put them down for good DON'T keep pumping shotgun blasts into their chest!  Save your ammo.  GEEZ!

5. I'm just getting tired of zombies in general I think.  There have been just way too many.  Obviously some are going to be really good, but there sure is a lot of muck to walk through to get to the good stuff.  I didn't watch Zombieland for the longest time cause I was sick of em. Luckily I did cause it was a good one. 

Anyone have something to add to this topic?  Tired of Chaos Editing too?  I swear, once you know about it you will see it everywhere (The Dark Knight, James Bond, Superhero flicks... etc).