Stream of the Week: Army of the Dead (Netflix)
Well, we got the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League earlier this year – so why not see what a “Snyder cut” of a zombie film would feel like?
Director Zack Snyder, of course, directed one of the modern great Zombie films Dawn of the Dead back in 2004, which is credited with revitalizing the genre and somewhat directly inspiring the classic Simon Pegg comedy Shaun of the Dead. At two and a half hours, Army of the Dead isn’t quite in “superhero epic” territory but it does feel long for the genre. Luckily, the movie doesn’t waste any time trying to explain what a zombie is or where “the virus” comes from. After a lightning-fast prologue, we’re treated to a gruesome and hilarious opening credits scene set to a lounge version of Viva Las Vegas.
Partway through the film, I found myself texting a friend of mine who is a big horror fan. “Is it like a comedy or an actual thriller?” “I’m still not sure,” I responded. The zombies themselves are genuinely creepy and whoever did the make-up deserves special mention. But this feels more like an action movie with some great comedic punchlines interspersed throughout.
What is most surprising is the film really delivers with heart, which is certainly not a typical zombie movie trait. Dave Bautista has come a long way from his WWE days, and it’s his scenes with his on-screen daughter (played magnificently by Ella Purnell) that lend the movie a sense of credibility. Bautista claimed it was an “instant no” when he was first pitched the film as he was searching for more dramatic roles. However, after reading the script and learning he could work with Snyder he eventually accepted.
This film has it all. From over-the-top Las Vegas set pieces, a killer soundtrack of exciting classic rock covers and even a zombie tiger, there really isn’t much this film is missing. Strap in and, as always, don’t think about it too much. It’s better that way.
Army of The Dead is currently available to stream on Netflix