There is a lot I will accept from a low budget film especially when it has no stars in it but I’m not as forgiving with a low budget film that uses stars to sell their film and make it seem more interesting then it really is. This is my biggest problem with Rise of the Zombies (2012). With names such as Danny Trejo, Mariel Hemingway, Ethan Suplee, and LeVar Burton you’d at least expect a half way decent and entertaining zombie film, but that is not the case.
When the zombie apocalypse occurs a group of survivors go to Alcatraz Island for safe haven. Lynn Snyder and Doctor Halpern (Hemingway and Burton, respectfully) are trying to find a cure for the zombie plague but are stopped at every turn by Captain Caspian (Trejo) who believes the only good zombie is a dead one. When Alcatraz becomes overrun by zombies they leave in the hopes of finding a Doctor Arnold (French Stewart) who holds the key to a cure for the plague.
Doesn’t sound that bad does it?
Looks can be deceiving as I found out the hard way from this complete mess of a film. Besides the script being something cobbled together from various Romero zombie films this film has absolutely no original bone in its body (other than setting the film on Alcatraz). Performances are worse than subpar which is surprising coming from the established talents up on screen (who I’m sure only did the film because of the pay check). I’ve come to expect some cheese with my low budget horror films but stupidity is a whole other story. None of the characters are smart and motivations are non-existent. This film took the best of other zombie films but didn’t know why they worked in those other films making this nothing but an excuse to get a bunch of stars together for a zombie film. I am surprised by Hemingway and Burton’s participation in this film as both deserve better and even Trejo (who has made a living in low budget horror film haven) seems to be phoning this film in (and it should come as no surprise that when he dies a third of the way in you are not in the least bit sorry).
These stars deserve better than this dredge and so do zombie fans.