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Rick McGrath [Celluloid 10.31.08] post apocalyptic movie review

Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Director: Mickey Cardoni / Ionas von Zezschwitz
Writers: Mickey Cardoni / Ionas von Zezschwitz
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Dr. Nathan
Rating: 5 out of 10

It seems a common truism that zombies tend to not only crave goopy body bits, but are doomed to drag around a lot of symbolic baggage in whatever story they appear. Unfortunately, the zombies in Walking Among The Dead are so burdened with metaphoric baggage an uncharitable reviewer might suggest that’s why they slowly stagger around so much.

Basically, Dr Nathan feels a tad bifurcated about viewing the World Premiere of Walking Among The Dead, which played at Toronto’s Royal Theatre October 30. On one chewed hand, this is a great zero-budget story about the post-apocalyptic becoming completely apocalyptic. On the other gnawed knuckle, our still-human protagonists are such a bunch of philosophizing twits one can hardly wait for them to succumb to the horrors around them and emerge as the now-thankfully-grunting undead.

Writers Mickey Cardoni and Ionas von Zezchwitz (they also direct, produce, edit and star) have concocted an appealing little yarn about some near-future time when some kind of bioweapon technology has misfired and the earth is suddenly, swiftly overrun with the undead. Hayden (Mickey Cardoni) finds shelter from the undead storm in the town’s sewage system, and during his expeditions to find food and gasoline for his generator, he meets up with and joins forces with the optimistic Richard (Shane Heath), the self-possessed Taurie (Kevin Schandelneier), outdoorsman Tom (Taso Triantafillou), wacko cult leader David (Ionas von Zezchwitz) and his main disciple, Gwen (Dolapo Onayemi).

From then on, one of two things happens – either we have a great time as they fight and lose to the undead, or they sit around and endlessly philosophize about (1) we’ve been bad Christians and god is punishing us by allowing satan’s evil to walk the earth, or (2) we’ve been bad humans and this is mother nature bringing down the curtain on humanity. The first point of view – this is all the old testament god wreaking havoc on sinners – is beaten to death for a big chunk of this flick. Ionas von Zezchwitz plays cult leader David as if he was already half undead, unleashing a stupendously underplayed character who still manages to convince his tiny flock to do a Jim Jones and cool-aid themselves into oblivion.

Well, to be kind, von Zezchwitz is stuck in the same amateur actor glue as all the characters. None of them are even remotely believable in their roles, but in a shoestring production like this, you pretty well expect it. Whatever you can think of -- camera work, sound, costumes, editing, script – is about as bad and cheap as you can get. I’m not slogging that, though, because a good story and some neat bits can forgive a lot of amateur antics. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

The second point of view (sorry, got sidetracked) is more realistically portrayed by Taurie and Tom as rugged individualists. Both, for some inexplicable reason, want to get to a nearby city, and their desire to travel sets up the other Socratic argument, the environmental one, which they endlessly discuss with Hayden and Richard.

OK, the dialogue sucks. What about the undead? Here’s where the story picks up, both for cast and crew, as it soon becomes apparent it’s the blood and guts that turns on our filmmakers. Yes, there are some great scenes. Sure, the George Romero red jelly is spread around like the earth is peanut butter, but watch for a zombie to wrench his own hand off, for one of our heroes to have his arm ripped off at the shoulder, and for a bevy of the undead to dip into an exposed abdomen of gooey guts. Low point in the mayhem is the chopping up of a naked female undead thingie, who, for some surreal reason, is found tied to a tree deep in the woods. Sure, the gratuitous boobs and almost crotch shots got the audience going, but talk about flesh for flesh’s sake. Hey, at least they didn’t endlessly talk about it (but you could tell they wanted to). Altho I do have a question – why do the undead need to eat, anyway? And if so, why don’t they eat each other? These are the kinds of topics I wished they had discussed.

Of all the actors, Cardoni is the best of a bad bunch -- cool are the “stunts” he pulls off in a truly amazing fashion – and von Zezchwitz perhaps the worst as the flat and uninspiring religious leader with too much to say, and no raw emotion to fan his fire and brimstone. He’s basically interested in suicide -- cheery. Heath is reasonable as the follower Richard. Schandelmeier is generally acceptable, as is Triantafillou, as the objective realist and outdoorsman. The only other character to exhibit any real acting skills is Onayemi, who also tends to light up the screen with her camera-loving face and killer bod.

So, what do we have here? Zombies as symbols, either representing our spiritual fall from grace, or our complete disregard for the environment. Or both. Bottom line, if Mickey and Ionas had lessened up on the talking and spent more time actually walking, the result wouldn’t be half as dead as this movie.

Ionas von Zezschwitz & Mickey Cardoni at the premiere.

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funcrusher (13 years ago) Reply

i didn't go to this movie with really high expectations. like, i realized that it was non-budget and the acting in the trailer wasn't amazing but i figured it got a screening so, it must be not TOO horrible.

anyway, this movie was BAD. REALLY BAD. i could barely sit through it...not even being drunk and drinking during the movie helped.

i really don't want to shit on something some people worked so hard to make, but so much of this movie was pretty unforgiveable. i want my ten dollars back.


Miguel (13 years ago) Reply

This movie was so horrible that it almost felt like a joke. It felt like it was never screened for anyone and the only people who saw it before were the ones in the movie. I think Mickey and Ionas should be mad at thier friends for never telling them the truth of how bad it was and for letting it go this far. Tried to be smart, but was a huge bore fest. I love horror movies but this trash should be canned ASAP to save them any more embaressment. My spelling might be off, oh well it's early in the morning. My favorite scene is when they're in the sewer and the echo is so bad you can't even understand the dialogue, maybe that was a good thing though.

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