Automaton Transfusion (2006)

DVD Cover (Dimension Extreme)
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Three teens find themselves in a town over run with zombies. Deciding to fight back, they go on a punch you in the throat, action packed, non stop ride through the city, woods, and schools. --IMDb
Garrett Jones
Garrett Jones
Juliet Reeves London
Juliet Reeves London
William Howard
William Howard
Rowan Bousaid
Rowan Bousaid
Ashley Elizabeth Pierce
Ashley Elizabeth Pierce
Review by Chad
Added: July 16, 2008
Back in March when Automaton Transfusion was released, I passed on it regardless of the genre (I'm a sucker for zombie flicks) and that excellent cover. It was nothing against the film itself; I'd never heard of the filmmakers or any of the cast members, I hadn't read anything good or bad about the film itself, and the premise of the film sounded decent enough for a zombie film. Quite simply, I was just tired of the zombie genre as a whole thanks to the flood of shitty direct-to-video releases that left me longing for the next Romero to come along and redefine the genre... or at least make a good movie.

Moving along to last Friday, I saw the film sitting in the bargain bin and checked it out. The front cover boasted that this is "one of the best zombie films in decades", while another quote on the back of the case assured me that this was "the holy grail of true independent horror films." Both of these quotes came from Bloody Disgusting, a site that I find myself agreeing with more often than not, so for the meager price of just ten bucks, I soon became the latest sucker to fall for those deceptive quotes.

Immediately after the credits started to roll, I had to fight the urge to write a strongly-worded letter to that reviewer before deleting the site from my RSS reader. Folks, Automaton Transfusion isn't just mediocre and it's not just another bad zombie movie - this is easily one of the worst movies that I've seen this year and maybe even "in decades." The "holy grail"? Yeah, it might be "the holy grail" of skull-fuckingly awful movies.

Stop me if you've heard this storyline before. A group of teenage punks from Nowhere, USA soon find themselves in a town that is being overrun by the undead, and they must band together to fend off the zombies and make it through the night. This particular group - Scott (William Howard Bowman), Tim (Rowan Bousaid), Chris (Garrett Jones), and his girlfriend Jackie (Juliet Reeves) - moves from hiding spot to hiding spot, meeting survivors along the way who each give their own little input on the situation before meeting their own grisly ends. Finally, they decide that they should head over to the local school and look for survivors, because, you know, everyone runs to the nearest school during a zombie outbreak. I wish I could say that this was just the introduction to the movie or a brief synopsis, but save for some character development and a whole lot of shitty screamo music, this was basically the entire film.

Let's get the good out of the way first, because quite frankly, there isn't a whole lot of it. The "good" comes to us courtesy of the gore, of which there is plenty, and surprisingly, some of it looks pretty damned good. It in no way makes up for the horrific shell of a movie that surrounds it and it's nothing that makes the film worthy of a viewing, but I'll give the effects crew credit for putting together some good gags and being liberal with the red stuff. The zombies look decent enough, and even though I'm not a huge fan of "sprinters" (and I'm even less a fan of zombies that scream loud enough to put a T. Rex to shame), I can't say anything bad about the makeup jobs. I also thought that William Howard Bowman was pretty good in his role, but again, his performance doesn't make the movie worth watching.

Those are the only good things that I have to say about the film, so let's move on to the rest of the movie, shall we? The first thing that you'll notice after popping this disc in is the awful quality of the film itself. It's sort of like watching a YouTube video, only, YouTube has recently added a "high quality" option that makes their videos look a whole hell of a lot better than this film. Now, being a lover of independent releases, I've grown accustomed to watching films that aren't shot and edited on state-of-the-art equipment, and as such, I usually don't even point this sort of thing out. I'm far from an expert in the field and I can't point out what model or type of camera was used for a given film, but if I had to guess, I'd say that this was shot on a circa 2002 cell phone. The motion is jerky and leaves trails, the colors are washed out, and the film quite literally gave me a headache based on the look alone. As if that wasn't bad enough, the filmmakers decided to use the MTV-style of filmmaking - you know, instead of just showing us the action, we get to see it from thirty different angles with each angle lasting about half a second.

How about that soundtrack? You'll love this movie if you like mallcore music made for kids who are "unique" and who "like, nobody understands" (excuse me, screamo), but everyone else will find their ears bleeding by the five-minute mark of the movie. To be fair, I'm not a fan of the genre anyway (could you tell?), but I've always said that it's hard to use honest-to-goodness "we've got a band and a vocalist!" music in a film with good results. A quick clip of a song while the group is driving down the road? Sure, that's fine. Shoving in almost an entire CD's worth of music in the first twenty minutes alone? That is pushing it, and that is just another reason that I found sitting through Automaton Transfusion harder than, say, sitting through my own castration with no anesthesia.

Storyline? I'm going to have to give the film a huge "fail" in that category as well. Granted, most zombie films don't have a lot going for them in terms of storyline, but most find a way to make this work - maybe you throw in some interesting characters, or perhaps you put a unique spin on the outbreak, or hell, maybe you just throw the characters in a building and let the audience take bets on how long the doors and boards will hold up. Here, we're given a formulaic film that repeats the same damned scenes over and over again up until the ending: the main characters run, an unimportant character (read: someone who has no relevance to the film and whose first scene consists of them getting eaten) is devoured, the main characters run some more, another unimportant character is devoured, the main characters run to another location. Repeat as needed, throw in a few characters who actually get some lines before being eaten, and you've got most of the plot for this film.

The rest of this review contains spoilers, so if you're still contemplating watching this for some ungodly reason, go ahead and skip the rest. 0/10, the movie is awful, don't be fooled, yatta yatta yatta. Everyone else, well... buckle in, there's stupid up ahead.

So, it's revealed that the janitor of the local high school is actually an undercover army scientist of some sort(!), the zombies were created by the military for use in Vietnam(!!), and there's a serum at the nearby morgue that will prevent the injectee from contracting the zombie virus(!!!). Ignoring the fact that not catching the virus won't do them a whole lot of good after they've been torn to pieces, the remaining members of the group head over to the morgue to inject themselves, and there, they encounter - wait for it - ninjas. Ninjas? Yeah, I thought the same thing.

They run outside, see the horde of zombies waiting for them, the leading man raises his shotgun, and... "TO BE CONTINUED." I'm not kidding, the movie just ends right there. What the fuck kind of bullshit ending is that? The movie might have been excruciating, but if I'm going to sit through the entire goddamned thing, I want some sort of satisfying ending, or hell, an ending of any sort. There might be a sequel in the works, but you don't just end the movie in mid-fucking-scene like that. This scene was the final cherry on top of the "fuck you" sundae that was Automaton Transfusion.

I'm sure that it's just a formality at this point, but avoid this film like the plague. Actually, catching the plague and dying a long, agonizing death would be preferable to sitting through this pile of shit again. Fuck this movie, fuck the guys who made it, and fuck the distributor for giving it an audience. 0/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 07/16/2008, 02:42 PM
That last paragraph sums it up beautifully. HORRIBLE excuse of a film. 0/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 07/16/2008, 02:47 PM
After reading this review this morning, I had to check it out. I immediately downloaded the film and watched it, on and off, here at work. I guess the only thing I need to add to the above review is: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 0/10. Pathetic...just pathetic.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 07/16/2008, 06:54 PM
Sometimes the bad reviews are the most fun to write. You seemed to have had a blast.
Cryptorchild #4: Cryptorchild - added 07/17/2008, 06:07 AM
Yeah this movie is shit. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone with this opinion.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 09/15/2008, 01:22 AM
Chock up another miss for Dimension Extreme. Fuck this movie.

Andy van Heel #6: Andy van Heel - added 08/05/2011, 07:09 AM
Just saw this one last night with my comrade. I bought it almost a year ago, but I kept it for the right moment. I fucking LOVED this movie. Don't understand the bad comments. Acting was average, I really saw worse (Midnight Skater, Meat Market, Video Violence, ...) , the gore was good. OK, there was no storyline worth mentionning, but it was such a good effort, such a nice try, for me, I give it a big 7/10. Recommended for gorehounds and zombifans.
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