Dead Men Walking (2005)

DVD Cover (The Asylum Home Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Prison Film, Zombie Film
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Peter Mervis Peter Mervis
Bay Bruner Bay Bruner
Griff Furst Griff Furst
Chriss Anglin Chriss Anglin
Bobby James Bobby James
Brandon Stacy Brandon Stacy
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4.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: July 10, 2006
There have been countless low-budget zombie films hitting store shelves in recent years thanks to the popularity of films such as Shaun Of The Dead and the remake (shudder) of Dawn Of The Dead. Some of these releases have been good and some have even been great, but the vast majority of them are really nothing memorable. Sure, the zombie film is my favorite horror subgenre and I can usually get some entertainment from just about anything containing the walking dead, but this flood of crap has left me expecting the worse whenever a new zombie title is released. Thankfully, tonight's entry into the genre did not disappoint.

To be honest, there's not a whole lot to be said about the plot. The movie begins with a man murdering four people, and just as he finishes them off, the police break down the door and arrest him. What they don't know is that these murder victims were actually zombies, and that our murderous hero has been infected thanks to getting some zombie blood in his mouth during the killings. All the police see is a man with a shotgun in his hand and four dead bodies on the floor, so naturally, they handcuff him and immediately take him to a maximum security prison. Once inside the prison, it doesn't take long for this near-zombie to infect a couple of people, each of those people infect a couple more, and before you can say "outbreak", the entire prison is crawling with flesh-hungry zombies. With most of the prison dead (excuse me, undead), a CDC investigator by the name of Samantha Beckett (Bay Bruner) and a prisoner named Johnny (Griff Furst) are tasked with the unenviable mission of surviving the ordeal and making it out the front gate... but they don't call this a "maximum security" prison for nothing.

Indeed, there's really not a whole lot going on here in terms of the storyline, and that's one of the only negative things to be said about the film. Now, I'm fine with a mindless zombie film where the only storyline is that the humans have to survive a zombie onslaught; it's been done before in other films, and it works out nicely sometimes. My problem with it in this particular film is that we're treated to numerous dialogue sequences where the actual dialogue isn't necessary. For example, we get to watch as a preacher gives a five-minute lecture to Samantha about how she needs to live and move on with her life, we witness Samantha taking her time (another five minutes) explaining where the virus came from, and there are a sad number of similar scenes. My problem with these scenes weren't their inclusion alone; no, my problem was that they took such a simple piece of the storyline ("a team of scientists in South Africa were working on something to bring the dead back to life") and padded them out so as to, I'm assuming, stretch the movie out to a semi-respectable running time of about seventy-five minutes.

With that out of the way, the movie works nicely in just about every other regard. Although there is nothing new to be found here (the zombies-in-prison idea had been done before, albeit not as good: see Zombie Death House), the movie will surely please any fan of the zombie subgenre that wants a mindless evening of entertainment. There's enough blood, guts, dismembered limbs, and flesh-eating goodness to please any gorehound out there, and we get a damned strong performance from Chriss Anglin, who plays a hard-nosed prison guard that manages to steal every scene that he appears in. There's not a whole lot to be said about the other actors and actresses involved as they're of the low-budget horror film variety (ie, they're pretty bad), but nobody is bad enough to bring the movie down on their own.

Overall, it's an entertaining film that could have been so much better had those pesky dialogue sequences been remedied. I'd have been fine with an hour-long film to avoid those padded scenes, but as is, they do drag the movie down a bit. Otherwise, it's a damned fine film that zombie fans will definitely enjoy. 7/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 07/11/2006, 01:52 AM
Picked this one up the other day for shits and giggles, and certainly didn't receive giggles. Wow, what a steaming pile of the former. The zombie genre is dead and needs to go on hiatus for a while...let is rest for a decade and then re-emerge as a powerhouse. For now, if this is all we have to look forward to, you might want to go ahead and consider the entire horror genre dead. This was one of the most pitiful attempts at zombie horror I have ever seen...it makes Full Moon's "The Dead Hate the Living" look like a masterpiece. I cannot give a recommendation to a film that steals from every other film in the genre and doesn't offer anything new of creative to the genre whatsoever. 0/10. Yes, it was THAT bad!
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