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Electric Zombies (2006)

DVD Cover (Sub Rosa Studios)
Genres:
Horror, Zombie Film
Director:
John Specht John Specht
Starring:
Nicole Ashmore Nicole Ashmore
Trudy Lynn Barr Trudy Lynn Barr
Jim Keith Jim Keith
Lorelei Mahoney Lorelei Mahoney
Jonas Moses Jonas Moses

1.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 10, 2006
To begin this review, let's take a quote from the description found on the back of the DVD case:

A secret government plan to influence America's enemies via cell phone signals turns into a nightmare when the technology leaks into the U.S. Now, one by one, people are being turned into zombies simply by answering their cell phones.

It's a bizarre coincidence that this movie was released this week, as I just finished reading Stephen King's Cell (a book with a very similar premise) this past Sunday. When I saw this film listed on new-release Sunday over at Netflix just a few hours later, I thought "what the hell, why not" and popped it into my queue. I was expecting a complete rip-off of King's novel, chock-full of bad zombie makeup and even worse gore effects, but I was expecting a somewhat entertaining zombie film nonetheless. The problem here is actually quite the opposite of what I thought: this is in no way a rip-off of King's book, because it has nothing to do with zombies.

At this point, you're probably saying to yourself "But the title of the movie has the word Zombies in it! The description says that people are turned into zombies!" Yes, I was a bit confused by that as well, but after sitting through the extremely torturous ninety minutes that made up the film known as Electric Zombies, I can safely say that there were no zombies to be found.

So then, what do you get with this film? You get the pleasure of watching a crooked cop deal drugs with his biker buddies as well as his gangsta business-partners. You're treated to watching a senator have sex with a black prostitute, and later, you get to see a young lady give him a massage (a good back shaving would have worked wonders for this scene). Oh yeah, and there's something in there about cell phones that allow the caller to control the mind of the callee and make them do whatever they want, which is where the whole "zombie" thing comes from. However, this part of the storyline does not make up the majority of the film like one would expect, as it just seems to be thrown in at random intervals in order to give the viewer a break from the constant drug-deals and gangsta talk. Honestly, if I were to compare this to another film, it wouldn't be Dawn Of The Dead; no sir, a better comparison would be White Boyz N The Hood.

Now, no matter how bad a film may be, I try to give an unbiased description of it in case some of you fine readers decide to go against my advice and give it a viewing. I'm not going to do that here, because frankly, I didn't know what the hell was going on for the grand majority of the movie thanks to the awful acting abilities of the cast and the horrible directing skills of a certain John Specht. Want an example of how bad the acting is? Watch as a young woman has a gun pointed at her head by a stranger who has busted into her house, and although she's supposed to be terrified, she's smiling and only about two seconds away from busting out into a full-fledged belly laugh. I've seen fast-food commercials in which a dancing chicken was infinitely more convincing than the effort that these people put forward. I suppose that some of this could be blamed on a laughable script ("I'm forty-two. You know what Mozart was doing at my age? He was... dead."), but the cast found within this film should never consider themselves actors or actresses.

I could have ignored these horrid casting decisions had this been a mindless zombie flick as the deceptive description made it out to be. Watching a group of people being dismembered by zombies doesn't require award-winning performances, so I could have let it slide in that case. But no, you get to watch these people talk and chat and discuss things and interact and carry on (and on, and on, and...) for the entire ninety minutes. There's very little action to be found, and when you do get some, it's your typical "guy pulls a gun, points, shoots" scene before fading off into some more chit-chat. Some gore would have made even these uninspired scenes somewhat interesting, but save for an admittedly-decent (decent, as in, a small step below good) segment in which the senator's penis falls off, there's hardly any blood or gore to be found.

Alright, so you've got horrible actors and actresses talking for ninety minutes with nary a bit of blood or action to be found. How could this film possibly be any worse? Well, you could hand the camera over to Mr. Specht and tell him to film it, that's how. Now, I have never made a film and I'm sure that if I did, the results wouldn't be pretty. I know absolutely nothing about how to shoot a film and what equipment is needed to make things somewhat pleasant for the home viewer. However, I do know that using the raw audio from a cheap handheld camera for a scene in which the two actors are talking to one another while seated in separate cars and the director is standing outside isn't a good idea. I'm also fairly certain that running down the effects list of iMovie or whatever movie-making program that they used and incorporating at least one (fade, tremor, color-change, etc) into every scene probably wouldn't be the best way to enhance your film. To get to the point, the directing "skills" found within this film produced not the entertaining film that I'm sure everyone involved expected, but instead, something more along the lines of "Don't Make Your Own Damn Movie." For that, I recommend that every first-time director track down a copy of this film and give it at least one viewing so that these mistakes are never again committed to film.

I support independent cinema and I try to feature as much of it as possible on this site, but this is the kind of movie that leaves a huge blemish on independent film-making as a whole. It's rubbish, pure and simple, and I do hope that any Joe Average's who decide to pick this up from their local Blockbuster realize that this is not the norm with independent cinema. While most indie offerings do feature special effects and acting that remind you that the people involved didn't have access to millions of dollars to put their film together, they're not all pieces of complete and utter shit like this one. 0/10.
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