Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig
Starring: Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay, Rob Jenkins, and Lisa Cunningham
Running Time: 104 minutes
On a seeminly dull and average day in Berkeley, a meteor shower interrupts life in the normally quiet town. The deadly meteors wreak havoc on the townfolk but once they subside, something even more horrifying begins. The dead rise up with a hunger for human flesh and now the survivors must fight to stay alive. Rene (played by Felicity Mason), Berkeley's reigning fish queen, and four other citizens find themselves stranded at the home of the town crazy, Marion (played by Mungo McKay). Marion believes that the zombies are only the first stage of an alien invasion and that he is the one chosen to stop them.
The Spierig brothers give zombie fans everything they could want and more in this quirky and spastic horror film. The soundtrack hearkens us back to the black and white age of horror, never relying on a hip or pulsing electronic score to let people know when the action's about to start. The scenes are shot with incredible flexibility and much of the action is so tight, it's claustrophobic. Undead is also tinged with the darkest humor and never gets too serious without something completely ludicrous happening to interrupt any drama.
All of the actors do a fine job in Undead. Felicity Mason and Mungo McKay give standout performances. Dirk Hunter who plays the foul-mouthed and belligerent constable, Harrison, is also very good. Harrison is the kind of character that every zombie movie needs: a complete asshole.
The special effects in the film are incredible. For an estimated budget of a million dollars (AUD), the crew did an amazing job in bringing this wild tale to life. This is one of the reasons why the film works as a horror and a sci-fi flick. From Reneís Matrix-style saw attack on the zombies to the residents of Berkeley floating above the town, Undead feels like a film with a much larger budget. The filmmakers also piled on the blood, guts, and severed limbs giving horror fans even more reason to rejoice.
Comparisons to Peter Jacksonís Braindead (aka Dead Alive) are easy to make but Undead holds it own. Besides, Braindead is over a decade old and considering that the world can never have enough slapstick zombie action, fans shouldnít get too worked up over the similarities. The Spierig zombies even call to mind some of Sam Raimiís creations. In a genre rife with rip-offs and remakes, Undead is the least of our problems.
Fans of zombie flicks need to check out Undead. While not completely original, the film does manage to be unique with its combination of bizarre plot tangents, nutty characters, and over the top violence (yeah I know, Braindead, get over it). Itís funny as hell and definitely a sign of good things to come in Australian horror movies. Heads exploding, faces peeled off, torsos ripped in half, disembowelments, etc. What more could you ask for?