Z is for Zombie, S is for Subtitle

World War ZMax Brooks’ World War Z is a very good book. The oral history concept is wonderful, allowing you to experience the zombie apocalypse from many different viewpoints. Previews for the movie version appear to focus on Brad Pitt so it would seem that World War Z the movie is not an adaptation of the book. Also the behavior of the zombies appears to be completely different. Because of this, I’m going to try and judge World War Z on its zombie and not literary merits.

Netflix is kind enough to provide an actual zombie category here. There are two lesser efforts from George Romero – Land of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Here are my zombie film picks on instant Netflix for your perusal (sorry for the subtitles):

Dead Snow

Dead Snow (2009) – Not rated

A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.”

Rec 3

[REC] 3: Genesis (2012) – Rated R

The third chapter in the blood-chilling REC franchise begins with protagonists Koldo and Clara about to be wed, when several guests begin falling ill. The scene quickly turns ghoulish as those infected by a demonic virus begin to go lethally mad.”

Rammbock

Rammbock (2010) – Not Rated

“Hoping to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, a lovesick young man drops in to see her but instead finds a brash teen plumber — and before you can say “the undead,” the twosome must barricade the door against a legion of insatiable zombies.”

 

Rammbock (Berlin Undead) – Bloody Disgusting Selects

Yup – I still haven’t run out of Bloody Disgusting Selects. Quality has been all over the map. Rammbock (Berlin Undead) is currently available on instant Netflix.

Rammbock – Berlin Undead (2010) – Not rated

“Hoping to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, a lovesick young man drops in to see her but instead finds a brash teen plumber — and before you can say “the undead,” the twosome must barricade the door against a legion of insatiable zombies.”

This is a wonderfully intimate viral zombie thriller. The vast majority of the movie takes place from hapless Michael’s point-of-view. As in Night of the Living Dead, the overall situation is communicated through the occasional television or radio transmission. Almost the entire movie takes place in a single apartment block.

Rammbock also wastes no time at all. There is only a single brief scene before the carnage begins. There are no character backgrounds and little character development. Rammbock is just a bunch of apartment dwellers trying to cope with a zombie outbreak.

The type of outbreak is borrowed liberally from 28 Days Later and [REC], both of which are better films. Rammbock’s zombies are clearly done on a budget and look somewhat like Evil Dead extras. Director Marvin Kren is aware of this and uses them sparingly, concentrating instead on the dwindling number of apartment dwellers.

The actors are all serviceable and look refreshingly like a random group of apartment dwellers. Michael Fuith has to carry the film as our protagonist and he is delightfully schlubby.

Rammbock maintains a breakneck pace straight through to the end of its one hour running time. Yes, writer Benjamin Hessler could have written a much longer script, throwing in additional characters, character development, or exposition but I’m glad that he didn’t. While not the best of zombie films, this is a very good one and only requires an hour’s worth of investment (but you will have to read subtitles).