DreadWorld Review: 'Anger of The Dead' (2016)

Zombie films. To say there is an over abundance of them populating the various streaming services these days. You can certainly thank the success of "The Walking Dead" for a lot of that clutter. However, for those of you older than say 15, there was a zombie movement long before Rick started going for the Guinness World Record for pained faces every Sunday night. The zombie movement can be traced back to the legendary George Romero and his "...Of The Dead Films" Night, Dawn, and Day. While George has gone on to continue his series of "Dead" films over the last decade and a half with varying amounts of success, many "...Of The Dead" copies have sprung up in his wake. Most of them suck rather large monkey balls. Fortunately, Francesco Picone's Anger Of The Dead (Age of the Dead in some places) is a lot better than most of the zombie rip off dreck that's released these days.

In the first of what are dual main plots, Alice (Roberta Sparta) finds herself pregnant and virtually alone in a world ravaged by the zombie apocalypse. Her only companions are two strangers whose only mission is survival. When they hear a radio broadcast describing an island that is unaffected by the plague of zombies they do not know whether to believe it or ignore it. Tragedy strikes and Alice finds herself alone, fighting for not only her survival, but that of her unborn child while clinging to the hope of salvation.

The other plot finds a young woman escape from a  disturbing research facility after being raped and brutalized. Her only hope is knowing a life among flesh eating zombies is safer than life at the facility. After her escape, she is tracked by the facilities sadistic leader and his henchmen through the zombie filled apocalypse. The two plot lines briefly intersect at one of the films most well realized, tension filled moments.

Anger of the Dead comes to us via Italian first time feature director, Francesco Picone and is expanded from his short of the same name. It's a film that holds close the sensibilities of many of Picones Italian film making forefathers. Unfortunately, Anger of the Dead is being billed as and Uwe Boll "presents" film. Any cursory horror fan will equate Boll's name with a certain level of film, and that level is not good, which is a shame, because Anger of the Dead is a pretty good modern flesh eating zombie film.

The acting is what you would expect from an Italian cast making their best attempts at dramatic English. But as horror fans we are not watching Italian zombie films for the quality of the acting. We want the gore - and in that department Anger of the Dead certainly delivers. The make-up effects are well done. These zombies don't look like a bunch of folks wearing rubber masks. Nor are they some extras wearing a little eye black, rather these zombies come straight from KNB family tree. And there is plenty of red stuff flowing throughout the film.

But the gore factor isn't the only place where Anger of the Dead makes its bones. The story is actually pretty good. Granted, it hits a lot of the same beats that we've become accustomed to in the zombie genre, but the way Picone attacks the narrative is fresh and interesting. There are moments where the pacing of the film feels off, which most certainly is a function of Picone padding out his short film script to feature length. Despite this, we still care for Alice and her growth. The other quibble with the plot is that the parallel stories continue for far too long without their intersection, and when they do intersect, it's for far too short of a time before they dove tail away again.

Anger of the Dead is far from a perfect film. It has some laughable performances, some pacing problems,and some curious choices with the narrative. That being said, it's still a rather enjoyable viewing experience. What writer/director Francesco Picone fumbles with in the narrative he more than makes up for with the films tension and aesthetic. Anger of the Dead looks better than it should and plays better than most of the other low budget zombie films cluttering up streaming services. Look past the "Uwe Boll as producer" label and see Anger of the Dead for what it really is a tension filled, bleak and bloody look at the zombie apocalypse.

**2/3 stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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