Surprisingly, it’s been ages since I last saw a cheesy low-budget zombie movie. Seriously, the last ones I can think of is probably either “The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue” or possibly a really cool 1980s sci-fi/horror movie called “Lifeforce“, and I watched both of these at least a few years ago. It’s one of my favourite genres and, yet, before writing this review – I hadn’t seen a zombie movie in ages.
The DVD of “Armageddon Of The Dead” that I watched was a gift from my parents, after they found it in a charity shop and thought that I might like it (thanks again 🙂 ). Looking online, this film has also been called “Risen” at some point too (what is it with horror movies and multiple titles?)
One amusingly ironic thing about this film is that the blurb on the back of the (UK) DVD case makes the grandiose claim that the film “has been called one of the goriest, most violent films ever made“.
Of course, if you look slightly below this description on the DVD case, you can see that this film only has a “15” certificate.
So, for this hilariously ironic fact alone, I just had to check this film out as soon as I could.
Anyway, “Armageddon Of The Dead” is a film about a couple in Texas who are trying to find their daughter after the zombie apocalypse happens.
Like in many great zombie movies, there isn’t really that much of a reason given (eg: something to do with a train accident) for why the local area has suddenly filled up with zombies. And, like in many great zombie movies, the zombies here are traditional slow-moving zombies that infect people by biting them and who can only be killed by a shot to the head. This film plays all of the familiar zombie tropes perfectly straight and, for a zombie fan like myself, this is a joy to watch.
Although this film has it’s serious moments, it is one of the funniest films that I’ve seen in quite a while. Yes, most of this humour is unintentional, but I was literally laughing out loud for most of the film. Everything from the hilariously melodramatic zombie scenes to the splatterific low-budget special effects to the brilliantly cheesy dialogue means that you’ll almost certainly find this film more amusing than frightening.
Even so, the film gradually gets more “serious” and slightly depressing later on. But, this often comes across as overwrought melodrama rather than serious drama and it just adds to the “so bad that it’s good” charm of this film. Not to mention that, if you’ve seen zombie movies before, then you’ll know how most of these “depressing” scenes (eg: when someone gets bitten by a zombie etc…) turn out.
Likewise, the film also tries to shoehorn in some social commentary about religious discrimination in America too. But, even during the “serious” scenes in this film, there’s often something cheesy and/or something zombie-related happening to lighten the mood slightly.
As for the special effects in this film, they’re wonderfully low budget. This is one of the things that makes this film such a joy to watch – all of the zombies clearly look like people in well-made Halloween costumes, rather than actual zombies. Likewise, this film splashes quite a bit of stage blood around – but, due to the general cheesieness of the effects, this is more amusing than shocking or disgusting.
As for the characters, they’re actually fairly good and they come across as slightly realistic, if sometimes slightly over-acted, people. The main cast consists of everyone from a Texas ranger to a petrol station owner, to a stoner/slacker to the couple who are searching for their daughter. Yes, the dialogue is cheesy but, thanks to the fact that this film uses unknown actors, this film has slightly more realism than a higher-budget film would.
All in all, this film is “so bad that it’s good”. It’s hilariously cheesy, brilliantly entertaining and just good fun. If you go into this expecting to see a shocking or frightening zombie movie, then you’ll be disappointed. But, if you’re a fan of the zombie genre, then you’ll have a good laugh watching this film.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, then I’d probably give it a four just because I had so much fun watching it.