This low-budget British effort from writer-director Chee Keong Cheung is big on ambition but small on originality, riffing on the theme of 28 Days Later with crazed, infected maniacs coming into conflict with a military force trying to rescue a cure from a biohazard zone. There are a few new ideas to this well-worn zombie formula — the infected start to show intelligence and resolve, even organising armies to fight regular citizens — but it all gets lost in a badly scripted and overlong film with sketched-in characters and clichés that just ramble on.
Cheung opens with a barrage of grim imagery with less-than-subtle suggestions that humans have bought this plague upon themselves, and then spends the rest of the running time having his team of special forces soldiers attack either the infected or each other. When that gets dull, a Polish gang leader pops up with his team of tattooed freaks for some martial arts action (Cheung comes from a fight film background) and we’re reminded once again that the real horror comes from man’s inhumanity to man. There are flashback montages, the squad gets picked off one by one, and dialogue constantly tells us what happened five minutes previously, in case you’d drifted off.
To be fair, there are moments; the action is fast, the bloodletting is graphic, and there’s a weird cross section of undead (zombie postman, anyone?) that will raise a smile from those who’ve seen this all before. But, it peaks too soon, and the second act is a chore. A late development with a schoolgirl that befriends the squad captain comes way too late and is devoid of emotional resonance. Cheung definitely has talent but needs a scriptwriter and budget to match his visual ideas. Occasionally an on-screen counter pops up to remind us that time is running out to find the cure. You’ll be glad when it reaches zero.
Chee Keong Cheung
Chee Keong Cheung
DVD & BLU-RAY
25 Feb 2019