Book Review – Revelation: Creatures Rule the Night by Nathaniel Connors (2012)

Revelation: Creatures Rule the Night
by Nathaniel Connors
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Damnation Books

Revelation

My passion for reading often leads me into weird and wonderful realms and, as such, I often find books that transcend typical genres. These hybrids tend to be either very unique or written so well that originality can be put on the back-burner. REVELATION: CREATURES RULE THE NIGHT is one of these cross-breeds that contains both attributes: it is rife with originality and written well. The result is a fast-paced thriller that will take you on a ride you won’t soon forget.

If you are not familiar with REVELATION: CREATURES RULE THE NIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Damnation Books:

The hunted, that is what Jonathan Armand has become. Generations of Armand’s had died before him, many by the same creature that taunts him from within the darkness now. It is his curse for carrying the name, but it is the blood of his ancestors coursing through his veins that make him the strongest of all those before him. He is the last Armand, a veteran of war by his teenage years, a man plagued by death. For so long he has dreamed of nothing more then a simple and peaceful existence, one free of the horrors and nightmares of his past; but now as he stands to lead a new army filled with familiar faces he realizes what destiny has in store for him. Hunted or hunter, one death will change it all.

I will admit that the title is a bit cryptic, but the above synopsis simply cannot do justice to the epic story that unfolds within the book’s pages. This is a truly unique piece of fiction that is difficult to classify. It is part military science-fiction, part fantasy, and even part horror. But regardless of what category you use to classify it, the book is a true winner and a very fun read.

REVELATION: CREATURES RULE THE NIGHT is the first in a series, although the author told me there will be a couple of side-books that will accent the series as well. Thus, folks like me that love the world he has created will revel in the fact that we get to return to it several times after this first book concludes.

As mentioned, the book is written well and flows nicely; the characters are well thought-out and the world that Connors creates is believable, albeit not as strange as one would expect for 200 years in the future. This is by no means a negative…in fact, it’s almost refreshing to see a future where not much has changed except some big-time leaps in technology.

My sole complaint about the book is that it feels like things take a bit of an abrupt turn about three-fourths of the way through it, and I had to go back and re-read a couple of pages to make sure I wasn’t lost. This transitioning could be intentional and I just didn’t pick up on it or something…I don’t know. But it is a very minor adjustment, and it didn’t throw me off for very long at all.

REVELATION: CREATURES RULE THE NIGHT is a definite win for me and I suggest you check it out. It’s multi-genre storyline is a real treat, especially for readers like me who enjoy all those that are involved. I’m excited to see where the series goes next and will review the next book as soon as I can finish it. But until then, give this one a look for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – The Wicked (2013)

The Wicked
Directed by Peter Winther
Courtesy of Image Entertainment
Release Date: April 30, 2013

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Last year (prior to the Great Blog Crash of 2012), I reviewed an excellent fantasy movie directed by Peter Winther titled DRAGON AGE: REDEMPTION. This year, Winther shifted gears and decided to take us on a trip into horror territory with THE WICKED. Yes, this is a story about a witch, but there are no green-faced Wizard of Oz tropes here; this witch eats children LITERALLY to stay alive. The result is an effective and chilling jaunt into terror.

If you are not familiar with THE WICKED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Image Entertainment website:

Local stories warn that deep in the woods, a witch with a ravenous hunger feeds on the flesh of the young. In an abandoned house in the woods, she hunts her victims…and if you try to enter, you’ll never see daylight again. When another child goes missing, a group of local teenagers decide to find out if the urban legend is true. What starts out as a meaningless dare turns into a blood-spattered fight for survival against a mistress of darkness in this unrelenting nightmare from which you may never wake up!

This film is not perfect, but it will scare the hell out of you. From the opening scene to the rolling of the credits, I squirmed in my seat as the events unfolded onscreen. The premise of an entity needing children to survive strikes me at the core because I’m a dad, but I think it touches everyone on a primal level. This is part of the reason the movie is so effective as a horror film.

THE WICKED is shot well and the premise is well executed. I would have loved to have seen this on Blu-ray, as some of the shots were grainy but they get the job done well enough. The acting is very good, with the main cast doing a great job, however nine-year old Caitlin Carmichael steals the show with a bone-chilling performance as kidnapped youngster Amanda. I have to tell you: the opening scenes with her abduction by the witch gave me chills. She is a beautiful young actress with a lot of talent, and I expect she will have an amazing career in Hollywood.

The film is not perfect, though, with a couple of major sticking points for me. First off, there is potential for an amazing amount of gore, although we only get to see a little bit. The witch likes to grind her victims up in a human-sized meat grinder but all we get to see is some computer-animated blood (which doesn’t look very good) and a few handfuls of the resulting carnage coming out of the other end. Not much to clap about.

Also, I don’t like how the witch is shown on the DVD cover of THE WICKED. For me, that dampens the suspense. The creature/witch/entity/bad guy should never be revealed until a key time in the film itself. This doesn’t ruin the movie by any means, but it would have been much more effective to wait.

Still, THE WICKED is a heck of a horror film and it’s one to definitely check out. The film hits store shelves next week, so make a note to give it a look.

MSB

Documentary Review – Planet Ocean (2013)

Planet Ocean
Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand & Michael Pitiot
Courtesy of Universal Studios
Release Date: April 9, 2013

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I’m sure some of my regular readers are scratching their heads right now, wondering why in the world I’m reviewing a documentary about the ocean. I mean, my blog is a genre-focused site, so this is a bit out of the norm. Let’s just say that this film is so good and the message so pertinent that I simply had to share it. PLANET OCEAN is an excellent documentary, and I recommend giving it a look.

If you are not familiar with this documentary, here is the plot synopsis of PLANET OCEAN, courtesy of the Universal Studios website:

Planet Ocean captures extraordinary images of our remarkable oceans – the source of all life on our planet. Filmed by directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, along with an outstanding team of international underwater cinematographers in partnership with OMEGA and with the scientific support of Tara Expeditions. The film aims to explain some of the planet’s greatest natural mysteries, while reinforcing how essential it is that mankind learns to live in harmony with our oceans. Planet Ocean serves as a reminder of the bond between humans and nature, and the duty that exists to protect and respect our planet.

I love all things that have to deal with the ocean, which is one of the reasons I wanted to review PLANET OCEAN so much. I am particularly fond of being underwater as well (which is why I became SCUBA certified), so documentaries on undersea life are sort of a guilty pleasure for me. If you follow my blog, you know that my primary focuses are horror, sci-fi, and fantasy…but, my guilty pleasure sometimes takes precedence and, well, here we are.

The fine folks at Universal were kind enough to send me a Blu-ray version of this film as well, so I had the privilege of seeing it in HD. If you want a good way to test your television’s limits, this is the perfect way to do so. The undersea shots look explosive on-screen as the filmmakers draw out every ounce of color found in nature.

But this is not just a film about undersea life. PLANET OCEAN is a high-profile look at how vital our world’s oceans are to the entire ecosystem. Our lives, as well as those of every species on the planet, are affected in one way or the other by the seas, a fact that is sometimes overlooked during our daily lives. This film highlights those aspects and introduces new ones that you may or may not have thought about.

The film is narrated by Josh Duhamel, and I have to admit that he does a great job. I enjoy his work on-screen, so hearing him was almost as fun as watching him. But it’s not his voice that the audience should be listening to…it’s his message. It is a poignant and powerful statement about how we rely on the ocean and vice-versa. The message is not preachy, though; it is laid out in simple matter-of-fact statements and thus lets the viewer come to his or her own conclusions.

Chocked full of stunning imagery and deep insights, PLANET OCEAN is a beautiful film that the whole family will enjoy. It is available now, so be sure and pick it up for sure.

MSB

Book Review – Zombie! Zombie! Brain Bang! (2012)

Zombie! Zombie! Brain Bang!
Edited by Kevin Strange
Release Date: October 29, 2012
Publisher: StrangeHouse Books

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Anthologies just never get old for me. I absolutely love the short story form and always revel in those stories that can entertain me in so few words. And when I can find short stories that are just as crazy as they are terrifying…well, let’s just say that’s about as close to nirvana as I can get. ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! is one of those collections, and it’s a must-read if you enjoy over-the-top fiction with a hell of a kick.

If you are not familiar with ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG!, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the StrangeHouse Books website:

WHAT IF… zombies were the worst customers to ever enter a fast food restaurant?
WHAT IF… the only thing saving you from a zombie horde is a suit of cute little babies?
WHAT IF… you traveled through time to see a great pair of tits but ended up kicking off the zombie apocalypse?
WHAT IF… all those dead pets came back with a hunger for human flesh?
Twelve of the most bizarre zombie stories you’ll ever read, all jam packed into one delicious, ultra-violent book, Zombie! Zombie! Brain Bang! is guaranteed to suck out your brains and chomp on your guts while you scream with delight.

‘Bizarre’ is an excellent way to describe the stories in this book. These are not your run-of-the-mill horror tropes. Quite the contrary. This collection takes those overused genre cliches and turns them upside down. I can say with confidence that you’ve probably not run into concepts in fiction like these before.

The stories in ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! are all written well and their premises are unique. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call any of them brilliant, but they will sure make you raise your eyebrows and give an appreciate nod. Chocked full of originality, cringe-worthy situations, and mind-shocking terror, this is one anthology you don’t want to miss.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is ‘Baby Armor’ by D.F. Noble. Just like the title indicates, this story is about a guy who gets the bright idea to rob a bank, and to ensure his safety he straps his six infant children onto his body. His hypothesis is that no one will shoot him if he’s covered with babies. His plan might have actually worked if the zombie apocalypse hadn’t occurred while he was in the bank…

‘Baby Armor’ is just one example of the insanity that you will find in ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG!. Give this one a look for sure if you want to step out of your comfort zone. The book is available now.

MSB

Movie Review – Dragon (2011)

Dragon
Directed by Peter Chan
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Original Release Date: 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 16, 2013

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Don’t let the simple title of this film fool you: this is not a simplistic movie, nor does it deal with a scaly creature that breathes fire. In reality, this film is SO much more. Part action flick and part mystery, DRAGON ensnares you from the opening sequence and never lets go. With mind-bending fight scenes and an enthralling enigma, this is one film that you will not want to miss.

If you are not familiar with DRAGON, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Anchor Bay press release:

Liu Jin-xi is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper’s life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu. Convinced that Liu’s martial arts master belies a hidden history of training by one of the region’s vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero–and draws the attention of China’s criminal underworld in the process.

I have to confess that I liked DRAGON more than I was expecting to. Much more, in fact. I figured, after reading the plot synopsis, that I was going to enjoy it, but wow…it almost blew me away. The fight scenes are intense and unique, the plot is paced well and unravels the mystery perfectly, and the acting is great as well. You really can’t ask for much else.

Donnie Yen, the actor that portrays the main character, is a phenomenal talent on-screen and I always enjoy his work. In this particular role, we get to see his versatility as an actor; one minute he plays a daft paper-mill worker in the small village, but the next he’s playing a cool, calculating assassin. It’s truly inspiring to see his ability to shift gears like this.

DRAGON is shot very well and the action scenes are top-notch. But the story is what really wins the mark. There’s plenty of intrigue and emotional drama in this film, but it never bogs down. The pacing is perfect and the answer to the mystery of Liu’s background unfolds just as it should.

I highly recommend giving DRAGON a look. This film has a little something for everyone. If you like martial arts action, you’re in for a real treat; Donnie Yen choreographed the fight scenes, so they’re filled with adrenaline-fueled mayhem. And you if you enjoy a mystery, there’s enough intrigue here to make Sherlock Holmes proud. Do yourself a favor and check this one out for sure.

MSB

Book Review – Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear (2013)

Shattered Pillars (The Eternal Sky, book 2)
by Elizabeth Bear
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books

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I love fantasy. It’s been a passion of mine since I was a kid. But my fantasy has to have meat to it; hack-and-slash fantasy doesn’t do much for me, unless it’s a part of a bigger story. Because of this, novels that focus on world-building and fleshing out the cultures of the lands that inhabit said world are therefore what really get my blood flowing. Elizabeth Bear’s new book SHATTERED PILLARS is one of these pulse-pounding books. It is set in a lavish and beautiful world filled with action and intrigue, a realistic land that you will want to visit over and over again.

If you are not familiar with SHATTERED PILLARS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Tor Books:

From the eastern end of the Celadon Highway to the western, chaos reigns. The great Khaganate is shattered, and with it the peace. High in his desert fastness, the sorcerer Mukhtar ai-Idoj, al-Sepehr of the Nameless sect of the Rahazeen, plots to bring all the world under the rule of his Scholar-God. He is very close to success; his enemies war with one another, and none sees the true author of their downfall.

Re-Temur and the wizard Samarkar have reached the great city of Asitaneh and the house of Temur’s powerful grandfather. With their companions, they intend to mount an assault on the fortress of the Rahazeen to rescue Temur’s beloved, Edene. If they succeed, it will be a mighty feat, a hero’s deed. But Temur has sworn a magical oath, and he has a wizard of the Tsarepheth at his side.

Far to the east of Asitaneh, the attack on the Rasan empire has taken the form of a plague. The imperial city of Tsarepheth struggles against the contagion, a terrible disease that kills all who contract it. The wizard-healers do all they can to discover the course and cure the disease, but with little success. Someone with power in the city has invited the plague demons in, and if the Emperor Songtsan falls to the disease, so too might the Rasan Empire–he has no heir who is of age.

But al-Sepehr has made one error. He has allowed the escape of his hostage, Edene.

SHATTERED PILLARS is one of those books that you’ll read several times, just so you can soak up everything about it. It is an epic continuation of the Eternal Sky fantasy series and picks up close to where the first book leaves off. Once again, as with the previous book, RANGE OF GHOSTS, Bear does a painstaking job of creating a lush world full of eccentric characters and believable landscapes.

Again as with its predecessor, this book is written very well, and it never sacrifices the story for its prose. Bear writes with silk-smooth form, filling the reader’s head with vivid details while not bogging the story down with over-descriptive scenes. I love this aspect of her writing, as it showcases the immense talent that she possesses.

Aside from the rich creation of its world and cultures, the story in SHATTERED PILLARS continues to impress. The trials that Temur faces as he quests to free his love are intense, while the secondary plots that populate the main storyline are also quite immersive. The reader is never left in a slow period, as Bear does an excellent job of pacing each aspect of the story.

SHATTERED PILLARS is an absolute win for me and I recommend checking it out. You might check out the previous book RANGE OF GHOSTS first, though, otherwise you might be a bit lost on certain things. But regardless, definitely give this one a look. Elizabeth Bear is a top-rate author and this book is a true testament to that. You won’t be disappointed.

MSB

Movie Review – John Dies at the End (2013)

John Dies at the End
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Release Date: April 2, 2013

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I can use one word to describe JOHN DIES AT THE END: brilliant. And that is being modest. There are many other words I could use for this film as well: ground-breaking, visionary, epic, etc. But I think ‘brilliant’ pretty much sums it all up. This film sets a new standard for cinema today and, in my opinion, should go down in the annals of cinematic history as a masterpiece.

If you are not familiar with JOHN DIES AT THE END, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Magnet Releasing website:

In JOHN DIES AT THE END, it’s all about the Soy Sauce, a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. Users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John (Rob Mayes) and David (Chase Williamson), a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.

I knew this was going to be a great film from the first time I heard about it. Director Don Coscarelli is a master of the craft and is the brainchild behind one of horror’s most iconic series, the PHANTASM quadrilogy. He’s also well-known for the horror-comedy hit BUBBA HO-TEP. Coscarelli knows what fans want and how to give it to them.

The most impressive aspect of this film to me is how it defies all genre stereotypes. It is a hybrid of several tropes: science-fiction, comedy, horror, and even basic drama. But that is part of its allure; there’s so much going on that even the most diehard genre fan should find something to enjoy.

JOHN DIES AT THE END is shot very well and the cinematography is nothing short of stunning in certain scenes. The production value is high and everything on-screen looks great, right down to the CG effects. The sets are excellent and the attention to detail is painstaking.

The acting is also superb, with Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes heading up a stellar cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, and Doug Jones. The chemistry between the cast is one large reason the film is such a success

But the primary reason JOHN DIES AT THE END is such a blast is the plot. It loops, it twists, it ducks out of reality…but it stays cohesive (even if it is a mind-bending trip) and delivers on every level. This is certainly not a movie you can casually watch, though; you need to be plugged in and paying attention. If you are, then you’re in for a huge treat. The film is vastly entertaining and rewards the viewer in more ways than one.

JOHN DIES AT THE END is a major win for me and I highly recommend it. I would even go so far as to say it needs to be on your Must See for 2013 list. The film is available now in several formats, so definitely give it a look.

MSB

Movie Review – DeadBall (2011)

DeadBall
Directed by Yudai Yamaguchi
Courtesy of Well Go USA
Original Release Date: 2011
Release Date: April 9, 2013

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Director Yudai Yamaguchi definitely knows what fans of splatter (like me) want to see on-screen. Blood geysers, decapitations, amputations…Yamaguchi knows how to deliver. DEADBALL is the famed director’s most recent release, and it is a perfect addition to his canon of work. Although the film doesn’t showcase much of anything new, it is vastly entertaining and certainly worth checking out.

If you are not familiar with DEADBALL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:

Baseball prodigy Jubeh Yakyu is the most feared and dangerous juvenile delinquent in all of Japan. After accidentally causing the death of his father with a super-powered fireball pitch, Jubeh swore off baseball, but his life of crime leaves him in the Pterodactyl Juvenile Reformatory, at the mercy of Headmistress Ishihara, the granddaughter of a World War II Nazi collaborator, and her sadistic assistant, Ilsa. Despite having sworn never to play baseball again, Jubeh is presented with an ultimatum: join the reformatory team, The Gauntlets, in the national tournament, or witness the death of his innocent cellmate. Jubeh is now in a fight for his life against the sexy but deadly Psycho Butcher Girls of the St. Black Dahlia High School. These teams are literally playing for blood! A hilariously offensive, politically incorrect sports splatter comedy, DEADBALL is director Yudai Yamaguchi’s follow-up to his earlier zombie baseball classic BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL, and once again features action star Tak Sakaguchi. A riotous, over-the-top epic of excess, DEADBALL is the movie for the psycho sports fan in all of us, and more fun than a prison cavity search!

I’ve been a fan of Yamaguchi’s work for a while now, ever since I reviewed his film YAKUZA WEAPON a while back (unfortunately, the review is no longer available on my site since it crashed in December of last year). The director’s over-the-top style combined with a panache for gore gives audiences a jolt of hyper-violence they will not soon forget. And his films are simply so much fun to watch.

DEADBALL is shot well and the acting is pretty good overall. I especially enjoy seeing Tak Sakaguchi onscreen; he is an exceptional talent and I always like to see what he does next. In this performance, his role as the sullen Jubeh, who always seems to find a cigarette in every seen, is exceptional. He personifies the bad-but-misunderstood hero.

What truly stands out for me in this film is, as expected, the gore. Director Yamaguchi goes above and beyond when it comes to special effects, and he showcases that talent in this film. DEADBALL contains some truly excellent gore and, as per his stye, it is presented in all of its zany, beyond-tasteless glory.

Although the premise might seem a bit far-fetched, you should never go into a Yamaguchi film with a serious mindset. If you do, you’re bound for disappointment. But if you go into these movies with the right frame of mind, then you’re in for a real treat. I recommend giving DEADBALL a look…just make sure you don’t eat while you’re watching it. Doing so might cause you to lose your lunch.

MSB

Book Review – The Ninth Black Book of Horror (2012)

The Ninth Black Book of Horror
Edited by Charles Black
Release Date: September 29, 2012
Publisher: Mortbury Press

The Ninth Black Book

When first I saw the cover for THE NINTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR, I knew immediately that I had to read it. As you can see from the picture above, it screams ‘intrigue’. And let me tell you: the book delivers, too. It certainly lives up to the creepy cover. This horror anthology will make you cringe, cause you sleepless nights, and might just scare the life right out of you.

If you are not familiar with THE NINTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Amazon.com:

Horrible people, horrible places, horrible things and horrible fates all await you in The Ninth Black Book of Horror. The new anthology from Mortbury Press is truly horrible. Check in at a horror hospital, witness grisly acts, observe dreadful family reunions, meet a man who hates waste, the things that are not there, and find out what’s behind you in The Ninth Black Book of Horror. Sixteen stories by John Llewellyn Probert, Craig Herbertson; Simon Bestwick, Gary Fry; David Williamson, Anna Taborska; Sam Dawson, Paul Finch; Gary Power, Thana Niveau; Tom Johnstone, Marion Pitman; Kate Farrell, John Forth; Marc Lyth, and David A. Riley.

I have to start off by saying I enjoyed this anthology so much that I am going to try and review the previous copies in the series as well. There’s an amazing amount of talent packed into this ninth book, so I can only imagine what volumes one through eight hold. The stories are all well written and draw you in immediately.

Every story in THE NINTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR is good, which is quite a statement to make. Many collections entertain but then usually have a few stories that are only ho-hum. This is not the case here. Each tale in this anthology is crafted to scare, whether bluntly or subtly, and the result is a horrific group of stories filled with darkness and frights.

One of my favorite stories is “Indecent Behaviour” by Marion Pitman. In this tale, two men beat up a gay gentleman, who eventually dies from his wounds. But their victim haunts them from the grave in a truly, uh, ‘unique’ fashion. This is one of those stories that you’ll read a couple of times through simply to derive the full satisfaction of what occurs.

Another favorite of mine is “Ashes to Ashes” by David Williamson. This story tells of a man who starts off with a persistent itch, but discovers it’s something much more hideous. I loved the ending of this one so much that I woke my wife up to read it to her.

THE NINTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR is a definite win for me and I think any horror-fiction fan will love it. The book is available now, so check it out for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – State of Emergency (2013)

State of Emergency
Directed by Turner Clay
Courtesy of Image Entertainment
Release Date: April 16, 2013

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I have to confess: when I first saw the DVD cover for this film, I thought it was going to be a comedy. I’m not sure why, but the expression of the character on the cover gave me the impression that he was in a funny situation. Thus, my expectations weren’t very high when I started watching it. But wow…I’m glad I did give it a chance; STATE OF EMERGENCY is a top-notch zombie flick that delivers on many levels.

If you are not familiar with STATE OF EMERGENCY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the DVD cover:

After an explosion unleashes the contents of a military bio-weapons plant, the unsuspecting populace is transformed into a roaming army of flesh-eating zombies. Trapped in the quarantine zone, Jim finds himself cut off, confused and fighting for his own survival. Contacted by a small band of others unaffected by the toxins, Jim sets out to reach their besieged warehouse. Becoming the group’s de-facto leader, he struggles to keep order as they hunker down, fortify their stronghold and arm themselves against the attacking mutants. Fragmentary radio reports from outside hint at a last-ditch government rescue plan. But can the survivors hold out until help arrives…or will they succumb to the living hell of the undead apocalypse?

I had never heard of STATE OF EMERGENCY before I got the press release, but I would wager that horror fans will definitely be hearing about this one soon. While it does not really bring anything new to the table, it is a taut, thrilling survival story that will have you squirming in your seat and hiding your eyes.

One major aspect of this film that jumped out at me is the way it looks. I saw in the closing credits that it was shot on a Red One camera, and you can certainly tell; the picture is crystal clear and the quality of the imagery is beautiful. This clarity lets the audience see every blood-splattered detail of zombie head-shots as they occur.

Aside from the look, STATE OF EMERGENCY is shot well and the acting is great. The production value seems high, which would fit since IMDB.com estimates the budget at $1.3 million. Even so, that’s still not much for a movie, and it appears the production team made excellent use of the money they had.

My sole complaint about this film is a very minor one; I don’t like the fact that the zombie head-shots were computer generated. Don’t get me wrong…they are very well done, but they are still “off” enough to stand out. The rest of the effects are practical, though, and look fantastic.

STATE OF EMERGENCY is a great zombie film, and it will definitely generate buzz in regard to slow-moving-zombies-versus-fast-ones (the creatures in this film run). I highly recommend giving it a shot. It not only looks good, but it’s haunting and entertaining as well. The film hits store shelves next week, so make a note.

MSB