Anchor Bay’s most recent zombie flick, THE DEMENTED, is sure to continue a bit of discussion that has plagued the zombie community over the past several years: can a creature be classified as a ‘zombie’ if it runs? To me, I don’t suppose I really care whether or not they move quickly, as long as they haven’t been dead for a while (I think a body that has been rotting for 10 years would have a hard time getting around at any speed). But regardless of which side of the fence you are on, this is one film you should check out anyway. Be forewarned, however…it does not introduce anything new and barely has any gore.
If you are not familiar with THE DEMENTED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:
Six college friends meet up for a carefree weekend that turns deadly. A terrorist attack in a nearby town infects much of the townspeople with a deadly virus that induces rabies-like symptoms, only far more severe. Several of those infected attack the estate where the friends have been vacationing. Can they survive? Where will they hide? Is anyone left? Will we ever get our fill of these flesh eating zombie fiends?
THE DEMENTED caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting what I got, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I wanted to like it up front because the beautiful and talented Sarah Butler is in it, but I was surprised to find out she was not the main character. And although I enjoyed it on the whole, the film does have some glaring flaws. Even so, the movie is pretty good overall and a decent addition to the modern-day zombie canon.
The acting in this film is good, with the aforementioned Sarah Butler doing a fantastic job in her role. But Kayla Ewell, the woman portraying the main character of Taylor, is who really steals the show. Ewell tackles her role with enthusiasm, and is a true talent to watch for in the future.
THE DEMENTED is also shot well and the production value looks fairly high. However there are two major issues that I have with this film. First, the ending is beyond horrible. I initially thought the filmmakers had messed up and sent the wrong thing to print…but from what I understand, this was the way they intended to end the film. I will not disclose any spoilers, but I seriously hope the production team never does anything like this in future films.
Secondly, there is practically no gore in the film at all. For me, you can’t make a good zombie flick without gore. It simply has to be there. Period. I don’t know if budget constraints kept them from adding any, but I would have been happy to see chocolate syrup and corn syrup all over the place as opposed to nothing.
These two issues with THE DEMENTED should not be enough to dissuade you from seeing the film, though; on the contrary, I would love for more people to watch the ending, just to make sure I’m not being critical for the wrong reason. And, aside from the two problems I noted, there’s nothing else wrong with the film. It has tension where needed and moves at a nice pace. The ‘zombies’ will eat you if they catch you, and there’s really not much else you need.
I recommend giving the film a look next week when it is released. And after you watch it, hop back here or on Facebook and let us know what you think. After all, regardless of whether they are shambling or sprinting, zombies always make great conversation pieces.