I absolutely love when filmmakers or authors can take a few liberties with history and create an entertaining horror story out of it. Heck, I’m even willing to overlook a few historical inaccuracies here and there if the story is good enough. And if they can throw zombies in the mix? Wow…I’m definitely there. The upcoming film release KNIGHT OF THE DEAD is a decent historical horror flick that is certainly worthy of checking out, however some viewers might not enjoy the low-budget aspect of it.
If you are not familiar with KNIGHT OF THE DEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Inception Media Group:
A band of crusading knights escorts the Holy Grail through a plague-ridden countryside, destined for a distant land. Hunted by assassins, the knights venture into the forbidden Valley of Black Death. What they discover is even more terrifying than the plague and the ruthless killers hot on their trail; the Valley of Black Death is home to the undead. Overrun by hordes of flesh eating zombies, their only chance for survival is a mysterious maiden who can guide them out. Their final, chilling journey (to either death or success) becomes the ultimate battle of men vs. undead as they face a non-stop barrage of gruesome, murderous walking dead.
I reviewed another movie of director Mark Atkins over at Hayes Hudson’s House of Horror a few years back, and I enjoyed that one immensely. The movie was HALLOWEEN NIGHT, and it was a heck of a film (click here to read the review). I have to confess that I didn’t like KNIGHT OF THE DEAD as much, however this film is worth checking out for the most part.
Personally, I enjoyed this film overall. It does have its flaws, but they are primarily due to the lack of budget. If you can look past that and take the film for what it is, you might actually enjoy it.
KNIGHT OF THE DEAD is shot decently however I think there are too many transition shots in certain scenes; this makes for a dizzying ride when you’re trying to track the action onscreen. Thankfully, this only happens a couple of times, so it’s not too terrible of a nuisance.
The acting is not bad, but it’s not great either. I have certainly seen worse, for sure. Likewise, the special effects are just…there. There’s a lot of CG blood sprays and whatnot, which I do not like for the most part, however there are also several good practical effects shots as well. A couple of characters are disemboweled, which looks pretty good onscreen.
I am disappointed with the zombie effects, however. They’re almost nonexistent. Most of the zombies are just actors with faces painted white or green…and a few dabs of gunk or blood here and there. If I’m watching a zombie flick, I want to see rotting flesh and decay.
Several of the reviews I read for KNIGHT OF THE DEAD mentioned a lack of color in the film and how drab it looks. I’ve got news for those of you who didn’t like that: it’s pretty realistic for that time period, especially for knights on the road. There’s not much to that countryside, and most of the warriors who traversed didn’t prance about in bright colors. They kept it plain and simple for the most part. This didn’t bother me at all in the film, but I felt like commenting on it anyway.
KNIGHT OF THE DEAD won’t win any awards, but I found it entertaining nonetheless. This is going to be one of those watch-for-yourself to judge flicks. It hits store shelves next week if you want to give it a look.