Movie Reviews: “Resident Evil: Damnation” (2012)

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This is the 2nd full length animated “Resident Evil” feature film, and it is much better than their previous effort “Degeneration”! Much much better.

For starters, the animation is fantastic, gorgeous, and unbelievably detailed. The action scenes were well crafted, inventive and exciting. “RE: Damnation” actually felt like a horror film with TONS of gore, zombies, lickers, and creepy mutations. It’s what “Resident Evil” should be like. It wasn’t just a lame action film.

Now is “Damnation” perfect? No. The story is pretty generic. We follow Leon Kennedy (from the RE:2 & 4 video games) into an eastern European country where he is fighting the Las Plagas infection among other terrors. One good thing about a generic storyline is that you don’t need to see the other films to understand what’s going on. It’s a stand alone movie. All you need to know is who Leon is. Some of the dialog is cheesy, but not nearly as bad as the last film. I’m okay with it in this.

The final act’s action scenes were just awesome! I was gasping and sitting on the edge of my seat literally. I really enjoyed this! Man, the time it must’ve taken to craft those scenes… “Damnation” is much better than the live action films, and is the best thing to come out of the “RE” universe since “Resident Evil 4” the video game. I recommend this!
3.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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Film Reviews: “I, Zombie” (1999)

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I saw this in 2001 and was half asleep for most of it. The premise of a man slowly turning into a zombie over the course of several days and documenting it, always intrigued me. Similar to the famous journal entry in the original “Resident Evil” for Playstation that ends with “Itchy, tasty.” So, I’ve decided to give it a fair watch.

This is a film out of the UK. David travels to the countryside looking for tree moss samples. On his way back, he hears a noise. He comes across an old building, and inside is a woman lying on the floor and in pain. Thinking she needs help, he picks her up and carries her outside when she suddenly bites him on the neck! David gets away and then passes out in the woods. He awakes hours later to find himself in a dreamlike state and not totally in control. He kills a man in the woods and eats him. Terrified of himself and of being caught, David gets himself back to town and rents a room in a quiet village. Days go by and David is forced to confront his urges.

He speaks into a recorder: “I’m coping much better with all of this. The first few kills were terrifying ordeals. I was completely out of control, but I’m starting to understand my behavioral patterns more. My life is organized around the need to feed and the logistics of finding new meat. As my condition stabilizes a pattern seems to be emerging. After eating I am stable for about 12 hours. Mild convulsions start at 4 days, developing into fits in the 6-8 day phase where the hunger becomes unbearable. I can’t go for longer than 12 days. The pain is indescribable. There’s no choice but to feed…”

I wonder if this was originally supposed to be a vampire flick. In most cases, zombies turn within hours or a days of infection. In this, David is applying makeup to look normal, going out in public, and can mentally function as long as he keeps feeding. An interesting take on the genre. However, as the weeks go on, David begins to deteriorate and rot. He becomes weaker and weaker and to the point where he can no longer attack and feed.

This was much better than I remembered it being! I like that “I, Zombie” goes into psychological territory and touches upon the sadness and isolation David feels. He left his life and his girlfriend behind during all this, and fantasizes about seeing her again. Sometimes he believes his own hallucinations. A very unique film with multiple layers of emotion going on. Worth a watch if you want a twist on the zombie genre.

3.0 out of 4.0 stars.

Film Reviews: “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

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Directed by George A. Romero.

Is “Night of the Living Dead” the greatest horror film ever made? One could make that argument and I wouldn’t challenge it. If it’s not THE greatest, then it’s certainly a contender.

Johnny & Barbra drive out to the county to put a wreath on their father’s grave. It’s a gloomy evening and they have a 3 hour drive back. Just as they are about to leave, a man approaches and pounces on Barbra! Johnny tries to fend him off and is thrown head first into a tombstone. Barbra flees to an abandoned country house. She locks herself inside. More ghouls approach and surround the house. They slowly bang on walls and doors. Barbra is starting to lose her mind!

And that’s how the film begins… If you haven’t seen it, make it a priority! The story is so suspenseful and eerie, that I wouldn’t dare give the rest away. From start to finish you really feel alongside the ghastly events as they unfold. It’s that feeling that makes my stomach a pit of nerves while watching this.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a true classic. It also spawned an entire franchise of horror. We are of course talking about the modern day zombie, but they don’t refer to “them” as zombies in this. The are simply “ghouls” or “the recently dead.”

This is a mood film that I watch several times a year, especially on dark & cloudy afternoons. While the film’s sequel “Dawn of the Dead” tops “NOTLD” in many ways, it cannot match the film’s gloominess. The black & white print is gorgeous to look at. It’s a perfect film, even in its flaws. I love it for what it is, an honest and ambitious low budget effort that can never be duplicated.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.