By: Jacob Bloodee Jacob Babcock
Army of the Dead was just released over the past week in select theaters as well as on streaming giant Netflix Friday. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t playing at a theater close enough so I settled for just checking it out at home today. I was pretty hyped for this, so I was happy to just see it released. I am a horror die hard fan first and I love the action genre as well obviously and let me just say right away what a wonderful mesh of that and just a blast in general this turned out to be.
Zack Snyder is one of the best directors of the past twenty years. Say what you want but very few have stuck out like him. I loved 300, Watchmen, Man of Steel, and BvS despite its faults and of course his cut of Justice League. This was his return to horror ever since his Dawn of the Dead remake in the mid-2000s which was surprisingly solid too. Snyder’s signature visual flare is apparent throughout and helps to keep your attention with almost every frame. The zombie make up is some of the best you’ll find and the blood/gore effects are top notch and a feast too, pun intended.
Dave Bautista leads as a character who is fleshed out just enough to make us care & invest. He’s not a killing machine, but an actual character with vulnerability, physically & mentally while still easily executing bad ass moments you’d expect. Ella Purnell, Ana del la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighofer, Tig Notaro, Garret Dillahunt, Hiroyuki Sanada, Theo Rossi and more make up the rest of this diverse cast that for the most part all pop in their own way. Not all of the cast feel like they belong as much as others but no one was noticeably too bad. It’s Bautista that caries it of course and proves himself as more of a leading man then ever, showing an impressive range. I also want to praise some of the choreography in this and particularly when there’s some faster/smart zombies. There’s a particular moment with Bautista’s character where it really wretches up the tension and just how everyone moves you can tell was done very well.
The style and tone of the film reminds me of some video games over the past 10-15 years like Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising with a little Resident Evil and it all blends really, really well. It is unapologetic with a way about it from the start including a memorable intro sequence and still manages to inject some heart when it has to. Some have complained about the length but there are plenty of genre greats that go long (like the original Dawn of the Dead) and while that doesn’t always work, for me the time with Army of the Dead flew by. Check out this new zombie sub genre classic!