Directed by Valeri Milev, Mike Hurst
Written by Mike Hurst
Starring Roger Cross, Scott Adkins, Daniella Alonso
I admit, I wondered if I'd ever see another After Dark Films entry, especially after all the nonsense they went through with the whole Lionsgate mess. Well, apparently they moved to Fox, and so they're still putting out work. In fact, this time around, I'm covering one I've wanted to see for years. So strap in, because this time, we're checking out Re-Kill.
Re-Kill joins the world already in progress following a full-on Zombie Apocalypse. Though as ZA events go, this one wasn't exactly that big a deal; it's a ZA with an 85 percent mortality rate. The major cities are naturally uninhabitable, but apparently enough of central authority has remained that a Quasi-SWAT unit known as "R-Division" has been put together. R-Division is tasked with the destruction of the zombie--or rather "Re-Animates" or "Re-Ans"--horde wheresoever it may crop up, a move that may well see them all end up as Re-Ans themselves. We join a camera crew following the Re-Ans on assignment, which is broadcast over cable feed to those interested in keeping up.
First, this is easily one of the most unique zombie movie concepts around; it's not every day we see zombie movies with functional societies. Sure, "Land of the Dead" did a pretty fine job of it with Fiddler's Green and the surrounding area, but this is different. This is a society that's apparently got the lights back on and better than 60 channels of cable operating complete with full lineups, including "R-Division: Frontline" and "Re-Kill". And all this despite the fact that 85 percent of humanity is either lunched-up or walking-dead. Did they leave Ted Turner alive?
Odd little discrepancies crop up here and there; the first three minutes features a baffling feat of logic as a little girl sits down to watch television, and the sun's shining bright and cheery outside. When she checks the TV guide function, it assures us that it's somewhere between nine and nine-thirty PM. Either our little friend is watching TV in the land of the midnight sun, or I'm missing something. It gets weirder; seconds later, CCN News declares that it's 6:31 PM. A three-hour time gap works when you're going from east coast to west coast, but that still doesn't account for the sunshine.
Basically, I spend about half of my time here being enamored; they've brought out all the clever concepts, they've polished the chrome, they've introduced a series where apparently the government was sufficiently on the ball to nuke San Francisco and also set up quarantines in New York, which is a real departure from zombie movies where everyone's caught so far off guard that zombies are storming the White House. The other half, I'm baffled as the chromed objects fly off at random intervals or collapse into silvery jelly. There are so many errors in fact, logic, and spelling here that I struggle to imagine this was actually edited. I'm less than happy about the extensive use of track-star zombies--can no one observe the Romero standards any more?--but there is certainly something to be said about the frenetic pace of things.
Better yet, there's an undercurrent of something sinister out here, with "government project" overtones to it. That's impressive enough, but so little background has been provided on this--just how functional is the government right now, anyway?--that it's almost confusing. I'm not even a hundred percent sure where this movie is set, let alone how it relates to the rest of the world.
The ending is a pretty big surprise, and though it's not a happy ending, it's perhaps the most reasonable given the circumstances. Though even here, it gets a bit confused in the last five minutes, and we find out just where the whole thing is apparently set, finally. I guess it helps if you recognize Virginia landmarks?
Special features are utterly nonexistent. There isn't even an option for subtitles or audio selections.
All in all, Re-Kill isn't without its flaws, but it's a worthwhile addition to the After Dark lineup. A line that's stood for quality filmmaking with occasional flops for the last several years, this is some wild, wonderful stuff. It's not perfect, but it does the job of horror action just fine.