Synopsis: During a zombie apocalypse a group of survivors hide on Alcatraz Island to escape from rising zombie hordes. When their refuge is overrun, and upon hearing that a scientist may have discovered a cure, they leave the island to seek him out.
Rise of the Zombies is a collaborative effort between the architects of b-movie schlock The Asylum and their old sparring partner The Sy Fy Channel that premiered back around Halloween 2012. Whenever these two team up you’re automatically guaranteed for an interesting Saturday night full of lambasting with close friends as all of you drink away any conscious memories of a potential torturous experience (who knows maybe being torn apart by ravenous hords of Zombies wouldn’t be too bad compared to this). This isn’t the first zombie outing for The Asylum as they’ve done others in the genre including the generically titled Zombie Apocalypse. In fact both productions were directed by the same person Nick Lyon so it’s interesting to say the least that both Sy Fy and The Asylum turned to this guy to try and cash in on the immense popularity of The Walking Dead with some low budget zombified grilled cheese. On my first viewing I sat in shock with how many faces I immediately recognized and granted these are not names of major award winning actors but given my own personal movie collection there were a good four or five people I could sit there and go – ‘Oh that’s so and so from this movie and this person I recognized from here’ so I think this makes for a pretty good sign that a small independent film company that purposely puts out bad movies has officially made it. Even Mr. Reading Rainbow himself LeVar Burton has a prominent role although he doesn’t have time to promote reading he’s trying his damnedest to find a cure to the disease that has caused this devastation.
It seems like the one thing that you’re always going to get with any of The Asylum’s horror films is brutally insane levels of gore and if there is any way to sum up Rise of the Zombies it definitely makes a majority of the bigger Hollywood productions look like an after school special. There is a key scene in particular where one of the main cast members has to do an emergency c-section in order to save a baby from becoming one of the undead and lets just say it will end up making stomachs churn (proving that The Asylum will go to extreme lengths others don’t have the b@lls to). The design of the zombies is what makes this recommend viewing with the makeup being on par with anything one would see in blockbusters the likes of Dawn of the Dead (the remake) and Zombieland. Being undead must suck hardcore as decaying flesh and having some weird infectious disease wouldn’t be the way I’d want to spend the rest of my eternity and I’d actually hope for a normal person to put me out of my misery. Some cool ideas that made Rise of the Zombies somewhat entertaining are having survivors living together at one of the world’s most iconic prisons. While the concept of having a group of people try and make it to a deserted island has been done countless times I can’t recall any zombie films that managed to incorporate Alcatraz. The only downside to this is once the undead make their way to the island a majority of the people hightail out of there quicker than a cheetah on steroids. I understand the urgency to escape in order to live to fight another day but for some reason I’d like a last stand type scenario as watching people coming up with inventive ways to kill zombies with the environment surrounding them would definitely make for one hell of a horror roller coaster ride. Viewers are thrown right into the thick of it and unlike a lot of the mainstream zombie films on the market these days where you slowly succumb to a zombie bite here if you’re bit it takes less than a minute before you’re craving a human man-wich. There are a good amount of thrills, kills, and lots of corn syrup being thrown around to keep viewers satisfied however once the movie switches to the mainland and the heroes decide to go their separate ways is when Rise of the Zombies starts coming apart at the seam which is a bit disheartening considering that for the better part of the film there is solid execution the last half just simply runs out of creativity.
Final Grade: C-