Eaters: Rise of the Dead DVD

Sunday, 12 June 2011 12:07

Most sane people would probably agree that director Uwe Boll is not exactly synonymous with quality, so one has to question the marketing nous of the person responsible for plastering 'Presented by Uwe Boll' on the jacket of this Italian zombie movie. In the case of "Eaters" though, Boll was only involved in its financing and promotion, so let us give this indie horror a stay of execution until we have actually seen what it has to offer!

Picture a post-apocalyptic nightmare where women can no longer conceive and zombies roam the Earth. The few humans left alive have to fend off not only flesh-eating zombies but also crazy scientists, Nazi-worshipping midgets and deadly religious cults. Enter our two heroes Igor and Alen who serve the needs of Gyno, a doctor desperately trying to find a cure for the plague deliberately spread by a fanatical terrorist.

Eaters: Rise of the Dead on DVDIgor (Alex Lucchesi) and Alen (Guglielmo Favilla) go on regular sorties, shotguns ready-cocked, to capture fresh zombie test subjects, seek out other survivors, track down food and - most importantly - beer. On their travels they also discover the disturbing truth behind the disease outbreak, and learn that somebody back at their base-camp might not be as friendly as they first imagined.

I am happy to report that in spite of (or perhaps even thanks to) Boll's external involvement, "Eaters" manages to punch well above its weight. First-time directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori manage to keep their ambitions grounded even though they apparently dreamt of making a zombie movie many years before finally getting the green light. They keep the cast small and the focus tight, playing to their strengths. That is not to say that the movie does not feature some decent special effects, because the zombie cosmetic makeup is excellent, and most of the CGI or post-production effects such as explosions and moody skies are blended in quite well.

It certainly also helps that Igor and Alen are fairly likeable lead characters, at once entertainingly obnoxious and at heart honourable men, base in their desires but prepared to put their lives at risk to help other survivors. The aforementioned assorted cultists and lunatics are ultra-cartoony and have just enough screen time to provoke the ire of the audience before they get their comeuppance, typically in a delightfully gory manner. A dark vein of humour underlies the entire movie and keeps it buoyant.

The film's atmosphere is largely established through the combination of a typically grey and oppressive picture drained of most of the spectrum, and an excellent grungy industrial-techno score by Justin Bennett (Skinny Puppy) and Stefano Rossello (Bahntier). The clarity of the video is fantastic for a low budget DVD release, and that appears to be thanks to the unusual choice of a high-end digital SLR camera (Canon 7D) to capture the original HD footage. The muck and decay coating everything can almost be touched through the screen.

“Eaters” is accompanied by three bonus features: a 34 minute making-of, a visual effects before-and-after motion slide-show and a trailer. The first two do a fair job of explaining the background to this very low-budget movie and its four-year gestation period, as well as Uwe Boll’s involvement in promoting it (for better or worse!).

“Eaters: Rise of the Dead” (2010) is out now, courtesy of Chelsea Films. The main feature has a running time of 90 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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