'Undead': Unnecessary

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 8, 2005

The zombies are walking the earth again -- this time in small-town Australia, a little place named Berkeley, to be precise. It seems the source of this incursion comes from a cascade of meteorites, which have somehow caused the dead to rise and lumber after living human meat.

Local beauty queen Rene (Felicity Mason) and a whacko survivalist in overalls (Mungo McKay) are among the surviving humans trying to get away. They join up with a pilot (Rob Jenkins), his pregnant girlfriend (Lisa Cunningham), the local deputy (Dirk Hunter) and his assistant (Emma Randall). It takes them most of the movie to figure out you have to shoot a zombie through the head to stop it. What, no one watches zombie films in Berkeley?

The storyline becomes pretty tedious, thanks to an incredibly slow beginning and a scenario based entirely on running around in circles to get away from the undead. Twin Australian filmmakers Peter and Michael Spierig have introduced a few flashes of originality, including the spectacle of zombies floating in space. But the story is more undead than all of these revenant shufflers. And the orgy of gore and home-engineered special effects doesn't make up for the shortfall.

UNDEAD (R, 100 minutes) -- Contains over-the-top violence and obscenity . At Landmark's E Street Cinema.

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