Genre: Apocalyptic Zombie Horror (Italy)
Starring: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch
Directed By: Lucio Fulci (City Of the Living Dead, The Beyond)
Overview: An abandoned boat is discovered off of New York city harbour. The boat owner's daughter and a reporter set off for the island her father went to before his disappearance. Guess who's waiting!
Acting: Those of you familiar with the Sergio Leone style of having actors speak in their native tongue in a multi-cultural production will already be used to the Italians being overdubbed in English while Americans are just plain overdubbed. Don't ask me how they managed to get all their ducks in a row, but there's just something about half the characters actually mouthing the English while the actual English lines just don't quite look right. This is distracting, but in that funny, low-budge production awesome way. The actual acting? The zombies are great, the rest are passably good... we were satisfied.
Cinematography: There is lots to love and lots to hate. Gratuitous nudity is a plus, the standard shooting style and decor of the late 70s is a minus (but good in that kitschy way). The zombies kicked quite of bit of ass and the gore and stunts were up-close, plentiful and really original. I'm talking not only a wicked underwater fight scene of zombie versus a shark (!) but such things as a zoom-in of a woman being pulled towards a broken door, only to have her eyeball slowly impaled on a nasty-bad splinter. Juicy.
Script: The Illustrator said it best: "We have questions, but really don't care about the answers". I wonder how much comes from us not listening when it was important to, and how much came from the fact that this was an atypical zombie movie: very little story, lots of undead with hungry teeth. We really didn't care because the visuals were enough to keep us going, but this is what will define this as forever being the great flaw / expected badness of the 'Zombie Flick'. Useless women, chauvinist men, plot holes created with every line rather than plugged, but still enough for forgivable good times.
Plot: The standard plot with a tropical twist. This is about the outbreak of a disease on an island. In a place where voodoo is the core belief, we have a doctor who tried to understand the science behind the illnesses, but the disease remained a mystery and the dead rose up in spite, even conquistadors! Appropriately short, action in all the right spots, and a nice little ending too. A professional undertaking.
Mood: Yeah, not so much. A director with a limited budget decides what's going to get the lion's share and in a horror film, that thing is horror. Sadly there didn't seem to be much left in the way of cash to really add good mood music, interesting sets, or an atmosphere of terror or suspense, except near the end when everything goes crazy and the dead start slowly rising up, dripping maggots. There's genuine success at making an immersive film wrought with danger, and though every scene isn't chilling, it's a pleasure to watch with friends.
Overall Rating: 64% (Gnashing Good Fun For The True Fan)
Aftertaste: This is it! this is exactly the kind of movie that B-Horror fans will adore. It's simple, you can talk through it and it's gross, while still being a tale of survival of the underdog against all odds, and most importantly, disco zombie horror. You know I thought that shark vs. zombie scene would suck, but it was probably the best scene of the whole production.