Director: John Lyde
Cast: Corey Sevier, Eve Mauro, Jasen Wade, Matthew Reese, Danielle Churchran, Ben Urie, Will Rubio, Paul D. Hunt
Plot: While Americans think that Osama was killed in 2011, a group of marines know the truth. In a last ditch attempt at winning the war, Bin Laden infects himself and his followers with a zombie infection.
A movie about a zombie Osama Bin Laden. How was I ever going to resist?
The film opens in 2011, with the crack team of marines breaking into Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. There is a crucial difference. Before getting shot down by the marines, Bin Laden injects himself with a serum. Later, as his body sinks to the bottom of the ocean, his corpse reanimates and washes up on a shore. The film jumps ahead to a small group of marines. The Middle-East is populated with zombies and they are trying to track down the source, before it spreads overseas. Also, caught up in the infection is an eccentric man, Derek, obsessed with the war on terror, since his entire fire crew were killed in the 9/11 bombings, who believes that Osama is still alive. He goes on an one-man hunt to take him down, unaware that his worried sister, Dusty, is also in the area, trying to track him down before he gets himself killed.
Where to start with Osombie? A lot of people are going to watch this film, simply to figure out what the writers have up their sleeve. Honestly, not a lot. It becomes clear very soon that this entire film is an excuse to have a group of American heroes shoot at terrorists, without the backlash of angry viewers criticising them for depicting the bad guys as one-dimensional killers. After all, they are zombies, so religion never becomes an issue. Once you’ve gotten over the fact, that the writers and directors are going to handle the material with the caution of a bull in a china shop, it becomes more enjoyable. The script still suffers from being wildly inconsistent. The zombies are little more than generic zombies that seem to jump from rule to rule. I am all for film-makers not trying to be original with their Infected, especially in ‘fun zombie actions’ like this, but you need to adhere to the limits you set yourself. These zombies go from slow and cumbersome, to stealth experts that can somehow sneak up on the characters without being detected. Expect a load of zombies jumping into certain camera shots for a jump scare, ignoring the fact that at least two marines must have been looking in that direction. There are infuriating moments when the heroes would be running from the zombies, only for those Infected to disappear, when the next obstacle comes along. One zombie actually gets killed, while hollering the Wilhelm scream. The humans are just as inconsistent. They lose a marine without batting an eyelid and then cry wildly over another soldier, simply because we are nearing the end of the film and we need some emotion. Their motives make little sense and it is hard to care for them too much.
It’s not even as though this guys are bad actors. Some of them seem fairly competent and there isn’t really a horrendously bad one in the bunch. The problem is that they have no characters to work with. The introductory scene establishes my worst fears: this movie is about a bunch of actors wanting to look cool, while killing zombies. Therefore, we are treated to a group of white people, firing off wisecracks, while beheading countless enemies. The woman of the group (named Tomboy, because they are literally that subtle about their obligatory strong female character), pulls out a Samurai sword and starts chopping up zombies, despite samurai swords definitely not being standard military equipment. They are hardly awful to spend time with a lot of the time the humour working (“What’s the hardest part about roller-skating? Telling your parents you’re gay.”), but they are so two-dimensional that the more emotional scenes are sacrificed later. We expect the marines to get picked off one by one, until the end (in many ways, the style of the movie is inspired by ‘Predator’), so when one of them turns around, announcing he was bit, we see it coming a mile off, and don’t feel any sadness for the character. They try to make us care, often delving into Tarantino-esque monologues about their past, but they don’t seem particularly bothered about it. One guy tells us about his messy divorce, but it seems such a forced piece of characterisation that it doesn’t really make an impact. It is almost welcome to have two non-soldier characters, Dusty and Derek (also the two best actors here), because they are less gung-ho. Jasen Wade’s character has strange motivations, making bizarre decisions, but he is eccentric and fun to spend time with. Dusty’s motivations are much clearer and it is refreshing to have one character, who isn’t a patriot with a laidback attitude towards murder.
But at the end of the day, criticising script and characters feels like a low blow. Osombie does exactly what it says on the tin. This is a nonsense hour and a half of total, unfiltered fun. And yes, this film is definitely fun. While the expositions scenes fall flat on their feet, when the action ramps up, it is just entertaining to witness. Some of the talking scenes are punctuating with Tomboy sniping zombies from a distance. The kills are fun and brutal. Even the macho action is mocked. The main character gets teased, because he finds the smallest excuse to take his top off. Derek, with no military training, is an expert with his gun, after clocking in unhealthy hours with Call of Duty. So no, you won’t have a bad time watching this movie, even if it lacks a script that has any idea what it is doing.
Final Verdict: Poor character development, an uneven script, but at the end of the day, this is more fun than I expected. Zombie Insurgents? Who even came up with that?!