Behold a zombie infested Ocean’s film
ARMY OF THE DEAD (2021)
Army of the Dead may seem like a quick turnaround for Zack Snyder after the recent release of his cut of Justice League, but with the triumphant success of that film, I was dying for a new Snyder film. Luckily, Army of the Dead might be Snyder’s best work to date.
I’m about to make a HUGE statement: Army of the Dead is the best Zack Snyder film to date and one of the strongest zombie films ever made. The combination of extreme tension, action, and horror with a heist plot line is a brilliant decision by Snyder, and his execution is breathtaking to say the least. This is an isolated apocalyptic landscape he’s created, and it is not a place I’d want to explore on my own. The direction provides a tense atmosphere, making you afraid that an Alpha might appear out of the blue to brutally murder or hold a character captive. Sitting at 148 minutes, you’d think that the film might be a slog at times, but from start to finish it grabs your attention and sincerely never lets you go.
Zack Snyder isn’t new to the zombie film; in fact, he created one of the best remakes ever made with Dawn of the Dead. So the idea of him coming back for another go at the zombie genre seemed like a sure fire win for Snyder fans and it is! The decision to create a heist film within a zombie horror film is a genius idea and makes you root for the individuals in two ways: to survive and to score the money. As a horror it is lacking, but as a thriller involving zombies this film is massively successful.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Dave Bautista is perfectly cast as Scott Ward, an ideal action hero that takes us back to the days of the 80s with Swarzenegger and Stallone on top. Bautista as an actor has proven himself to be comedic with his brilliant portrayal of Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy and the underappreciated My Spy. But here we receive the leading man Bautista that fans of the good ole Kurt Russell Escape from New York era should be ecstatic to witness. Any great heist film needs a kinetic cast of characters, and Snyder, who wrote the film, has created an incredibly dynamic group of characters that rivals the likes of the Ocean’s franchise but with zombies.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
There will be blood in Army of the Dead! Expect the unexpected - besides a lot of blood in your face, in the opening titles alone we are greeted to a splendid slow motion filled with violence that personally exceeds all of the intros we’ve received before. The intro is so Zack Snyder that when the rest of the film begins it's a breath of fresh air that differentiates itself from the typical Snyder affair and makes the action packed finale so much more worth it when it brings you back into the idea that this film is in fact directed by the Man of Steel director. If there's a complaint to be made about the visuals, it’s surprisingly not about the CGI zombie tiger that appears throughout the film, instead its the false advertising with the posters of the film, highlighting the neon nature of the city of Las Vegas, yet we never see anything of the sort in the actual film - it's not a fatal flaw, but it's worth noting.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Junkie XL, aka Tom Holkenberg, is a fantastic composer that most recently worked with Snyder on his cut of Justice League. Tom Holkenberg has grown time and time again, and similar to the Justice League, his score here is certainly one of his most impressive.
Army of the Dead is a film that I had minimal expectations going into. Being a huge fan of the Snyder helmed Dawn of the Dead remake, the idea of the same director having another go at a zombie film 17 years after his last go seemed like one that could go anywhere with its reception. Now after seeing the film I am beyond pumped up to exclaim from the rooftops how awesome Army of the Dead is. Behold a zombie infested Ocean’s film that somehow exceeded all expectations.
ARMY OF THE DEAD is NOW STREAMING on Netflix