Dir: K. King. US. 2013. 90mins
Falling well and truly in the B-movie midnight screening slot, the gleefully and violently silly Zombie Hunter is littered with modest moments to enjoy but eventually lacks the humour and style to grab the cult credentials it is looking for.
Best of all are Clare Niederpruem and Jade Reiger as the two feisty women who have more character than their male co-stars combined.
The film, which had its world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, may well play at other genre festivals, but its most likely life is on home entertainment and VOD. Machete star Danny Trejo helps give Zombie Hunter some life, while Clare Niederpruem has the charm to make her a talent to keep an eye on, but oddly in this case it is a film that needed more sex and/or violence to set it apart from other genre fare.
In a post-apocalyptic desert Zombie wasteland (humanity was decimated by a pink’n’oozy street drug called Natas) we meet a grizzled, unsmiling, leather-clad, Camaro-driving fella who goes by the moniker of Hunter (a rather bland Martin Copping) who kills Flesh Eaters for fun while also running from his past (he carries a crumpled picture of wife and young daughter).
He meets (well, one of them shoots him and he crashes his beloved car) a band of survivors led by the axe-wielding Father Jesus (Trejo). Hunter’s innate machoness naturally makes him a magnet for the two Daisy Duke-wearing women there – cute and virginal Alison (Niederpruem) and trailer trash older-but-very-busty Fast Lane Debbie (Jade Reiger) – much to the annoyance of the other redneck types who make up the oddball community.
After a zombie attack the band decide to make a bid for freedom by heading to a local airport in the hope of snagging a plane, but only find themselves against snarling CGI clawed zombie monsters (familiar to those in Resident Evil) and a clown-faced chainsaw-toting weirdo (probably not a zombie, but never clear) with mayhem on his mind.
For a low-budget affair it is all pretty well done, and while there are no surprises in terms of plot or performance, at least it is tight and breezy and tries to keep the gore and mayhem coming. Danny Trejo gives the film his all – though it is really an extended cameo – though best of all are Clare Niederpruem and Jade Reiger as the two feisty women who have more character than their male co-stars combined.
Production company: The Klimax/Arrowsmith Entertainment
International sales: Highland Film Group, www.highlandfilmgroup.com
Producers: K. King, Chris Le, Jennifer Griffin
Executive producers: Kynan Griffin, Jason Faller, Brian King, Rocky Muddaliar, Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki, Brett Bozeman, Doug Miller, Spencer Bowen
Screenplay: K. King, Kurt Knight
Cinematography: Ephraim Smith
Editor: Chris Le
Production designer: Kurt Knight
Music: Christian Davis
Main cast: Martin Copping, Danny Trejo, Clare Niederpruem, Jade Reiger, Jason K Wixom