Matthew A. Peters
Matthew A. Peters
Wayne W. Johnson
Tyler Dane Sutton
Samuel J. Taylor
Empire State Of The Dead is an Anthology film about an uprising of the undead in the state of New York. As the military tries to gain control and stop a widespread zombie outbreak. A gangster is doing his very best to undo all the armies work in controlling the situation. He wants to take full control of this newly infected world. Along with the military and gangster stories, we witness a handful of other stories of civilians trying to survive this latest zombie apocalypse.
Where do we begin with a movie like Empire State Of The Dead? After watching this zombie anthology. I get a sense that a lot of people will not have a single clue about what is happening in this latest zombie offering. At no point in the film is it explained or hinted at besides the closing credits that this is, in fact, an anthology movie. I only picked up on it myself after one of the segments was shot in black and white, looking completely different from the rest of the segments. I stayed to watch the credits and noticed it was indeed an anthology film.
I think the first significant problem with Empire State Of The Dead is the way the movie flows. The flow of the film feels very fractured and offputting. I can see what they've tried to execute, but it's not made clear until the end credits begin to roll. I think the biggest problem is the fact that while this plays like one single movie with dates and title cards to show where the film is at with its undead uprising, it's never very clear that each segment is apart of an anthology and told from the point of ten different directors.
Each segment of this is random groups of characters trying to survive the beginning of this zombie outbreak in upstate New York. The movie at times even has the same characters showing up in other segments as the same character so the impression of this being one singular movie and it not feeling like an anthology is felt. The movie is meant to also be book-ended by the military and gangster subplots, but it's just all over the place during its extremely long running time of being just shy of two hours.
The segments themselves all range from silly to bizarre. The strangest of the bunch comes in the form of two male home invaders who break into the wrong house. When they end up discovering the homeowner who has a female zombie tied to a bed and is having sex with it, he turns on the home invaders while going all Deliverance on their asses while smiling at the camera. It's like a mix of Dead Girl meets Deliverance. This movie is clearly inspired by many other horror films. I also see a lot of references in this movie to George A. Romero among other horror films.
Regarding the makeup and gore effects used in the movie, this is some of the worst and cheapest I've ever seen in a zombie film. This has micro-budget written all over it. A lot of the segments could pass for uni-student projects at best. Some of these segments in the movie take the practical effects approach while towards the end of the film, a couple of them use terrible CGI blood. It's all over the place and uneven with each new segment. Practical always wins out over computer generated.
Some of the terrible makeup and effects contain scenes where a military soldier is attacked by zombies, and you can clearly see that when they remove his shirt to rip open his stomach that instead of it being his skin, it's an orange garbage bag that the zombie tear open. We also have a few moments where characters are seen bashing zombies heads in, but you can clearly see them hitting brick walls or pavement to simulate them caving in zombies heads. We even have the old sausages used as intestines trick.
The acting in this movie is dreadful. There is clearly no one famous or known in the cast. This is a group of independent movie makers, inviting their mates along to film these segments. If you don't go in expecting any award-winning performances, you will probably be alright. I didn't go in expecting it either, but this far exceeded all my expectations on a scale of how bad some of the performances are in Empire State Of The Dead. I'm thinking a casting call was put out for volunteers to star in the film.
Lastly, this movie isn't scary at all. You aren't likely to find one jump out of your seat moment anywhere in this film. At times I found myself laughing at the hilariously bad acting and cheap makeup and gore effects. I think even most young children or teens could sit through this movie without batting an eyelid. I'm confident that most of the animated films these days would have scarier monsters in them compared to any of the zombies found in Empire State Of The Dead.
DEATH TOLL: 69 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Heads are bashed in.
- Zombies are shot.
- Zombies are stabbed in the head.
- Intestines are pulled out.
- Someone's head is stomped on.
- A machete to the head.
- People are bitten by zombies.
- People are eaten by zombies.
- Zombies are burnt.
- Zombies chew people's throats out.
- Heads crushed and necks snapped.
- A body is torn limb from limb.
- People are seen with bullet holes in their heads.
- A zombie chews off someone's face.
- Someone has their throat cut.
- Eyes gouged out.
- Someone's throat is torn out.
- Someone's head is repeatedly smashed into the ground.
- A guy is seen having sex with a chained up zombie.
Empire State Of The Dead is one of my least favourite horror movies made in 2016. The movie is an anthology movie without ever letting you until the end credits. So a lot of the action and stories play out like a single movie with tons of wildly different visions. It's messy and confusing. The segments range from bad to worse. The acting is z-grade. The make-up effects and computer-generated imagery are by far some of the worst ever put in a film and lastly, this is best described as a uni-student made zombie film.