As such, I am more than thankful there are tons of titles out there in the ‘land of the dead’ for me to choose from. But this blessing can be a curse. Directors cannot redo what has already been done otherwise the fad will start to fade. The trick to keeping the genre alive is to keep the ideas fresh and the plots original. Anyone can put a few walking corpses on film…but it’s what you do with them that makes the movie.
DEADLANDS 2: TRAPPED makes good use of a unique premise and location to help keep the zombie genre ‘alive and well’, if you’ll pardon the pun. Set primarily in a movie theater, the film follows six people who have taken refuge inside the building to escape a zombie infestation that has overtaken their town. The zombies are a result of a government biological-weapon test. When a new nerve gas is released into the town’s population, it kills the townsfolk but then reanimates them and sparks a zombie apocalypse.
For being a low-budget venture, this film is remarkably well done. The pacing is perfect and the plot moves quickly along. The camera angles work very well, however I have to point out that many of the scenes are so dark that it is sometimes difficult to tell what is happening. The special effects team is to be commended for their zombie effects. And although the gore scenes are few, they are definitely done with gusto and flair; my favorite one involves two zombies tearing a man’s face off. The acting talent in the film is spot-on also, for the most part. I have to admit that I was not too impressed with them in the pre-zombie- apocalypse scenes, though. The cast is phenomenal during the dramatic parts, capturing the intensity of each moment perfectly, but the small-talk and no-drama scenes lack a bit of plausibility to me for some reason.
The only part of this movie that completely threw me off was the very beginning. When the movie started playing, I thought for a second that I had put the wrong DVD in the player. The grainy image of an Elvira-like vixen in a graveyard made me wonder what it was that I was watching. But when this character turned out to be a sort of narrator, I began to understand what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish. As it turns out, Helena, the ‘Hussy of Horror’ as she dubs herself, gives us a very brief glimpse into the upcoming movie. I was disappointed to discover she did not show up at the end of the film however.
I have to give credit to the production team for the attention to detail they gave the film. They did an excellent job with the details for each scene, right down to every minor prop and effect. I especially liked the military uniforms and weapons. I found a short feauturette in the Special Features about the costumes and weapons used for the film. It was very interesting, as it was hosted by the military advisor to the film. As it turns out, the military uniforms and equipment used in this film were exact replicas of those being used in Afghanistan right now. The production team definitely did their homework. I also liked how the filmmaker gave a nod to his previous DEADLANDS production: in the background of one scene, the movie marquee lists DEADLANDS: THE RISING as one of the movies playing.
Overall, this movie is well done, entertaining, and definitely one to add to your collection. It is uplifting to see low-budget movies with this kind of quality. I will be surprised if I do not see director Gary Ugarek behind the camera of a major Hollywood motion picture production within the next couple of years.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for DEADLANDS 2: TRAPPED
CLICK HERE to view the official website of the DEADLANDS TRILOGY
CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of DEADLANDS 2: TRAPPED on dvd
CLICK HERE to view the official website of Anthem Pictures