Review: APOCALYPSE RISING (2018)

Apocalypse Rising

APOCALYPSE RISING feels like somebody tossed the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS in a blender along with a dash of PORKY’S. And some religious messages for that matter. The result is a film that’s as puzzling at times as it is appealing.

The planet of Rathe has fallen victim to both war and zombie hordes. A handful of survivors Mia (Hunter Alexes Parker ANOMALY) who has telepathic powers, barbarian couple Magnum (Shane Samples) and Thora (Victoria Steadman) their pilot Phoenix (Justin Lebrun), and his partner Beset (Johanna Rae, PSYCHOS, PRESIDENT EVIL). They also brought along Karl (James R Frey) who they think is a jerk, we know he’s full-blown evil.

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They arrive on, where else, Earth. In the Holy Land in the year 2074, (which looks a lot like 2018). A Holy War is on the verge of breaking out and it isn’t long before traces of zombies show up. Can they along with archaeologist India Jones (Shiah Luna AGE OF THE LIVING DEAD) save Earth from the fate of their homeworld?

Characters are one-minute spouting dialogue like “This looks like the primitive information distributing device we had on Rathe. Before we developed telepathy.” The next they’re seriously discussing religion. Or politics. Or procreating. Yes, procreating, it seems on Rathe spontaneous public sex isn’t a bad thing, and they do it frequently. And while that might sound like a plot point from a late night piece of cable TV erotica, APOCALYPSE RISING doesn’t even have nudity.

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It is, as you can tell, all over the place thematically. One minute it’s making serious points about the human condition. The next it’s delivering smutty comments as a couple go at it while a scientist is trying to explain an important discovery. All of it mixed with constant religious references, both to the alien’s religion and biblical ones. Jesus even makes an appearance, and there’s a zombie Jesus as well as the Christian savior.

The result is so uneven it’s impossible to fully get into. Just as I’d start to go along with it there’s another abrupt change of tone to jolt me out of the film again. It’s amusing in places, but it can’t stay on one thread long enough to sustain itself. Considering director Richard Lowry has a long list of credits, including a couple of films I’ve heard of, DOMINION and THE WICKSBORO INCIDENT I would have thought he’d at least try to keep things more cohesive. The script by Gregory P. Wolk (PRESIDENT EVIL) is apparently based in part on his own novel The Dead S.I.T.E. so he should have been able to pull the material together.

For all its flaws APOCALYPSE RISING isn’t an unwatchable movie. As mentioned it has its moments and moves at a good pace. It just suffers from a horrible case of cinematic ADD. If you have a taste for cheese or have the right bunch of friends to invite this would make a fun night’s viewing. For more fun, double feature it with ANGELS VS ZOMBIES.  It’s certainly a better choice than a ponderous, overly serious film like BOARDING SCHOOL

APOCALYPSE RISING is currently available on VOD from Gravitas Ventures. 

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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