Zombie Rage (2023) Review
Zombie Rage is a new five-story anthology about the zombie apocalypse. Ranging in tone from satirical to serious and shot in a variety of locations, the only common factor the stories share, apart from the walking dead, is their low-budget and DIY filming style.
The first segment “CKX News” begins in an alleyway in Winnipeg, where Channel CKX reporter Nelson Bighammer (Nelson Mayer, Laughing Drum) is interviewing residents about the downtown crime problem. That’s about to be eclipsed by a zombie problem however as he finds the walking dead interrupting him.
The various interviews are supposed to be funny, but sadly most of them fall flat with tired jokes about having the homeless kill each other off and some political ranting that will probably be lost on many non-Canadians. Written, produced and directed by Johnny Lektrik (Intergalactic News, Snake Pit) and Mark Kiazyk (Snake Pit) it never gets much funnier than “Are you zombies or meth addicts?”
Next up is “Two Stoners and A Zombie” written and directed by Ken Brewer (Like Father, Like Daughter, Death Park: The Beginning). Tom (Tyler Ulrich, Like Father, Like Daughter, Death Bitch) and Jerry (Keith Johnson, Trash Juice, Like Father, Like Daughter) are sitting on the couch getting baked and watching what looks like one of the Death Park films when the power goes out. Soon their apartment becomes full of refugees from the zombies outside, including one who has been bitten.
This actually isn’t the comedy its title might have you expecting, it’s played straight and is actually fairly good apart from a non-ending that makes it feel like the opening scenes of a feature rather than a complete short.
Zombie Rage’s third segment, “Flesh Attack” was written and directed by John Ward (VHS Violence II: VHS and KILL, Meathook Massacre 4). A thief (Andriana Garbiso, Tales from the Grave, Blood from Stone) breaks into a house containing a huge pile of cash. Unfortunately, she picks the first night of the Zombie Apocalypse to do it. This segment features a fair amount of blood although if the zombies are just now appearing how that pair of skeletons got there is a bit of a mystery.
“To Be Continued” pops up on the screen and we go to “Veronica’s Bachelorette Party”, once again directed by Ace Brewer and this time written by Meri Gyetvay (Slaycation, Death Park 2) is next. Veronica (Traci Burr, May, It Wants Blood!) is getting married, so her friends throw her a bachelorette party complete with a stripper (Doug Waugh, The Prototype, Sadistic Eroticism). Too bad he was scratched not by a crackhead but by a zombie.
Highlighted by a nod to the 80s cult film Burial Ground is another decent short. But, like “Two Stoners and A Zombie” it feels more like part of a longer film than a complete story.
Part two of “Flesh Attack” is next and the scenes pitting the thief against the zombies are well enough done, but too much time is spent on YouTube videos from a conspiracy theorist ranting about the government and the Illuminati and a preacher played by the director who blames it on abortion, trans people and Biden. The preacher complaining people spent money on groceries and rent instead of giving it to him to fight these things is amusing, but it all goes on way too long and detracts from the action.
Ken Brewer and Meri Gyetvay return for “A Walk in the Park”. Three friends are indeed taking a walk in the park, as are a couple of guys ranting about crime and homeless people. Unfortunately for them, several zombies are doing the same thing.
This resembles Brewer’s film Like Father, Like Daughter as lots of people run around in a park and get killed off. People get attacked and their friends who have baseball backs run off rather than try and save them. I guess smashed skulls were out of the budget’s reach, there are some torn-out intestines and such to help make up for it.
Then it’s back to Winnipeg where another reporter (Micaella Stone, Windfall, Unwanted) is interviewing Bill Gates when zombies interrupt.
For an ultra-low-budget anthology, Zombie Rage is fairly well done and you can see the filmmakers did try to get as much of the budget on the screen as possible. Just don’t expect fancy zombie makeup or intricate effects. Apart from “CKX News” all of the segments are at least somewhat effective and at an hour and twenty minutes overall the film doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Zombie Rage had its theatrical premiere on July 13th. Distribution details, as well as a trailer, are still being finalized.