Director: Lowell Dean
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jesse Moss .Canada. 1h 27m
For a debut feature, there are a lot of pluses for this well written movie from director Lowell Dean, as he explores the almost burnt out zombie horror wave but despite falling back on a few cliches it’s a fairly good horror that sees a few members of Ginger Snaps reunite for a toxic zombie horror adventure in the woods.
Six forensic undergraduates have to ace a scientific field exam if they want their dream job of body hacking in the name of science. They are taken to a remote deserted island in an area known as Eerie Strait, island 13 has been set up as a Body Farm, their tutor Tomkins (Shanks) is overconfident and seems bored and often put off from the outset. He has prepared the island with surveillance cameras and walkie talkies and had the task of monitoring the students throughout their tests of finding corpses and identifying cause of death and length of time left to the elements.
Strangely… the assistant and ex con Larry (Moran) and Tomkins do notice random barrels of a suspect black liquid around the farm but their presence doesn’t seem to bother them, or the fact that the island was potentially used for illegal biological experiments on life-term prisoners, or the problem that the students have too many corpses that don’t always appear in the same place. But this is the way of horror movies, there has to be some convoluted set up and bad choices have to be made… on the plus side, Dean has put in some effort in the story, as having some students on a body farm is pretty sweet and new(?) and way more plausable that a bunch of other comedy set ups, but some of the decisions from this point on are really dumb.
Gradually after hours of playing with maggots and rotting flesh, loud screams and creepy goings on start to happen, a few chickens are stolen from a BBQ later left with that sticky black liquid on it, The kids keep seeing a person in an orange jumpsuit lumbering in the woods, extra corpses are found and then go missing, but I guess the hunger for human flesh becomes too great and soon everyone is being hunted, but the students are spread out, the walkie talkies are down and they have a whole bunch of other logistical problems to solve, but they are smart and resourceful kids, they can do it right? Well in one crucial scene a young girl sees one of the killer zombies and runs into the thickest part of the woods, where she incapacitates herself, why not keep to the path and run for your life? It does make for a gory cringeworthy scene where she’s eventually stuck in dense brush and is munched on bit by bit, like a human shish kebab.
There are some young but exceedingly experienced actors involved and they make things that much more believable it seems that Dean could be pretty rough and unforgiving with them, but they take whatever he can throw in their stride. While I don’t want to put Dean down for his debut as it’s a tiny cut above the rest in a sea of zombie films, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that you need to do to make a zombie production these days but he has gone out of his way to give this some cause and reason which has to be commended but is it just another Zombie movie, well in a way yes, is a bit more exciting than the others, just a bit.. Lowell Dean has gone on and found his footing in the world of cinema, with his epic Wolfcop movies and Supergrid. I think he’s a director who will go from strength to strength, what is really promising is the open ending at 13 Eerie, so hopefully now with more experience under his belt he might return to this and carry on this putrid joyride through zombieville.
Related: Ginger Snaps (2000), Cabin Fever (2002), Wolfcop (2014)
Lists: 13 films, Zombie A-Z
Spotlight :Lowel Dean, Katharine Isabelle,, Brendan Fletcher, Nick Moran,