REVIEW: Dead And The Damned aka Cowboys And Zombies

Ah, the zombie western. If there’s any type of genre within the zombie subgenre that can compete with Nazi zombies, it’s the zombie western — though it would lose, of course. It seems like a sure thing: take the old west and put zombies in it. Now we have cowboys fighting the undead with six-shooters, scantily-clad saloon whores running around, and enough blood for your average Sergio Leone fan. Brilliant.

So why doesn’t it ever work? That I cannot say (I would venture “good script” and “skilled director” as guesses), but what I can say is that although Cowboys & Zombies tries, it, too, is one more failure in the zombie western outing.

We immediately kick things off with a rollicking gunfight, as our bounty-hunting main character (David A. Lockheart) goes in search of a $1000 bounty (Rick Mora). Near the same forest where his bounty resides also sits an extraterrestrial alien meteorite thing that, when brought into town by some yokels, emits a strange gas and.. well, you guessed it, everybody in town turns into zombies. This happens as the bounty hunter is catching his prey in the forest, so when he returns to town he, and his bounty, have quite a bit to contend with.

This movie makes the most agregious mistakes of cinema, zombie or not: it’s boring. We just don’t care about the characters, their motivations or their lives. Also, it’s so entirely predictable that we’re just watching the screen to show us what we already know (“finally, it’s about time the bounty hunter and his prisoner started working together”… “the prisoner is innocent of his crimes, reeeaaallllyyy???”). It’s clear that there’s nothing new under the sun here. The zombies are fast runners, when it suits a chase scene, and slow shamblers, when it suits a trapped scene. The make-up is adequate but nothing great. There’s a bit of gore, but nothing to write home about (luckily it’s very light on the CGI). There might be more nudity than there is blood. (Ok, probably not, but it doesn’t lack in that department.)

Unfortunately Cowboys & Zombies (aka The Dead and the Damned as it’s known here in America) doesn’t reach a new high water mark for zombie westerns. For fans of this sub-subgenre, it seems we’re still waiting for a good, solid movie to represent it, much in the way Dead Snow did for Nazi zombies. It gets 4/10 alien meteorite-things from me, and hopefully doesn’t mean the zombie western has forever rode off into the sunset.

You can get it at trusty ol’ Amazon

About Paul Skow

Paul Skow lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area and has an unhealthy obsession with zombie movies. If the zompocalypse does ever occur, he'll be one of the first to take it as a very good reason to loot liquor stores and pharmacies.