Review: Dead Genesis
In a sweaty panic, a man frantically grabs a gun from the closet and nervously makes his way into the next room. He sees his wife ravenously devouring their little boy, blood and guts painting the gruesome scene. The boy is twitching, eyes glazed over, taking in sharp breaths; it’s hard to believe he’s still alive. With tears in his eyes, the man shoots his wife — not once, but three times, with the last headshot finally doing her in (the final bullet also shattering the picture frame behind her). The boy — no longer being eaten alive, but now clearly a member of the undead — sits up, his intestines spilling onto the floor, and the man, unbelievably, must shoot again..
Such is the dreadful, eye-gluing scene that is our introduction to *Dead Genesis*. This happens, the title card tells us, on Day 4 of, naturally, the zombie apocalypse. The first 15 minutes of the film concentrate solely on the effects it’s had on society, showing with equal glee liberal and conservative stereotypes. As a prologue to the film it’s something that not even George A. Romero has been able to match with Land, Diary, or Survival of the Dead, and I literally had goosebumps wondering if I had by chance stumbled across The Best Zombie Movie of 2011 So Far. It’s that good, bitches.
Watching on, though, it’s plain to see that all of that really is just a prologue to the more personal story of the movie: Jillian (Emily Alatalo), an almost distractingly-beautiful documentarian, goes into the thick of it, so to speak, to film a group of infamous renegade hunters called The Deadheads. These renegade hunting groups have broken out all over America and seem to be the most effective way to deal with the undead menace (so much so, that they’re now sanctioned by the government). Jillian wants to make a pro-war film showing the kind of progress we’re making on the War on Dead. It reminds me a lot of the second half of *Full Metal Jacket*, where the Army reporter goes into “the shit” for an article.
And this is where the story comes very nearly to a screeching halt. After so much intensity and societal upheaval in the first 15 minutes, it’s a bit of a (gradual) letdown to be treated to character portraits, inter-personal conflicts, and detailed group dynamics. That’s not to say the characters are necessarily boring; each one is unique, three-dimensional, and relatable. They’re real people, and the acting is great by all. It’s just that now, it’s a group of people in the woods, talking. A lot of talking. There’s a couple distractions — like going to a bar where.. unmentionable things are taking place — but mostly it’s conversations, diatribes, and arguments in the woods. Mostly the viewer just keeps waiting for something to happen.
The characters do kill zombies here and there, and when they do, the gore and blood is top-notch. Really utterly fantastic. They don’t skimp in the slightest, although nothing compares to that first scene. There could’ve been a bit more, but this isn’t a gorefest kind of zombie movie, even if the opening scene would suggest otherwise.
*Dead Genesis* is a rather fantastic low-budget zombie film. It’s movies like these that keep me coming back for more. It does slow down quite a bit, which can be jarring if you’re not expecting it (obviously I wasn’t), but you do eventually get drawn back in to these characters. I was all ready to say “this is what *Survival of the Dead* SHOULD have been,” and that statement isn’t far off, but it just can’t ever manage to recover from the intensity of the prologue. I sincerely hope writer/director Reese Eveneshen makes another zombie flick, concentrating more on the broad societal ramifications of the zombie apocalypse. *Dead Genesis *gets an 8/10 from this reviewer. Right now, it’s available at IndieFlix.com
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