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Australia 2003
Directed by
Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
104 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Ilan Sternfein
4 stars


Synopsis: Berkley is quiet little town in rural Queensland. It is a town that Renee (Felicity Mason), after the bank forecloses on her farm, cannot get out of fast enough. There is only one thing stopping her. A meteor shower that is turning the townsfolk into brain eating zombies. After a timely rescue by the town nut bar Marion (Mungo McKay), she joins up with a young couple: Wayne (Rob Jenkins) and Sallyanne, (Lisa Cunningham) and police officers Harrison (Dirk Hunter) and Molly (Emma Randall). Together they must fight for their lives and for the world against an army of the Undead

Seeing as how I’m not that huge a fan of the horror genre, and hearing that this was an Australian horror film I wasn’t expecting much. Let’s face it, our track record with horror flicks is laughable (think Cut, Houseboat of Horror and Razorback). But to my surprise I just couldn’t hate this film. It was way too much fun. The film starts off innocuously enough in a small town bank where we see Renee losing her family’s farm. Then we go to a local cricket match where all of a sudden a meteor falls through one of the players in the most graphic, disgusting and hilarious way possible. After this it is non-stop Zombie fighting action that is gory, disgusting, revolting and again, downright hilarious.

It is clear that Michael and Peter Spierig are not only huge fans of the horror genre, but also huge fans of Zombie films in particular. Comparison to Night of the Living Dead  must be made, and has been by other reviewers, but this does not mean that this film cannot stand alone. There is no doubt the Spierig brothers were greatly inspired by the classic films of the genre but whilst the set-up is that of a zombie film, the characters and the heart of the film is uniquely Australian.

The cast of Undead is excellent with endearingly funny performances all round. But the standouts have to be Mungo MacKay as the laconic zombie killer Marion, Felicity Mason as the beautiful damsel-in-distress-turned-super-heroine Renee, and Dirk Hunter as manic cop, Harrison. Marion may not have the funniest lines but his John Woo-like action sequences and hilarious hidden guns make him a fun character. Renee’s poise and beauty make her memorable as well as her handiness with a circular saw blade.

Producing a film that has memorable characters, snappy dialogue and over 305 visual effects on a miniscule budget is a task some film makers would be daunted by, but not Michael and Peter Spierig. They took the small number of resources they had and made a film that is an instant classic in the horror genre.




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