So here we are, the first month of the year done already. I thought I’d end the month off with something I haven’t tackled in a little while: zombies. Ridge War Z was directed by Alek Gearhart, and was apparently filmed on a miniscule $1000 budget. Doesn’t sound like much will come of this, but maybe we’ll see a miracle? Let’s find out.
There’s not much to explain story wise, really. An author is writing a book about the battle at Gory Ridge, and accompanies the surviving soldiers to said ridge to get their accounts of what happened while taking in the scenery for himself. From here on in the movie switches back and forth from the present day to the time of the battle itself, with some narration now and then from the author.
There’s no getting around it; Ridge War Z is DULL. Where should I begin? Let’s talk about how absolutely nothing happens for the first hour of the movie! In that first hour it’s nothing but walking and talking, in both the present and the flashbacks. It reminded me of the walking scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies, except less exciting. There was one scene in that first hour where we got to see the soldiers shooting at presumably zombies, but we don’t get to see their targets, just shots of the soldiers firing at something. They could have been firing at illegal immigrants for all we know.
The fact that this is supposed to be a character study with these soldiers is pretty disappointing given that the acting is questionable at best. Many lines aren’t delivered convincingly, facial expressions seem to indicate the soldiers are bored and slightly disconnected more than scared or focused. And given that the first hour is nothing but these guys attempting to deliver convincing acting, you can guess how that all worked out.
Let’s talk about the last half hour, where the action finally picks up. Hell, where we finally see a zombie for that matter. Once the zombies attack, we get to see how inept these soldiers truly are. They could barely score hits a lot of the time, and some were killed incredibly quickly. Sure, it’s brought up earlier in the movie that they haven’t really slept in about four days. But that’s no excuse for unloading around 20 rounds from a machine gun and barely managing to drop two zombies no more than 15 feet away. And I started thinking one soldier had an infinite ammo code in use on his gun, as he was almost constantly firing, with no indication he was reloading at any point.
The zombies aren’t your garden variety Romero fare. They move pretty quickly, and head shots are not necessary to take them down. If you pay attention, you’ll clearly see a few stay down after taking body shots. Also, they seem to be pretty proficient in melee weapon use, as we see one take a soldiers leg out with a machete or something. I dunno, it happened so quickly I’m not sure what it used, and I don’t care to go back and look.
And the effects. Do I really need to talk about the effects given the budget I previously mentioned? Well ok, I’ll briefly talk about it. It’s bad. You’ll see blood effects on par (or maybe a little worse) than what you’ll see from The Asylum. Amusingly, there’s apparently only five people playing zombies. So they are recycled over and over during the last half hour.
If you value your time and sanity, you’ll do yourselves a favor and avoid Ridge War Z. Normally I try to give leniency where super low budgets are concerned, but there was no defending this one. It was boring, with weak, shaky cam action and terrible effects. Not to mention that it was less of a war and more of a minor skirmish. But I suppose Ridge Skirmish Z doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Rest in peace everyone.
Macabre Rating: 1 out of 5 tombstones.