Cue Desmond (Greg Garrison) and Jake (Dylan Schettina), two video store clerks with more balls than brains, equipped with salt and a glorified fork especially for the job. With a stroke of luck and much to the surprise of Allison, the duo succeed in melting the rotting hag into a thick green goo and proceed to charge Allison for their efforts, however she demands that the woods around her house be cleared of hellspawn first.
The pacing can be slightly awkward at times, but polished scene transitions and adept use of suspense and dramatic irony more than make up for it. The undead are definitely gruesome but also rather comical, their bumbling shuffles and sense of timing toying with our suspension of disbelief.
Desmond and Jake reluctantly scour a foggy forest, intent on stopping the spread of the infection despite their lack of preparation or experience. When a dismal and forlorn castle comes into view, Desmond suggests they investigate.
We’re treated to funky punk/surf/rockabilly guitar tracks and vibrant fight scenes complimented by Creepshow-esque deep reds and blues adorning the characters’ frightened visage. An encounter with dangerous supernatural forces ensues, with blood and slime flying freely in a veritable struggle for survival while Allison makes a shocking discovery in the abandoned basement of her home.
As the unlikely decision maker, Desmond’s smarmy dismissals and upbeat charisma contrast well with Jake’s serious nature and technical terminology; Desmond constantly shakes off Jake’s call for caution and treats the mission like the hastily thrown together plan that it is, revelling in his joyous slaughter of the shambling corpses that stand in his path.
Jake’s talk of a cult of necromancers finally starts to be taken seriously by cast as the situation takes a drastic turn. As the source of the undead nightmare slowly begins to surface, it becomes obvious that he’s the only one who knows how to permanently destroy the rising threat that looms over them.
While Allison carefully navigates a cellar riddled with putrid zombies that stir and follow her with glowing eyes, Desmond and Jake quickly realise the task is beyond them and are forced to retreat when Jake is critically wounded.
The atmosphere is skilfully executed, nothing short. The subtle hum of crickets, a thin blue-tinged fog and perpetual moonlight. Sparse, gnarled trees and scorched forest floors strewn with mutilated animal entrails. A delicious sense of hostility and isolation has been thoughtfully cultivated, and it all adds towards a mounting impression of despair.
In light of their failures, Allison and Desmond begin to bond while they determine their next operation. Questionable alliances are formed and soon a full scale assault on Allison’s mansion is afoot.
A faint glimmer of George Romero’s symbolic satire is evident here, a peek into an ever-increasing horde of staggering skeletons and lumbering zombies.
An all-out brawl entails, shockingly gory while a jittery electronic soundtrack facilitates the violence, cadavers and characters duking it out in a classic free-for-all, limbs and heads flung from their owners as the human inhabitants hack away at the revenants like beings possessed in a satisfying display of carnage.
An unforeseen twist sees the sky lit up with a demonic green flash, akin to Ghost Busters, as the threat evolves and humanity itself is suddenly on the line before Desmond faces a climactic final confrontation. The action is swift and choreography crisp, with more than a few pop culture references throughout.
Despite the enormous strife depicted, the film still manages to portray a fulfilling outcome; the chemistry between the characters hinted at thus far now seems earned and appears convincing, each having grown from the experience.
From vicious sword fights to the dramatic use of close-ups and startling stills to send a shiver down one’s spine, the devotion to detail is tactful and deliberate from start to finish. A modern gem despite its trivial flaws, Invasion of the Undead deserves a watch from any indie horror fan.
Review: Invasion of the Undead
By Adam Kaplan - 15th April 2015
Invasion of the Undead is a classic retro throwback zombie-fest, at times gritty and nerve-wracking, at others a quirky black comedy with solid wit and dire machinations afoot.
We open with the sight of a beautiful mansion on a cheery morning; inside a messy bedroom sleeps Allison (Marie Barker), recently graduated and settling in. After finally receiving news of a much needed interview, she happily starts to dress for the occasion when her raised spirits are crushed by a bloodied intruder.
The film would be well at home in 80s theatres, but has done well to adopt a more modern style of cinematography. Instead of feeding us exposition until we bore, the plot shifts between action and occult, introducing creative ideas and new methods of making us cringe in despair.
After locking the lurching green figure in her room, Allison is visited by a gutsy girl scout (Josie Levy) that claims to know of a pair of ‘experts’ that could solve her problem.