Despite its initial zombie appeal (what zombie movie isn't somewhat appealing to those of us writing for and reading Blood Brothers?), the final film for me to watch of "After Dark Horrorfest 4" is a solid let down. "Zombies Of Mass Destruction" takes itself too seriously to be a comedy and is far too humorous to be taken seriously. Not to mention it beats you in the face with its religious/political/ethical agendas. Not that those can't be present in a zombie film (watch any of George A Romero's early "Dead" films) but "Zombies Of Mass Destruction" fails to really do any of it well.
A group of survivors on a small island called Port Gamble find themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak. As it spreads and the tensions rise, the survivors look for reason and explanation to disengage their panic. Soon they turn on each other using religion, race, and sexuality to becoming worse than the things outside. Oh, and its supposed to be funny too.
When you start using stereotypes to try to make a point, whether it be for your own point or not, you run a line of insulting a lot of different people. "Zombies Of Mass Destruction" fails to really catch its own drift here and ends up producing completely 2D characters to represent various subcultures of humanity. What this does is create people that don't even seem like real characters. This somewhat defeats the intentions of the film. Instead of preaching its political and social agendas in ways to open the audiences eyes, it becomes a series of semi-serious and often awkward situations that become rather cartoonish. Thusly undermining its own intent. Which is where the film fails on its more serious side.
As for its humorous tact, its rather hit or miss. As I watched it, I knew what was supposed to be funny but I rarely found it funny. It forced a lot of its punchlines and only occasionally succeeded in working its moral agendas towards its humor. There are a couple of pretty damn funny moments that very much pull on classic horror/comedies like "Evil Dead 2" (with one moment in particular that has a zombie eat her own eyeball that was well timed) but more often than not the timing was off for it to work like it should have.
The best part of "Zombies Of Mass Destruction" is the horror element of the film. There are some solid special effects (sans some random CGI ones that tended to be out of place) with some nice gore moments that brought to mind Peter Jackson's over the top style on his older films like "Dead Alive". When the film throws aside its political satire and focuses on its zombie action is when it actually works and earns it a star and a half.
Despite some solid special effects and nice zombie moments, "Zombies Of Mass Destruction" is a large letdown. It tries so desperately hard to convey its message it turns down its viewers by bashing "open thinking" into their skulls. Perhaps its just this reviewer, but I would rather not have a sermon preached to me in my zombie films. Great idea here, its just poorly executed.
Written By Matt Reifschneider