Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Rezort

* spoilers *

It's after the zombie war and life has returned to normal. Zombies are destroyed everywhere except in a luxury Rezort located on a remote island where rich people pay thousands to hunt zombies for entertainment. A group of strangers go together on essentially a guided hunting safari until security fails and the zombies are set free to roam the island. Can this group comprised of mostly civilians survive real encounters with the walking dead?

The zombie war claimed the lives of 2 billion people, but the world seems to have been rebuild. The Rezort was created when an island was found populated by zombies. Instead of calling authorities to get rid of it, Valerie Wilton saw an opportunity to have guests pay tons for the controlled experience of hunting the undead on the Rezort. The public is concerned about zombies escaping and creating another zombie war, but precautions are put in place so the island will be obliterated if it's ever compromised. Wilton's speech at the beginning of the film talks about providing people the opportunity for revenge for their experiences and the people they've lost. It's an effective speech, but I'm sure her motivations are purely monetary. The Rezort is worth the price as everything is luxurious, branded consistently, and safe when everything works.

The cast of characters have very different motivations for being there. Melanie with her boyfriend Lewis plans to get over the trauma of seeing her father turn into a zombie in front of her during the zombie war. Veteran Archer is quiet, but shoots with deadly accuracy and makes the correct choices under pressure. Jack and Alfie are obnoxious teenage gamers who are much better in first person shooters than they are in real life. Sadie rounds out the group as uninterested in shooting zombies, but attended to spite her ex-fiance who dumped her before their wedding. She isn't what she seems and introduces a virus into the Rezort's system, causing it to fail and release the zombies. Her interests lie in activism, working for a group that believes zombies should be respected as people.

The zombies in this world are the typical slow shuffley type, but they seem to have a gleam of intelligence. They can't speak or anything like that, but they can recognize individual people and even show some emotion. As usual, they are driven by hunger for human flesh and won't let anything come between them and their meal. One big question about the island and its zombies is how are there enough for people to keep killing indefinitely? The answer is revealed as a charitable refugee program used as a front to lure refugees, make them zombies, and age their skin and clothes to make them match the rest of the zombies. This one aspect elevates the film to social commentary in my eyes especially with the current conservative opinions of refugees. There's a particularly satisfying set of scenes between Valerie Wilton and the zombies. She teases a specific zombie by staying just out of reach for a bite. Later on, that same zombie bypasses Melanie to tear into Valerie due to its treatment as human and as a zombie.

I expected a cheesy good time akin to Zoombies and Jurassic Park, but I found an unexpectedly enjoyable film. Some of the characters are well developed enought that I actually care if they die. The refugee aspect is timely and well done to show how monstrous it is to treat refugees as if they aren't human and condemning them to die in their war torn countries. It also means, in context of the film, that the zombie war has made human life expendable. Even the production value was much higher than expected with more reliance on practical effects over CGI. The ending has zombies invading from the ocean, not fully destroyed by the firebomb, of course leaving it open for a sequel that I would gladly watch. The Rezort is a much better zombie movie than I expected that actually had some moral complexity, compelling characters, and social commentary.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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