The Rezort (2015)
★★★ / ★★★★
The “Jurassic Park” meets “The Walking Dead” premise might sound ridiculous at first glance, but “The Rezort,” written by Paul Gerstenberger and directed by Steve Barker, proves able to rise above its premise, offering a tension-filled, consistently entertaining, gory good time. At least during the first half, it makes an appealing case to visit an island northwest of Africa so one can have the opportunity to kill as many undead as one wishes, as if it were some sort of a sporting event. The final act dares to make a political statement relevant to many countries across our increasingly modern world.
The setting is quite inspired. The story takes place several years after a zombie apocalypse. But instead of a bleak future, here, the living has won the battle against the zombies. However, there are people out there, like our heroine, Melanie (Jessica De Gouw), who survived the war but unable to move on since she is haunted by what had happened when she was a child. She hopes that by going to the zombie resort and summoning the courage to shoot a zombie in the head, it will help resolve the trauma that plagues her. Unbeknownst to her and her fellow guests, however, the computer system designed to keep the flesh-eaters restrained is about to go horribly awry.
Perhaps not on purpose, the inconsistency between slow-moving and fast-moving undead works to the picture’s advantage. Since the material moves fast—coupled with a real eye for framing—especially with its kills—and tight editing is utilized during chases, such an inconsistency manages to create a wonderful surprise. With each encounter in every new location, we wonder whether the characters are about to come across the slower moving, less threatening kind or the rabid ones that bring “28 Days Later” and “28 Weeks Later” to mind.
It is expected that the group of survivors contain colorful characters, but it is uncommon that just about each one actually has an interesting story to tell. For instance, take note that Lewis (Martin McCann), Melanie’s boyfriend, who is so kind and caring before the outbreak slowly turning into the person that he was during the zombie war. Even the annoying teenagers, Jack (Jassa Ahluwalia) and Alfie (Lawrence Walker), are given a curious backstory: they won an online shooter/video game competition and having done so has granted them to shoot real guns and shoot at real (former) people. When one of them dies eventually, I was surprised how much I ended up caring for the fate of the other.
The special and visual effects are well-done and well-executed. As usual, my favorite moments involve the camera being up close to fresh bites, deep gashes, and mortal wounds. Even the viscosity of the blood is just right; I have a problem with horror films where the blood is so thick, they look more like corn syrup mixed with red dye. Here, the color and thickness of the blood usually looks something like I would get from, say, a nosebleed. In some scenes, I could almost smell that sort of metallic taste or smell that blood emanates.
“The Rezort,” also known as “Generation Z,” offers a handful of fresh ideas that make us want to take it a bit more seriously than its less ambitious contemporaries. Zombie movies are about survival, and this story offers more than one group’s attempt to survive.