I admit that it's been a while (indeed, a long time) that I haven't seen zombie horror movies. Army of the Dead, a 2021 movie recently released on Netflix, broke this habit of mine. It is an enjoyable film, which does not require too much effort to be watched but which required an exorbitant amount and which, ultimately, I feel like promoting.
In this review we will make huge spoilers on the Army of the Dead plot; therefore, proceed only at your own risk, since the city of sin does not forgive!
Typical zombie movies
It's late at night: a saleswoman inexplicably finds herself having to close the shop late at night, when a stranger shows up. He asks to be able to use the bathroom, it is evident that he is not well. The saleswoman gives it to him and the guy disappears from the scene. An X amount of time passes and the guy has yet to come back; the saleswoman then goes to look for him, in a filthy bathroom in the flickering LED light.
And here she is bitten by yet another zombie. This is the typical beginning of every zombie movie I've seen; quiet scene, the zombies arrive, fear, headline, and then off we go. And to say that I am not an expert on zombies, since I have looked at myself Night of the Living Dead many years ago, passing by many other films (28 days later, resident evil, That Cabin in the Bosto, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, even a little bit of TWD), film / series with a common enemy but light years away in terms of quality and stories told.
Army of the Dead it's not a typical zombie movie or, at least, not quite. It could clearly place itself between a resident evil (the last ones, which not even try to scare us more) and a normal game between pros Killing Floor 2; let's add a little Zombieland e Overlord and you have found it Army of the Dead.
Army of the Dead: an easy storyline
Nevada, Las Vegas. A military convoy ends up losing a very precious cargo: an "original" zombie, powerful, agile and above all resistant to bullets. The military can do little; Las Vegas becomes a city of zombies. The government closes it in a wall of containers, while some survivors are distinguished by heroic acts.
Years later the rich businessman Bill Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) looks for some brave to empty his vault; among its aims Scott (Dave Bautista), which he quickly enlists Maria (Ana de la Raguera), Vanderohe (Omari hardwick) is Marianne (Tig Notaro) to complete a millionaire mission. To help him a skilled burglar, Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer) and a few more men. But the zombies are the least of the problems: Scott's daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell) decides to follow him into Las Vegas Zombie to save a friend who has entered to try to make the bang. All this, of course, while the city is 12 hours away from being blown up.
Life in Las Vegan appears all too difficult right from the start: many zombies have evolved into a more evolved species close to the original. A rare species and, for this reason, much more profitable than a vault; Bill Tanaka thus defrauds “our heroes” and, at the same time, makes life even more difficult by infuriating the zombie pack leader. The end of the group is then marked and, one after the other, all perish (some in more amazing ways than others), but the rest manage to complete the mission.
Opinions aside, it's technically phenomenal
I have given my opinions, so let's focus on what is the value of Army of the Dead: the technique. Watching this video, in fact, you can see the innumerable details that have been taken in the simple production of alpha, the advanced species of zombies. From employing parkour athletes to creating jellyfish-like patterns to the fully mechanical Queen's head, these little tweaks were phenomenal.
This video, on the other hand, speaks directly of how the film was shot. Speaking is Zack Snyder himself, the director, and some of the remarks he makes are helpful in understanding the kind of work behind a type of zombie movie. Starting with the lenses, the shots, even the cameras used and the moment in which they were used brought many positive reviews to the film.
To conclude Army of the Dead it's a great, enjoyable movie in the category, and that's exactly what I expected from a zombie movie.