Monday, July 4, 2016

the last rezort.

Came across this on the festival circuit last month.

Was expecting it to be shite.

But guess what?

The ReZort (AKA Generation Z, 2015).
Dir: Steve Barker.
Cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Richard Laing, Jassa Ahluwalia, Sam Douglas, Bentley Kalu, Claire Goose, Shane Zaza, Elen Rhys, Robert Firth, Sean Power, Rebecca James, Jamie Ward and Catarina Mira.

“Every apocalypse deserves an after party!”

Welcome to the world of post zombie apocalypse Britain, were every street looks like Glasgow on a wet Wednesday afternoon (albeit with the addition of some CGI big wheels) where a pesky virus has killed a third of the human race before bringing them back as piss-stained flesh-tearing zombies.

Just like Glasgow then.

Luckily for us (and the film's budget) the war 'tween the living and the dead has been fought and won, the virus controlled and the remaining dead contained.

Tho' it has left Europe with a massive refugee problem.

A zombie outbreak yup but Europe getting upset by refugees? Now the plot has got a wee bit far-fetched.

Anyway a pretty canny entrepreneur called Penelope Wilton (Brit TeeVee stalwart Goose) has taken advantage of the situation transforming a zombie-ridden island in the Mediterranean into a high-class holiday resort catering for people wanting to unleash their aggression by hunting the undead.

Sun, sea, sand, sex and wholesale slaughter.

Which if I'm honest sounds pretty bloody perfect.

Except for the sun bit.

and the sea.

But I digress.
Heading off to the island on the recommendation of her psychiatrist is the wistful Mel (Council estate Shauna Macdonald De Gouw from the Sky One remake of Dracula), a dew-eyed china-doll of a gal who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after losing her family during the crisis.
I'm assuming that they got eaten and that she didn't misplace them behind the sofa or something, tho' either works for me.
Along for the ride (well she is paying) is her boyfriend Lewis (Ripper Street's McCann),  a former soldier who's swapped a life of zombie slaying for gazing longingly at his girlfriend whilst wearing a variety of sensible jumpers.

You can see why he's offered to join her on her journey of healing.
Arriving at the airport our depressing duo soon meet to meet up with their fellow travellers; Sadie - a woman who was jilted on her wedding day (the yumsome Rhys, star of World War Z and the actress voted Wales' 30th sexiest woman in 2009), some photo-fit business types, Yoofspeak spouting simpletons Jack and Mike (Ahluwalia and Ward) and a grumpy, Fred Perry clad Scotsman named Archer (Scott).
You got all that?
Good, now we can begin the film good and proper.

Thoughts of a zombie apocalypse and friends long gone or just realised that she's left the gas decide.

Arriving at the resort (which resembles Jurassic Park if built by Butlins)our merry band start having fun, jigging away to a sub-techno-school disco DJ (what no Agadoo?) whilst a (power) suited and booted Wilton gives then the lowdown on the (undead) showdown as a manacled mop-haired monster snarls and snaps at her from the stage for maximum effect.

The crowd (as they say) goes wild.

Except for Mel who, if at all possible gazes at the slowly setting sun in a more wistful fashion than ever before.

"Yall nevah git ye honds ahn mah tattie scones!"

But as the holidaymakers party into the wee small no one notices save Archer (he's most definitely a canny Scotsman) when Sadie sneaks away from group and heads into the bowels of the resort and begins tampering with the islands computers before returning to her room with a hard drive full of who knows what.

Up bright and early the next morn to begin a day of shooting zombie the happy holiday folk are blissfully unaware of the panic and confusion raging below as the resorts computer systems slowly splutter and grind to a halt.

As the behind the scenes mayhem escalates our merry band continue to enjoy themselves shooting shackled zombies from a safe distance finally setting up camp atop a hill where they can enjoy a beer, a barbecue and a bit more blasting as the sun sets.

And it's as everyone is enjoying a cosy night under the stars that the inevitable finally happens.

Yup, all the security protocols, electric fences and other assorted safety measures turn themselves off.

Shit even the hot water stops working.

Awoken by the low moans (and putrid smell) of the undead as they shuffle - fairly quickly it must be said - toward the camp the gang, Archer reveals himself to be a hard as fuck killing machine to whom the zombie war never ended, standing purposely astride a Jeep as his clinically despatches the approaching hordes in a style reminiscent of sex god Paul Darrow* during a particularly kinky Blakes 7 episode as the others run around shouting "We're doomed!" whilst dropping guns on the floor.
"Shite in mah undead mooth!"

Assuming command of the group he vows to lead them to safety - or at least the nearest chip shop - but with the islands emergency protocols activated and a squad of bomb-laden jets heading their way time is running out.....
From Steve Barker who gave us the Govan-based gore-bore Outpost comes a surprisingly effective take on the zombie genre that offsets its low budget with big ideas making you think as to why no-one has attempted anything similar before.

Wearing its Michael Crichton influences on it's bloodied and torn sleeve like a badge of honour whilst throwing in knowing winks to past classics (there's a lovely Zombie Creeping Flesh reference), The Rezort is confidently directed, nicely cast and with some nicely under-stated perforrmances from the majority of the cast.
Scott is especially great in what could have been a tedious, one note role whilst  Martin McCann bravely underplays boyfriend Martin adding real depth to what is essentially a quickly sketched character.

Yes the reveal - and by default the films message - is a wee bit heavy handed but when the previous 80-odd minutes have been so entertaining you can forgive the film-makers being a wee bit preachy.

Plus when the only criticism of a movie is that you wish the cast and crew had a bigger budget to totally realise their ideas then it can't be that bad.

Elen Rhys - milky thighs not shown.

Well worth seeking out, The Rezort shows that the spirit of Nigel Kneale is still alive and kicking in these terrifying times of popcorn horrors.
*Yes Scott is really that sexy during these scenes

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