Blood of the Beast (2004) – By Timothy Martinez

When is a zombie film not a zombie film? At what point does the severe lack of zombies transform the movie into just a series of scenes with people talking, arguing, yelling and running around? With this movie, that point would from the very first moment. To be fair, the film isn’t exactly advertised as a zombie movie, but the story that unfolds will not be recognizable to schlock film fans as anything but a zombie flick. To be fair once again, the “zombies” in this movie are not the traditional walking, starving dead and have much more in common with the Rage-infected people of 28 Days Later. Here the crazy people that need to be avoided are clones gone bad. Confused? I suppose I should start at the beginning.

The film opens with a long series of images and alternating bits of text that reveal to us the backstory. It seems in the year 2012, the third great war has come to an end. Three billion people are dead. The planet is in bad shape and due to the use of chemical weapons during the conflict ninety-eight percent of the male survivors are now sterile. To help propagate the species, advanced cloning methods are devised and the First Strand of clones is produced in December of that year. All seems well. It wasn’t until nineteen more years have passed that things begin to circle the bowl.

Now, everything in the preceding paragraph is related to the viewers through an eight minute sequence that is absolutely loaded with stock footage from World War Two. In fact, any sequence in the movie having anything remotely related to the war or the military will be comprised of WWII stock footage. For a war that takes place in the next few years, the armies of the world sure have gone retro in their uniform designs as well as their weaponry. The truly sad bit is that the entire opening sequence was unnecessary. Everything we learn during those eight minutes could easily be read in thirty seconds on the back of the DVD case!

Now the movie gets down to business and introduces us to our characters. They come in three sets of three: three people camping in the woods, three people in a secluded house and three students in the city. Over the next sixty minutes (yes the movie is that short) or so, these people will come to be known by the audience as “those stupid morons,” which applies to any of the three groups. Things get off to a rocky start when people start having seizures, going nuts and attacking others. But not just any people…only the First Strand clones are the ones wigging out. I am assuming by the use of the terms First Strand, Second Strand, etc, that the film is referring to the first and second sets of clones produced. Anyway, the three dorks camping in the woods are attacked, the three dorks in the city decide to go looking for the them while the three dorks in the secluded house argue a lot. Ultimately all three groups collide in an unbelievable mess.

The film is shot on video, which really lends an air of ultra-cheapness to the proceedings. The people in the film are just that – people in the film. I would not call them actors by any stretch of the imagination. What I found to be truly bad was how each attack scene was handled. Whenever one of the bad clones attacked, the film opts for slow motion shots, quick and choppy editing and lame video affects. It was like a bad LSD trip. There is no excitement AT ALL to these brief scenes…and I do mean brief. Like I alluded to at the beginning of this review, this film has a notable shortage of zombies/bad clones/whatever. The film wants us to believe that the entire world is being overrun with dodgy clones, but we are hardly ever shown any! Tack on a few more things like piss poor lighting for night shots, several minutes where the movie turns into a silent film complete with dialogue cards after characters mouth their lines, the fact that everything looks like it is taking place in 2004 rather that 2031, the endless parade of WWII footage, the horrendous editing that makes it appear as if a character has been killed only to see them walking around a minute later and the deplorable gore FX, and what you end up with is an utter waste of time. Don’t even bother with this one, trust me.

Final Grade: 0 out of 5