As each month passes in the horror genre, more zombies flicks find themselves stumbling out of the shadows, only to vanish into the vast darkness of the internet and store shelves, however, occasionally, one does find something a tad different, maybe not completely original, but a variation none the less. Director Steve Barker known for his film Outpost (2008) cultivates screenwriter Paul Gerstenberger’s tale into an interesting thrill ride, which combines both Westworld and Jurassic Park storylines filled with zombies. Noting the title uses the letter ‘z’ rather than ‘s’ to signify the intention similar to that of JeruZalem (2015), not necessary but gives it a little stand alone position and attraction to the zombie fans. The movie concept simply contains guests getting their aggression, rage, and hatred of the dead out of their system by exterminating the zombies from safe distances and enjoying a reoccurring theme, “Every apocalypse deserves an after-party.” All while enjoying a tropical resort far removed from the urban city dwellings, and yet moral corruption exists under the surface.
The film starts shortly after humanity wins the war against the undead (though not shown how) caused by a biohazard outbreak, a focused and ruthless executive, Wilton (Claire Goose), converts an island resort into something of nightmares (sadly a little too tame). Her business model quadrants filled with flesh-devouring monsters and few trained to do the more minimal tasks (i.e. Shaun of the Dead) all serving for the guests cruelty. Her product works on the humankind’s hatred against the zombies, which greatly reduced the global population from seven to five billion souls. After all what luxury hunting trips need more than anything, screams and slaughter-fests. The zombies chained and humiliated with teasing grace, note the reference to Day of the Dead (1985), with the regard to handling the dead, however it actually shows the more sadistic side of society. The killing of zombies all in a luxurious island retreat allows guests to unleash their freedom and anger, though it extends further to taunts and urination acts. Nevertheless, the story focuses on the character Melanie (Jessica De Gouw) who witnessed zombies devour and feed relentless on her entire family and suffers from her own PTSD. Through her therapy and shady boyfriend and zombie war veteran Lewis (Martin McCann) convince her shooting them at The Rezort as the coping mechanism to her issue. Melanie’s emotions and expressions, move the film forward, as it does bog down in some areas, but not that much, as to ruin the fun for the audience but look for the cracks in Lewis’ glorified war stories. One does begin to wonder about the inventory problem at the resort, if the remaining zombies at the island, thoroughly killed then how does Wilton replenish them. Well, for one thing a refugee camp placed next door doesn’t make a lot of sense unless another reason exists for its strategic placement. Meanwhile during an outing of the guests, and the Melanie’s group, the viewers meet others from the cast, and learn of a cyber security attack shutting down security electric fences sounds familiar to another movie in which dinosaurs terrorize the guests. Soon enough, the zombies unleash the general feeding frenzy attitudes and the guests must fend for themselves luckily the core of the cast contains a well skilled hunter and veteran Archer (Dougray Scott) who imposes his attitude as group leader, while Lewis shows apprehension to the entire situation, and begins a course of self preservation. In addition to their group of tourists and hunters, two contestant winners of an online game Alfie (Lawrence Walker) and Jack (Jassa Ahluwalia), and the curious character Sadie (Elen Rhys).
Barker uses the regular tricks and treats in the zombie genre to ratchet up the tension with a full course of fast pace action sequences to film the standard horror running time. The visuals of the locations do work very well, as opposed to the normal grey and dingy outlook of the cities wreck with blood and corpses. This offsets the viewer’s attention to the occasional stagnant moments, and tries to divert from the times the script leans away from originality. Now, the gore-hounds, will find some pleasure in the special effect execution, of the gut munching and blood splattering feeding frenzy of the zombies versus the headshots.
While sorting through the endless zombie genre films, looking for something fresher, than the typical rotting corpses, becomes in itself an adventure. Barker provides a standard undead flick, with numerous references to Jurassic Park, and providing a business model for the post apocalyptic world, which contains subtle humanity messages and condemnation to society.