Review: The Running Dead / Cert: 18 / Director: Adam Deyoe / Screenplay: Adam Deyoe, Josh Klausner, Loren Semmens / Starring: Scott Peat, James C. Burns, Marissa Merrill, Corsica Wilson/ Release Date: Out Now
You really have to admire the breathless, barefaced audacity of a zombie movie which has the gall to name itself The Running Dead. In actual fact the film’s production title was Dead Season and the alternative title is crudely superimposed over the onscreen title credit. We can only assume, therefore, that the DVD distributors, desperate to find a way to make their effort stand out from the zombie crowd, decided on the last-minute name change to capitalise on a certain zombie apocalypse TV show in the hope that at least a few of its viewers are stupid enough to assume there’s some sort of connection and thus mindlessly fork out for a film which sounds a bit like a TV show they’re watching. But seriously???
In fact, The Running Dead (which, as a title, misses the whole point of the title of the TV show) is a slightly more accurate name than the otherwise bland Dead Season - at least the zombies here do end up running a bit and it becomes something of a plot point. But otherwise there’s nothing new to see here, just another bandwagon low-budget zombie flick starring no one anyone’s ever heard of (not even their families and friends) as the world ends entirely off-screen and a few ragtag survivors fight to fend off some increasingly perfunctory-looking zombies. The Running Dead is set a year after “the start of the outbreak” and Elvis (Peat) and Tweeter (Merrill), two of the last people alive in the USA, flee to what they hope is an island refuge. But their hopes for a quiet life are dashed when they discover another small group of survivors, led by the ferociously militaristic Kurt (Burns), who rules by fear, keeps his teenage daughter under lock and key and is quite prepared to resort to gruesome depths to keep his group alive and fed.
Considering its budget, The Running Dead isn’t as miserable and witless as many in its overfed genre. The script is, for a change, more concerned with its characters and how they’re learning to adapt to their changed circumstances, rather than just piling on the carnage (which is just as well, as some of the action sequences are a bit on the clumsy side). But when the zombies start to run and the bodies pile up, the movie inevitably descends into the usual chaos of bone-crunching violence and blood-letting. Marginally more interesting than might have been expected, The Running Dead does just about enough to keep up the viewer’s interest but is destined to remembered more for its cheeky UK title than anything it has to offer as a zombie movie.
Extras: Commentary / Behind the scenes / Deleted scenes / Trailer