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Awaken The Dead (2007)
Writer and director: Jeff Brookshire

review by Jo Johnson-Smith

Now I'm a zombie-movie lover like the rest of humanity, I love to see people running around like headless chickens trying to work out the best route of survival. While in the background we get the general explosions and stupid people opening the door to those poor injured folk.

Yet what we have with this effort is low-budget I admit and although the entire thing drags like a dead corpse through the sunlight its movements are enjoyable to watch. It takes the 'real' route, what we would really 'do' if we found ourselves suddenly surrounded with zombies. We get an ex-preacher (Gary Kohn) who is believable as a man of god, a man who has been through the wringer of life and come out a little corkscrewed. Then we have the action momma (played by Lindsey Morris), a daughter of an old army buddy, who though if her main way of communication is shouting doesn't do too badly.

The first half of the film focuses on the house they both find themselves in waiting for said father/ friend to come. We get a shot of a plane dusting the populace with something nasty and you know it's not going to end well. The suburban first half of this movie is slow, with a capital 's', but it's as real as you'd like to get it, even down to the stupidity of letting in an idiot with a firearm. All testosterone and no brains, and his shaky female companion (who just happens to be bitten), but in all fairness the way they handle the situation is very real. Seriously folks, they could use this as the zombie survival guide movie, if it had had a bit more cash we'd have seen this in the multiplex.

Now we move onto the bad guys and yes we do have them but it's not the zombies! The ghost of the military is there to make the entire thing hang on a plot that is thin at best but is worked well enough by the cast members. Yet, I hear you say, this is clich´┐Ż and has been done before with Resident Evil, yes it has but here it's real. We get real looking people with all their foibles and mistakes, even to the Jehovah's witnesses, and I'm not joking.

The ending is predictable and you can see it a mile away but in saying that it is enjoyable, not in the 'whoo-hoo everyone's-dead' type of way, but the 'thank god that's over' type of way, leaving you with a sense of foreboding that will eat at your hindbrain. That as all of us if we were put in that same situation would we open the door to someone we knew if they looked injured? Could we let them die and see them ripped apart by our friends and neighbours?

Realistic, funny in places where it shouldn't be, wooden acting by amateurs and a good thing to pass a few hours away, because if nothing else you can pick the strategies apart and plan your own zombie survival techniques.

Awaken The Dead



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