I had actually initially looked forward to watching Zombie Babies because in part I had remembered a sleepy film titled Zombie Self-Defense Force a couple of years ago, and Zombie Babies would hopefully bring that same type of vibe to itself. Did it? Well, read on intrepid advocate of films of the undead!
The film was written and directed by Eamon Hardiman, and the premise of it is fairly simple. A local owner of a hotel casino named Burt Fleming (Brian Gunnoe) is inspired to have a promotion at his establishment that is designed to provide a new painless procedure for late-term abortions, with said promotion being an 'Abortathon' of sort. Several couples come to the hotel so they can have the procedure. Some of the couples go through with it, save for Jami Lynn (Missy Dawn), who gets the luxury of still being on the fence about it because she is last on the list. She also serves as a protagonist of sorts because she's one of the few women in the film whose tattoo count may still be in the single digits, but that's another story. The aborted baby fetuses reanimate when a small liquor still has a malfunction (I think) and thus, we get babies whose urge to kill is only matched by their urge to do nonsensical acts of terror and mayhem.
Here's the thing: I have a strange theory about movies where the film is only going to be good if those involved in the making of it are as intellectually convicted to its fate as they should be. If any important cogs think that a film is going to be any good based on the story and aren't honest with themselves, the movie is going to not be a pleasurable experience (I'm looking at YOU, Battleship!). On the flip side of that, if a creative group uniformly comes to a production with tongue firmly planted in cheek, it is going to find some form of popularity, with Shoot 'Em Up being a good example. There is a small wrinkle to the latter in that if you go into sad bad/schlocky film knowing you want to be bad, you still have to maintain some form of gravitas to the story.
And here is where Zombie Babies has a fatal flaw. Not only does the film spend too much time getting to its self-titled hook, said time is clunky and filled with characters that are poorly constructed, much in the same vein of whatever Friday Night Skinemax movie may have been on in the background while the script was being written. It does not help matters that the Burt hotel casino owner plays the role in an over the top coked up version of Larry the Cable Guy, full of 'Get er Done' moxie while forgetting about the fact he may be a bad guy and that the viewer may want to see that every so often. It's one thing to overact, but to overact to the point where it's beyond tired and grating? Yeah, I'll pass on that.
It doesn't help that the babies...basically go from being the cute, briefly crying types to turning into Gremlins. One of them even looks like a Gremlin or Clarence Williams III, depending on your point of view. And (SLIGHT SPOILER) while normally the scene of a zombie baby giving one of the women a facial might be entertaining or even funny, it is hardly the most shocking scene in the movie full of scenes that disgust for the sake of doing so. (END SPOILER) Compounded by the painful journey of the first act, what transpires over acts two and three barely pass as sensationalism.
So to sum up; good movie that is actually bad and made that way does turn out to be good. Bad movie that is made bad CAN be good, but there is no excuse to abandon responsibilities in the process. And that is why Zombie Babies is underwhelming, nay disappointing. And for someone who may be anticipating its video release that should serve as a huge note of caution.The Disc:
The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen for your viewing pleasure, with the results being about as expected. Colors are reproduced accurately and the image is devoid of edge enhancement or artifacts during viewing. Black levels are about as deep as they are going to get and do crush from time to time, but it is hardly a distraction from the overall product, which is gritty to begin with. A film sporting the name Zombie Babies is not going to look much better than this.The Sound:
Two-channel Dolby stereo rules the day. Considering the production value of the film you are not likely to be blown away by the sound. It is a fairly analog experience, with all of the sound being up in the front channels and little noticeable mirroring in back. The subwoofer remains dormant and devoid of low-end fidelity, and channel panning is equally sparse. Dialogue is as strong as it is going to be when listening to it and does not require much in the way of user compensation. Solid sonic sounds.Extras:
I was surprised to see this little flick have more bonus material than some big studio discs, but they're here, starting with a commentary by what presumably is Hardiman and Missy Dawn, who plays Jami Lynn, the main female protagonist. The track is more driven by Hardiman as he recalls the shoot and recognizing the work of various crew members, and thinks that save transportation costs the film was made for less than $1,000. I honestly kind of liked this track for Hardiman's recount of the production, but otherwise? Eh. A behind the scenes piece follows (16:39) which would appear to be mainly set footage shot 'fly on the wall style' at times as the visual effects are shown and a walkthrough of the West Virginia 'studio' where they shot is also highlight. Several trailers, though none for this film, complete the disc.Final Thoughts:
If there was a little more to Zombie Babies then maybe I would heartily recommend the film for a midnight viewing or something. But it doesn't and I'm not. Technically it is not a very special disc and from a bonus material perspective it is decent, so unless you really REALLY are interested in what infants of the undead look like, I'd take a pass on this.