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Don't be fooled by the name. Bloodlust Zombies is as anemic as they come. Ostensibly a horror-comedy, director Dan Lantz double faults by delivering a film that isn't scary or funny...but it does feature porn star boobs. So...it has that going for it.
The film drops us into the office environs of a military arms manufacturer named Zlantoff Industries. The mood is one of celebration since the research lab has just perfected the formula for a chemical called VC-42. When used as a weapon, VC-42 turns ordinary people into mindless bloodthirsty killers. Through a series of idiotic events the chemical and its effects are unleashed upon the unsuspecting employees in the office building. With the entire facility under emergency lockdown, what follows is a weak stab at survival horror hijinks as the living try to avoid becoming zombie fodder.
I know it's sort of mean to pick on a low-budget zom-com like this one but having sat through its excruciating entirety I feel the need to put a bullet in its head. The horror-comedy genre is a tough one to nail and director Lantz doesn't fare well with it at all. When done right, the frightful and comedic elements should complement each other with nervous chuckles giving way to belly laughs and vice versa. Lantz (who also wrote, lensed and co-produced) insists on saddling an average C-grade zombie flick with some truly Z-grade laughs and sinks his own battleship in the process.
Not content with being merely loud and obnoxious, the 'jokes' also prove to be momentum killers. Just as any scene threatens to build tension, the film takes a break so we can spend minutes on end watching unlikable characters bicker with each other. This bickering pops up quite a bit which leads me to believe that somebody considers this witty banter. They are wrong. The other major source of humor is supposed to be the character of Darren portrayed by Adam Danoff, also a co-producer and editor on the film. Darren is meant to be a pervy twit who can't help but objectify women. Danoff plays him so broadly that I soon grew tired of waiting for his comeuppance. I just wanted him gone.
The other characters don't fare much better but at least they are less annoying on the whole. Alexis Texas, the porn star, shows up in a prominent role as Andrea, the nubile assistant who is always a moment's notice away from disrobing. For much of the film she isn't given much to do other than screaming her head off and occasionally being naked but at least she seems to know what kind of film she's in. Janice Marie is the sole cast member who actually performs at a level far above what the material demands of her. She adds gravity to her scenes as a senior executive who understands the full scope of what her company's research has caused.
The tragic thing is there are multiple points when the film could have branched off and become a better version of itself. The gawky zombie who looks like he escaped from the Ministry of Silly Walks...wasted. The crazy intern who may have a bit of a death wish...wasted. Heck, even the climax has Alexis enter badass mode only to be cut short by the end credits. I sincerely hope Lantz isn't setting himself up for a sequel because he can count me out.
The anamorphic widescreen image is fairly clear though it suffers from a flat visual appearance. I noticed a few instances of moiré and some smearing on the brighter side of the color palette (especially reds). Altogether, given the low budget of the production, the presentation was par for the course.
The audio track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo definitely experienced a few rough patches. I noticed multiple instances where the track would drop out or suffer from volume fluctuations. At other times, the track was sufficiently clear and loud when characters would scream in fear.
For a smaller film like this, the release offers a surprising number of extra features. Behind the Scenes and Bloopers (7:49) gives us a look at the cast in a more relaxed and goofy state of mind. We even get to see Lantz 'steal' a location for an elevator shot. This is followed by A Short Film (5:43) by Lantz called Louisiana Smith and the Bastard Son. Structured as a quick parody of the last (poorly received) Indiana Jones flick, the short film actually delivers more laughs than the entirety of Bloodlust Zombies. It's sufficiently cheeky and has fun toying with the overblown aspects of modern action cinema. This is followed by a Trailer (1:55) for the main feature as well as additional Movie Trailers.
Finally, we have a Filmmaker Commentary with director / producer Dan Lantz and producer / actor Adam Danoff. They prove to be genial speakers although Lantz tends to dominate the track. They are quick to highlight the miniscule budget by noting a shot that features a potted plant which was promptly returned to the store for a refund. Other than that, they spend an awful lot of time talking about the set design and pointing out all the self-referential inside jokes from their previous work in short films. At one point, Lantz is bold enough to claim that he 'pulled a Hitchcock' by building the film around the availability of locations and actors. After seeing the end result, I would have to disagree.
Bloodlust Zombies isn't a good film. It's not even a good bad film. The only thing comical about this horror-comedy is just how unfunny it is. Director Dan Lantz takes elements of a zombie flick and a workplace comedy and smashes them together into a single inert product that is light on the thrills and starving for laughs. Skip It.