Review – ZOMBIE NATION (2004)

The directorial career of Ulli Lommel has been a strange one. In the late-sixties/early-seventies, he was part of the acting troupe centered around Geran filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In 1973, he directed  Tenderness of the Wolves, a solid film about serial killer Fritz Haarmann. In the eighties, he gave us The Boogey Man, a not-bad/not-great horror film that wound up being a “video nasty.” Now, he serves up dreck like Zombie Nation. Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAzHtgXEN5I

Officer Joe Singer (Gunter Ziegler) is a cop and a serial killer who drugs young women and buries them alive. His partner, Vitalio (Brandon Dean) suspects something is up but can’t convince his fellow officers. One of the young women Singer kills has a voodoo protection spell put on her. When she is buried, the women Singer has killed return from the dead to seek revenge – though they seem to be more interested in finding their place in the world.

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If you’re looking for a solid zombie film, Zombie Nation won’t satisfy. While the idea of a serial killer cop is a good one, as is the idea of zombies awakening and searching for their place in the world, combining these two ideas makes for some dull viewing. Taking the ideas at face value instead of exploiting them for potential comedy also drives the film into a rut. And the zombie make-up is terrible: it’s just dark circles around the eyes. We don’t even get decent effects here. But at least we get to see a zombie deprive a dude of his manhood. It’s the little things…

The writing is a shining example of how not to write a screenplay. Example: why does Officer Singer take his partners along when he kills the girls? Granted, the other officers at the precinct (which, I should add, is merely a warehouse made to look like a police station) wouldn’t believe that Singer would do such a thing, but why would Singer still run the risk of his pastime being discovered? Also, the movie has a tendency to introduce plot threads that ultimately lead nowhere.

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However, there’s a charm in Zombie Nation’s stupidity that makes it hard to dismiss outright. I found myself entertained by its sheer idiocy and dismissal of good film-making. And I’ll cop to a bit of schadenfreude in seeing Lommel go from a high-ranking filmmaker to one wallowing in the lowest regions of genre film-making.

Zombie Nation won’t satisfy even the most forgiving and desperate of zombie fans. But it can’t be denied that there is a bit of entertainment to be found if you’re a fan of bad movies. So if you need something awful to laugh at, consider giving Zombie Nation a spin. 

About Evan Romero

Evan Romero has been a horror fan since watching “Leprechaun” at the age of five. Aside from watching and writing about horror flicks, he delights in torturing friends with Z-grade movies. He’s also an unabashed Andy Milligan fan, God help him.

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