‘The Jurassic Dead’ aka ‘Zombiesaurus’ aka ‘Z:Rex’ – a film so good it needs three introductions?
It has always been a common phrase in horror that films become popular for ‘being so bad, they are good’, but such titles were infamous, but not abundant; and certainly not a commercial success. The recent phenomenon of Z-rate monster movies is unprecedented in my opinion, and I do wonder whether they have an actual fan base or just people purchasing on the occasional whim en-mass. Either way, this title, promising a cross genre mash-up of Zombies and a giant Tyrannosaurus vs. marines.
It delivers neither with any level of competence but remains oddly watchable.
Contrary to what the box art depicts ‘The Jurassic Dead’ is actually set in an underground bunker and follows “a unit of mercenaries who must team up with a group of tech-geek students after American is struck with an EMP attack. Deep in the desert, they find the source of the terror – a mad scientist who has also just created a living dead T-Rex dinosaur, one who turns everyone it attacks into a zombie.”
So, there you have it. A mercenary team led by Duke Nukem’s live counterpart and a giant CGI dinosaur.
I will start with the positive, and that is the characters, or more so the actors who bring them to life with enthusiasm and gusto. I get that the film was (to an extent) designed for laughs, and it helps when you can tell the cast were having a blast making the movie. The dialogue and banter are cliché, but as I said, the band of mercs really look the part with body builder Andy Haman leading the team and they don’t half make it fun. There are a handful of playful nods towards other action orientated horrors such as ‘Starship Troopers’ and ‘Aliens’ and despite all of the scripting, delivery and set pieces are all on spec with other similar movies, I found myself enjoying the film, at least its first half or so.
Unfortunately, my engagement and enjoyment didn’t last.
Whilst the CGI creature looks ok, and given an acceptable amount of screen-time, the rest of the films technical elements are poor.
The green-screen backdrops are sub-par and the external shots and those of helicopters and nuclear explosions are beyond comment (almost). The whole affair, whilst you could argue looks stylised, reminded me of past generation video game static backdrops – and I ain’t talking PS3. The camera work and editing are headache inducing, and needless to say the plot doesn’t hold up. The whole affair feels drawn out and even at 80 minutes, the film feels about 20 minutes to long.
Overall, your take on such a film will depend on how you view films which are inherently designed to be goofball parodies/ mash-ups of more successful films. As a film, poor, but as entertainment, it sits firmly in-line with other crazy monster titles. Better than Milko Davis’s ‘Tsunambi’, its worth on DVD/Blu-ray medium will be determined on how invested you are in the Z-Movie movement. If your expecting either a solid zombie or dinosaur movie, look elsewhere, but if your looking for a movie whose entertainment value comes through it being bad then it’s definitely a contender for your cash.