Ever since Danny Boyle rewrote the zombie rule book in 2002 with 28 Days Later, and Shaun Of The Dead made them funny, we’ve had every variation of the undead possible; red-neck zombie hunters (Zombieland), post-Twilight romantic zombies (Warm Bodies), television zombies (The Walking Dead, Ash vs the Evil Dead), globalised zombies (World War Z), World War II zombies (Outpost), and Cockneys Versus Zombies (Cockneys Versus Zombies). Even George Romero couldn’t resist shitting on his own doorstep, resurrecting his Dawn Of The Dead franchise – the one that started it all back in 1968. Despite diminishing returns, new films and TV series keep popping up. It seems Zombies just won’t die…
Steve Barker’s low budget thriller The ReZort has squeezed some more juice out of the zombie genre with the invention of ‘Zafaris’. It’s the near future and humans have finally defeated the zombie hordes and dumped all the undead survivors on a Balearic island.A moral-free business tycoon has re-branded the island as The ReZort’, where team-building middle managers and honeymoon couples can go on a zombie safari, shooting captive ’Shufflers’. Why? “Because every apocalypse deserves an after-party”. The ReZort is a high-tech facility where obviously Absolutely-Nothing-Can-Go-Wrong. We also learn that the island is where thousands of of displaced refugees have been interned (Hmmm. I wonder if that was altogether wise?).
Barker (who directed Outpost) does a good job of swiftly explaining the premise with a series of news reports. It’s clever and funny; Jurassic Park meets Truman Show meets the funny bits from Robocop. And here come our heroes: the teenage competition winners looking forward to shits and giggles, the jilted bride looking to rebuild her self-esteem, the young couple looking to get over their PTSD, and gruff-around-the-edges Dougray Scott. God knows what Dougray’s looking for. All we know is that killin’ Shufflers is, apparently, all he’s good at.
Inevitably something goes wrong, the zombies escape their cages, and our kooky bunch of misfits are stuck on the wrong side of the island with only one option – to kill their way to safety before the government bring the situation ‘under control’ by bombing the shite out of the Island. This is when the film loses itself. Up to this point Scottish writer Paul Gerstenberger’s script is a witty satire on right wing immigration policy. Once the zombies escape it becomes standard shoot em up, pick ’em off fayre, with the classic tropes; sacrifice, betrayal and head shots. Lots and lots of head shots. Fine if you like that stuff. It’s efficiently done (impressive even, considering the budget) but it’s a shame the initial satirical edge gets lost in the final reel, even with the final revelation about The ReZort’s self-sustaining business model (a revelation that was obvious in the first fifteen minutes). Worth a look then, but The ReZort is a worthy addition to the zombie cannon, rather than a great one.
The ReZort was released on major digital platforms across the UK on October 17th, courtesy of Content Media.