Directed By: Adam Deyoe
Starring: Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns
Tag line: "On This Island, Survival is No Game"
Trivia: The warehouse sequence was filmed in a metal recycling warehouse in Compton, California
Zombie films are more popular nowadays than ever. In the past 5-6 years alone, a few hundred living dead-themed movies hit the scene, everything from the serious (2010’s The Dead and the French flick, The Horde) to the funny (Zombieland and Doghouse) to the out-and-out silly (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Zombie Strippers). There have been big-budget Hollywood productions (Warm Bodies and the upcoming World War Z) and a slew of independent releases (like The Rage and the very creative Colin). As is to be expected with such a variety, some are good, while others downright suck. Well, 2012’s Dead Season falls somewhere in-between; there were things about it I really enjoyed, and some that simply didn’t work at all.
Dead Season opens after the zombie apocalypse has already taken place. Two survivors, Elvis (Scott Peat) and Tweeter (Marissa Merrill), team up and head to a tropical island, which they’ve been led to believe is a safe haven. Unfortunately, the island is infested with zombies, and is also home to a small collection of survivalists who, led by Kurt (James C. Burns), have built a compound to keep them safe from the hungry hordes. Both Elvis and Tweeter are accepted into their fold, but soon realize there’s a lot more going on in this commune than mere survival.
On the plus side, I liked the tropical setting where much of Dead Season takes place (part of it was shot in Vieques, Puerto Rico), and the story features a couple of interesting twists, including the reason Elvis and Tweeter were told to go to the island in the first place. There are also a handful of effectively bloody scenes later in the film, and Scott Peat does a solid job as Elvis. Alas, I can’t say the same for his co-star, Marissa Merrill, who has flashes of competence as Tweeter (especially late in the movie), but, for the most part, delivers a flat performance. The most troubling characteristic of Dead Season, though, is the inconsistency of its zombies. As Elvis and Tweeter are making their way to the boat that’s gonna carry them to the island, they face off against a whole warehouse full of “walkers”, most of which let them pass without any problems. But once they’re on the island, the zombies are every bit as carnivorous, and just as dangerous, as they are in most films. Sometimes, characters can stroll for miles, carrying on a normal conversation, without drawing the attention of a single zombie, while, at other times, the snapping of a twig will cause the living dead to swarm. The zombies in Dead Season don’t seem to follow any set rules, which made them feel more like plot devises, popping up and acting scary when the story required it, than actual movie monsters.
Yet, in spite of its various flaws, I do think Dead Season is worth a watch. If nothing else, it’s a fairly well-made entry in what’s become a very crowded sub-genre.