• Kill Zombie!

    Directed by: Martjin Smits, Erwin van den Eshof
    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: June 10, 2014
    Cast: Yahya Gaier, Mimoun Ouled Radi, Gigi Ravelli
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    The Movie

    Kill Zombie! is a 2012 horror-comedy from Dutch directors Martjin Smits and Erwin van den Eshof, in which Amsterdam-West becomes the centre of the zombie apocalpyse and an unlikely group of survivors band together to save the hero's girlfriend from the zombie horde. If that sounds like a Dutch version of Shaun of the Dead, the similarities don't stop there.

    The movie stars Moroccan/Dutch actor Yahya Gaier as Aziz, an office worker who hates his boss and is involved in a romance with his leggy co-worker, Tess. Aziz is fired by his boss after his brother Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi) calls him from a rap mogul's pool party, and tells him about a new business opportunity he plans on putting together for the two of them. Aziz goes to the pool party and after Mo carelessly throws a football (the European kind) at the rap mogul's girlfriend, the brothers are arrested along with two of the mogul's mates, Jeffrey (Sergio Hasselbaink) and Nolan (Uriah Arnhem). A bank employee is put in an adjoining cell, and after taunting each other and coming onto Kim, a sexy blonde cop, the five are tasered and pass out. While they're knocked out, a Russian satellite crashes into Aziz's former office, unleashing a viral infection that quickly turns the living Dutch into the living dead. The five wake up, finding the doors to their cells have all been unlocked. They explore the outside of the police station, where they're attacked by a zombie grandma on a scooter and are saved by a shotgun-toting Kim. Aziz checks his voicemail and learns that Tess is trapped in the office tower, where the zombies are all being drawn to because of the satellite crash, and he (eventually) convinces the group to head towards the tower to save her.

    Kill Zombie! takes for granted that there's been a steady stream of zombie films ever since Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later came out in the early 2000s. The characters know to kill zombies almost as soon as the threat is introduced, and the whole premise is played totally tongue in cheek. The setup for Kill Zombie! is essentially the same as Edgar Wright's 2004 zombie-comedy, where a sad-sack office worker has to save his girlfriend from hungry zombies, and an unlikely group of heroes has to make it through a zombie-infested city to save her. Aziz is clearly in the Simon Pegg role here, and his brother Mo is a Dutch/Moroccan spin on Nick Frost's character from Shaun of the Dead. Along the way, romantic tension between Kim and Aziz grows, and it's gradually hinted that maybe Tess isn't the “girlfriend” she was made out to be early on in the film.

    In spite of its familiar setup, Kill Zombie! takes a number of weird detours along its pedestrian path. There's a a sub-plot where the characters attempt to rob a bank, a POV sequence where one of the characters is bludgeoned to death (poorly) with a floor lamp and a bowling ball after he's turned into a zombie, all manner of weird things happen in between. The strangest and most inexplicable of these sequences is when two bartenders from the pool party show up later in the film and proceed to brawl with a group of zombies while the movie turns into a fighting game. And after the "Final Round" where they unleash their friendly zombie on the undead horde for zombie-on-zombie action, they leave without any explanation. Kill Zombie! is at it's most fun when it quits trying to be a half-baked Shaun of the Dead rip off and follows its own bizarre comedic instincts. There are some really out there moments in the film and it's clear that these are the scenes the filmmakers and the cast had the most fun with. Things really get crazy in the final act when the survivors reach the office tower, and it's at this point where the film stops aping its predecessors and becomes more than just another cash-in on the zombie craze.

    The zombies here are played for laughs and aren't scary in the least. They bleed green because of the goo that leaked over the city from the Russian satellite, which might put some viewers off even more than the mostly CGI violence will, since it means the film isn't very bloody even though a lot of the green gloop is splattered around. In spite of not being the most inspired or terrifying zombies to ever grace the screen, the actors playing them are obviously having a great time hamming it up. The movie's splat-stick humor is consistently amusing, though some of the humor in the dialogue don't translate very well, and would probably get more laughs out of a Dutch audience. Likewise, Kill Zombie! features many celebrity cameos that would register with Dutch viewers. With that being said, there's a lot here for zombie fans to like, and it's always refreshing to see another culture's take on the zombie sub-genre.


    Well Go USA's Blu-ray releases typically have sharp, high-quality transfers and Kill Zombie! is no different. The film is presented on a 25 GB Blu-ray in 2.35:1 with an MPEG-4 AVC encode and overall the visual presentation is very good. The film was shot on digital and it looks much better than its €500,000 budget (about $671,000 USD). There's a lot of fine detail in close-ups. The film has a somewhat muted color palette, but the green and red goo really stands out in the film, and when there is a lot of color (such as Mo's Hawaiian shirt), it really pops.

    On the audio side, Kill Zombie! sports a Dutch DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, and a Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 option, with subtitles available for both tracks. There is no English language option, but you'll be surprised how many English phrases make it into the dialogue. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio sounds great and the quality here is very high, with clear, undistorted sound coming in through all 5.1 channels. The dialogue is easy to hear, and comes out of the channels closest to where the characters are onscreen. Sound effects sound good, the gore sounds appropriately gooey and chewy, and overall the audio mix here is nicely layered. It all sounds as good as it looks.

    There aren't any extras included for fans of Kill Zombie! to chew on once the movie's over, other than a trailer for the film and previews for three other Well Go USA releases: Kid Cannabis, The Seasoning House and Zombie Hunter.

    The Final Word

    Despite lifting most of its plot and character beats from Shaun of the Dead, Kill Zombie! finds its own identity by taking a familiar formula and filtering it through a Dutch perspective. Kill Zombie! has the same madcap energy and splat-stick humor as most of Edgar Wright's work and early Peter Jackson films as well, so if you're not completely burnt out on zombie films and want to see what the Dutch have to offer the genre, it's definitely worth checking out.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!