“Every apocalypse deserves an afterparty!”

The apocalypse has come and gone and humanity has won the war against the undead. But if you still want to indulge your inner Rick Grimes, the ReZort is the ideal holiday destination for you; a remote island where the rich can hunt and kill zombies from the relative safety and comfort of the luxury safari provided by billionaire entrepreneur Wilton (Claire Goose).

Still traumatised by her experiences during the zombie wars, not least her father turning and trying to eat her, Melanie (Jessica De Gouw) decides to ditch the group therapy and signs herself and boyfriend Lewis (Martin McCann) up for a trip to the ReZort in an attempt to conquer her PTSD and gain a little piece of mind.

Joining a disparate group of amateur zombie hunters; a bunch of disposable obnoxious businessman, jilted bride Sadie (Elen Rhys), a couple of annoying laddish teenage gamers (Jassa Ahluwalia and Lawrence Walker) who just can’t die soon enough and a veteran zombie killer, the mysterious Archer (Dougray Scott), Melanie finds it difficult to take that fatal shot, unable to see the shambling game as anything but people.

However, when a spot of cyber sabotage causes the safari park’s security to malfunction, releasing the park’s ravenous moving targets, the group find themselves battling for survival against an army of zombies and forced to rely on the laconic Archer. But with the Army about to level the ReZort with an airstrike, will any of them make it off the island alive?

Riffing so heavily on Westworld and Jurassic Park that it all but digs up Michael Crichton’s corpse and makes it dance a jig, Steve Barker’s The ReZort is an unapologetically fun, meaty zombie movie that sees the Outpost director get to play with a decent budget for a change (or at least a bigger one than the Outpost flicks) to serve up solid B-movie thrills while taking a none-to-subtle swipe at the right-wing rhetoric that permeates our news media with scare stories of plagues of asylum seekers invading Europe, the film seeming especially relevant post-Brexit Referendum, Baker’s zombies not the evil Nazis of his previous films but the poor and dispossessed refugees of the zombie wars. Like all good zombie flicks, The ReZort is about us, about who we are and how we treat our fellow humans, about how we demonise the poor, the alien, the disenfranchised, robbing them of their humanity.

While having his cake and eating it in terms of the fanboy freerunning zombies versus Romero-esque shufflers debate (The Rezort features both, explaining that the zombies speed depends on how freshly animated they are), Barker’s zombies are unusually sympathetic (well, at least until the shit hits the fan!), displaying signs of limited intelligence, of memory, even of suffering and pain as they’re gleefully abused by the ReZort’s patrons, their guttural moans, hisses and roars attempts to communicate.

Lighter on gore than you might expect, Barker’s film takes it’s time getting to the zombie action, building tension, creating a convincing post-zombie apocalypse world, sketching the characters in broad strokes admittedly but giving them enough depth for it to matter when they end up part of the all-you-can-eat zombie buffet, Jessica De Gouw making a decent Final Girl, The Survivalist’s McCann pleasingly ambiguous as her shifty boyfriend, Elen Rhys refreshingly sympathetic as the hippyish Sadie and Claire Goose has great fun chewing the scenery the way the zombies chew their way up the cast list as the boo-hiss billionaire villain. In a dress so tight she looks like she was sewn into it, she’s reminiscent of a sexy Katie Hopkins; a soulless dead-behind-the-eyes bitch getting rich off and getting off on the suffering of those less fortunate. I mean she’s not as evil as Katie Hopkins obviously, but she is the film’s true monster. You’ll still want the pair of obnoxious gamers to die horribly however while, as the icy cool Archer, Dougray Scott is good value, bringing gravitas to his lone gunman, even if you can’t quite shake the notion that he’s seeing Hugh Jackman’s face on each zombie he pumps a bullet into.

A thrilling, ambitious, bluntly satirical romp with a killer premise, The ReZort may not be the smartest zombie flick you’ll ever see but, like Dougray Scott’s far from loquacious hard man, it gets the job done.

Horror Channel Frightfest review: The ReZort
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

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