Does the world really need another zombie movie? Walk into any store that sells DVDs and most people would scream “No!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There must be three zombie movies coming out every week. The hard thing for viewers to do is try to pick which one they should devote an hour and a half of their time to. Thankfully, you have a guy like me who wastes way too many moments watching movies like Anchor Bay Entertainment’s “The Demented” to keep you from doing the same.
Six college friends meet for a fun weekend at a Louisiana bayou estate for beers, water sliding (yes, water sliding), and good times. Just as the fun begins, the group is warned that the U.S. is being attacked by terrorists using biological weapons. Their hopes of being far from the danger zone are dashed when one of the enemy bombers crashes outside the nearest city. The chemical the plane was carrying infects the entire community by turning them into ravenous flesh-eating killers.
If this setup sounds familiar it should. It’s been used in 95% of every zombie film you’ve seen. The problem with “The Demented” is it’s a zombie movie with no “oomph!” Sure, the ones here are wild-eyed, bloody fast-running zombies and all. None of that matters, though, without some solid headshots or real gore.
“The Demented” is edited like the “Friday the 13th” movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All the graphic violence happens off-screen. While that “less-is-more” technique works with some horror thrillers, it really doesn’t with films featuring the walking dead or undead.
I will give credit to Director/Writer Christopher Roosevelt for one thing. The guy tries to get you to care about his characters. Even if they all come across as a bunch of whiny rich kids, he takes the time and attempts to give them some sort of personalities and backgrounds. This always helps to get the audience connected so we care when these people die horribly later on.
There’s also an interesting characteristic the zombies have that sets them apart from their counterparts in other movies of this nature. They freeze when they can’t sense any activity around them, resembling the disturbing nurses in the “Silent Hill” movies. The concept is intriguing, even if it does borrow a bit from the zombies that sleep while standing up in “Steve Niles’ Remains.”
Director/Writer Roosevelt pulled out all the stops when picking an affordable cast that would appeal to horror fans and teens. “The Demented” stars Michael Welch (“The Twilight Saga”), Sarah Butler (“I Spit on Your Grave”), Kayla Ewell (“The Vampire Diaries”), and Richard Kohnke (“The Carrie Diaries”). They’ll all no doubt grab individuals familiar with their separate works in those movies and TV shows.
“The Demented” is rated R because of its strong language. I’ve seen more gore and violence and heard heavier sexual innuendos in a PG-13 film. No flesh is bared besides the girls running around in their bikinis.
There are no special features to be found for “The Demented.” I usually comment that it would be nice to see how the movie was made. However, if you’ve seen any “Behind the Scenes” featurette for any zombie movie, you already know in this case.
If you’re hanging out with someone who doesn’t like overly graphic movies but is looking for some scares, “The Demented” might come in handy. True gorehounds looking for decapitations and gunshots to the head need to move on to something else. There’s nothing to see here.
“The Demented” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
“Detention of the Dead” Mashes Together “Night of the Living Dead” and “The Breakfast Club”
“The Incredible Melting Man” Oozes on to Blu-ray
Author Michael Laimo Discusses Chiller’s Adaptation of “Dead Souls”