Kickstarter bears strange fruits sometimes with crazy ideas being realized on the small and big screen, but is Osombie only propagandistic nonsense for controversial patriotism’s sake, or is it simply a fun splatter movie?
(USA 2012, director: John Lyde)
Osama Bin Laden has been captured and killed, it seems, but by injecting himself with a serum, he joins his zombie forces and can only be stopped by a group of US soldiers.
There has been quite a lot of criticism levelled at the movie just because of the main idea, as is to be expected. Of course the whole concept is quite hard to swallow if you don’t have much sympathy for the US government and want everything PC. But then again, this is just a movie, and to its merit, it’s quite a lot of fun.
Starting with the zombies which show convincing make-up, lots of shooting and even swordfighting, it has everything so many low budget movies lack, i.e. well-executed gory action. Sure, if you’re more into the slow-walking zombies of Romero and atmospheric horror, then this is probably not for you. But for sheer entertainment value, this hits the jackpot. The only problem with the over-the-top bloodshed is that lots of it is CGI, as are the gunshots. Sometimes it works when one can clearly see that additional gore effects like exploding heads are used, at other times it just looks bad, as do a few special effects with explosions, airplanes and helicopters. With the red liquid being spilled in large quantities, even the camera is often splattered with it, looking even more like an FPS game.
Another problem the movie has, and this is where it gets disappointing, is that there’s simply a lack of suspense and character development. Sure, there are many scenes in which people speak, and one gets a feel of how each one behaves and what they’re like. But there’s way too much talk, only broken up by longer sequences of shooting and slashing things. This is certainly no bad thing for a short movie, but with a runtime of 90 minutes, one at least expects a bit of drama and tension.
Actually, there is a fair bit of dramatic death scenes and quieter moments. But these rarely work, and it’s here that the movie falls down, because as much as it shows violent videogame-like shootouts, it often comes across too serious. The campiness is only felt in some wisecracking, bad jokes and in very few scenes, which is a shame, as this could have been quite a fun ride, like the Resident Evil series. At least the music is rocking, and the cinematography is also quite good.
As ludicrous as it sounds, if you grew up in videogaming culture, having a controversial theme turned into mindless fun, like the Wolfenstein series, Osombie is actually everything you could want in a zombie flick with shooter elements. There’s even a girl kicking ass with her sword, so what’s not to like? If only there was more screen time with the titular zombie and there were more satirical elements instead of out-of-place drama, this could have been a sleeper hit. As it is, Osombie is an interesting outcome from a Kickstarter project which is mindless fun in its action scenes, but tedious to watch for its story progression of which there isn’t much.
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