Eaters (2010) — Another Hole in the Head 2011 — movie review
Posted on June 2, 2011 by Chris Nelson
So, in my last review I mentioned that zombie flicks are getting a bit tired these days, and I still maintain that. But the prospect of a new Italian Zombie film is something I can still totally get behind. Eaters may not me the most original Zombie entry on the block — in fact, it’s largely a mashup of other genre flicks (see: Day of the Dead, Children of Men) — but it’s a film that’s not afraid to go places American, PC zombie films would fear to tread.
Eaters sees a world where infection has sterilized and killed off anyone lacking a Y chromosome. The surviving males contend with bloodthirsty zombies, a byproduct of a religious zealot’s act of bio-terrorism, hellbent on doing what zombies do best. Holed up in a small facility, a group of soldiers support Gyno (Claudio Marmugi), a radical scientist, intent on finding a cure to the zombie outbreak, as well as the fertility problem – and not necessarily in that order. Our two protagonists, Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Allen (Guglielmo Favilla), head out in search of healthy zombie guinea-pigs for the scientist’s experiments, planning on plying zombie-hoarding neo-Nazi scum with their ample supply of beer…but things don’t go quite as planned.
Eaters‘ opening credits feature Uwe Boll’s moniker prominently, but thankfully his involvement was relegated to producing and advising the film’s two fledgling directors, Luca Boni and Marco Restori. (Note, I don’t harbor the hate many fanboys have towards Boll. I just find his films discomfortingly tedious). The film wears its miniscule budget on its sleeve, but still manages to impress with its level of quality. For every cheap CG effect, we have a legitimately impressive zombie makeup effect. Sequences relying on cliched tropes are realized with thoughtful compositions and competent lighting (the whole film has a nice desaturated color palette). Even the dialog, which amounts primarily to macho posturing, seems somehow more intelligent through the surprisingly competent emotings of its actors.
In terms of its overall feel, the Eaters experience is something akin to recent Resident Evil videogame releases – when Capcom opted for more action than suspense. Our heroes suffer numerous ambushes, but there’s little to no buildup beforehand. They just happen. The duo kicks ass. The story progresses. The cool thing though, is how they meld so many disparate elements into a cohesive storyline. I won’t go so far as to say it’s completely unique, or as intelligent as it could be, but the way they touch upon problems of religious zealotry, horrible medical experimentation, and the sad state of fraternal tribes left to their own devices – all within the confines of a low-budget zombie film – is actually kind of cool. And given how apolitical/anti-philosophical 21st century zombie films have become, these small tidbits prove even more impressive.
Filmic references abound as well, with verbal nods to such films as Leon: The Professional, and visual tips of the hat to the films mentioned above, and numerous other genre entries. I did mention that the film ventures into territory unusual for American zombie efforts, of which the subplot concerning using zombies as vessels for the gestation of human babies is a prime example. And this is the only film I’ve ever seen featuring zombie fanservice.
Eaters may not be the most original zombie film, but it is definitely more entertaining than most recent efforts. And at the very least, it’s a promise of interesting things to come from directors Boni and Restori. Check it out.
Eaters plays at the Roxy tomorrow, June 3rd, at 11:30pm, and Tuesday, June 14th, at 9:20pm. You can find out more about Eaters on its Another Hole in the Head festival page.