Film Review: DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE (2018)

DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE *** Bulgaria 2018 Dir: Hector Hernandez Vicens 90 mins

Yes, we have another attempt to ride the coattails of one of the greatest zombie movies ever; George. A. Romero’ s DAY OF THE DEAD. This of course is not the first and certainly won’t be the last although many of us wish it would be!
This one it seems has been met with some very vicious criticism, so much so I got bored very quickly of reading the user reviews on IMDB. It’s really easy to slag off a movie but if you’re just going to say it’s shit without really giving any good reason,  then don’t bother. I must admit that reading stuff like that makes me want to see it even more. So I did and this is what I thought of it….. The good news is that it is not trying to be the original, granted there are many similarities but very loosely based and they seem more in tribute then trying to better it. BLOODLINE is set in a military bunker with soldiers, civilians and a doctor. This doctor, Zoe (Sophie Skelton) was a student at the time of the outbreak but is now the only medical personnel at the base so has taken it upon herself to try and find a cure for the “rotter virus”,( as they call it) by experimenting on the infected. One rotter seems different from the rest and has retained a glimmer of intelligence from his former life. Max (Johnathon Schaech) is this movies version of Bub, albeit a very creepy one! A former patient at Zoe’s hospital his blood was considered important due to the elevated amount of antibodies it contained so when he turned Zoe figured that once captured he could be used to create a vaccine. The question here is how much time and man power will Lieutenant Miquel Salazar (Jeff Gum) allow and is Zoe actually capable of creating a vaccine? I think I have managed to point out the key features to Romeros here but after that the similarities end. It is definitely not a masterpiece and I can see where some of the hate comes from. The zombies in this, as is the trend these days, are the fast, overly animated types. Their make up and way they act is great but they are seriously under utilised. There were plenty of opportunities for masses of zombies but alas there just wasn’t enough of them. The use of CGI blood and gore is never as effective as good old practical effects (and yet they still kept on persisting with CGI) but there is plenty of it and knowing it doesn’t look as great chose not to linger on anything in great detail. I have to admit to thinking that the way Max ends up at the compound was also a bit uncharacteristic of how a “true” zombie would act but whilst it isn’t in keeping with the genre I guess it’s introducing a new take on the subject. That being said I loved Max as a character! The thing that endured me to Bub in the original was his kind of childlike innocence, you instantly route for him and will him to pick up that phone. You feel as protective over him as Dr. Logan does. Not Max. Max is completely different. Schaech’ s enthusiasm as Max was a joy to watch, as a human Max was a creepy sexual predator and as a zombie still retained those characteristics making him a very intimidating and frightening persona. The acting from everyone other then Schaech is pretty awkward, none of them really seemed to gel. With the romantic element between Zoe and her soldier love interest being tepid at best. They either misjudged (when I’m being fair) or failed miserably (when I’m not) with any genuine attempt at using metaphors about consumerism or humanity to add a higher element to the story line but do touch on sacrifice for the greater good which they didn’t push quite as much as they should have, abandoning that idea for more action scenes and jump scares. It definitely seemed to move on at a fairly brisk pace and I enjoyed the balance of the soundtrack and the metal track over the end credits. I wanted to take a more objective stance on this then I normally would. Going by some of the crap I’ve read about it I feel it deserves a chance to prove itself instead of people straight away hurling abuse at it without giving it a chance and I hope I have managed to put my view on this across a little better then they did. It does have it’s downsides for sure but for zombie fans there are some good things about it, mostly Max and a few other good undead moments. I’m not saying it’s a must see, if you can overlook the hate and hype then give it a go. I did, I’m not ashamed to say that I liked it and I will watch it again.

Review by Sarah Budd

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