NAKED ZOMBIE GIRL
I recently purchased a copy of Rickey Bird’s 28 minute short film, “Naked Zombie Girl”. Not only is this Bird’s first time behind the camera, he also wrote this gory, grindhouse inspired zombie flick. Bought to us by Hectic Films, starring the lovely Meghan Chadeayne, Ron Hanks and Rickey Bird himself, Naked Zombie Girl is about two prostitutes and their friend Tony (Joshua Matthews), who have just fled a zombie attack in a 1971 Cadillac. Shortly after getting on the road, the girls realize Tony has been bitten and is going to turn. It’s up to Barbara (Chadeayne) to escape, and fend off the horde of undead with a trusty chainsaw. I read about the film on Facebook and thought it sounded really cool. It has an estimated budget of $17,000, and basically consists of one actress Meghan, who carries the entire film. I like supporting these low-budget indie films, you can purchase a copy of the film from the official FB page, just search under the title of the film.
Firstly, if you’re a fan of the genre you have to love that poster artwork. It reminds me of something that the Soska sisters would do (“Dead Hooker In A Trunk” and “American Mary”), originally that’s what caught my eye, so kudos to the marketing team. Naked Zombie Girl is a fun concept, in what’s become a tired zombie genre. Right from word go, you know this one is heavily inspired by Grindhouse films of the 70’s and 80’s. It even opens with a familiar but cool, 80’s synth theme which was a nice touch. The film has basically no dialogue but in this case it works. Meghan does a pretty decent job of reacting to the severity of the situation, and doesn’t spend much time dwelling on the past. Opting instead, to get to the ass kicking portion of the night (haha).
The reason most people want to watch a film like this is for the blood and gore. If you hit the spot in that department, you give yourself the best chance of a good reception. The individual zombie makeup for each extra looked great. The attention to detail was distinct, and there was a consistency in how the zombies looked as well as how they moved. Practical blood was used for most of the scenes and it looked first-rate. I was disappointed that no prosthetics were used and the kills bar one, weren’t overly impressive or unique. That one kill I speak of, involves a nice body split which appeared to be done practically and if that’s the case it’s extremely well conceived.
Because of the limited budget but it’s promise to deliver on carnage, the film suffers from obvious and poorly executed CG, during several of the more intense kills. The color looks okay, but it pales in comparison to what we’ve already witnessed with the practical stuff. The aspects letting this one down are all technical, and I’m guessing that most of them occurred during post production. Before I get started on these, keep in mind that it’s Rickey’s first time, and I know he’s going to improve as he continues to gain more experience. I know this supposed to be a bit of a nod to the grindhouse era, but I stand by my original comment about grindhouse when I reviewed “Hitchhiker Massacre”. Grindhouse only really works if you have money, and plenty of it. I know the genre originally spawned from low budgets and DIY (do it yourself) filmmakers, but let’s face it, they were never the best films.
The color saturation in this one seems very washed out (maybe on purpose), but it doesn’t make it any better to look at. Most of the camera work is alright, but the framing is often far to close to the actors faces in a lot of shots. The editing and lighting are the big ones though. They are the components that makes this nearly unwatchable (I say nearly). Once again, most of this is down to preference of a particular look or feel. In the beginning, the editing of the sound effects and the music is all over the place. I guess it supposed to be disconcerting or uneasy but it just feels tacky and annoying. Transitioning between scenes by melting the frames of the film reel is another average technique. No matter how you try to spin it, it just doesn’t work and it looks cheap and nasty. No one wants to see those shot on video formalities, this is why we have modern technology people (haha).
The action is pretty intense in this one, but for every potentially cool thing that happens we get some terribly frenzied editing that kills (pardon the pun), anything you might have enjoyed. Not only does CG blood spray profusely while the camera shakes at a million miles an hour as Barbara massacres the zombies, it’s all so painfully dark and hard to see. The lighting for 80 percent of this movie was basically non-existent. Now, I’m not saying shoot this movie during the daytime, obviously you would lose that specific tone. However, you have to choose some form of lighting for key scenes, otherwise your audience sees exactly what was on display here, not much.
I was really keen for Naked Zombie Girl, and I had fairly high expectations for it. Unfortunately I was left feeling kind of duped. The idea was good, some of the action that I could see was fun. The blood and it’s consistency was on par with everything else in the genre, it was just that rapid CG that ruined it. My advice to the crew would be to really concentrate on those fundamental technical aspects. Most people don’t need that stuff to be perfect especially in a film like this, but you need to make it relatively easy for your audience to watch and this isn’t. With such hyperactive editing, cheap editing techniques and terrible lighting, it makes Naked Zombie Girl a chore. Naked girls, zombies and a chainsaw you’d expect a really fun ride, disappointingly the execution let’s it all down.
My rating for “Naked Zombie Girl” is 5.5/10