Eaters: Rise of the Dead (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus gets to see what the zombie outbreak did to Spain on this new DVD
It’s been a few years since the zombie apocalypse kicked off and a small group in a remote region of Spain struggle to survive in their womanless world. Experimental Doctor Gyno (Claudio Marmugi) feels he’s about to make a break through and may have found a way to use the undead to for reproduction and a key to the human survival. He sends out Alen (Guglielmo Favilla) and Igor (Alex Lucchesi) to get him some fresh zombies to work one but we soon find out the doctor just wanted them out of the way for him to take his experiments to a whole new and twisted level.
In a lot of ways Eaters has a lot in common with 28 Days Later. It shares that real world feel and its low budget enables it to keep hold of it. This almost feels like the world of 28 Days Later but a few years in, when the world's really lost the battle against the undead and all that’s left is small bands of misfits whose goal in life isn’t clear and where the varying degrees of insanity is just common place.
This all works well and despite the low rent make up and model work for the zombies (and even though it’s low rent, some of it is pretty grim—oodles of blood and raw meat is always effective in low budget after all) Eaters never loses grip of its sensibilities and keeping the focus on the two leads' mission to find some more walking dead for the increasingly crazy doctor to experiment on never really gets old, especially as Igor and Alen are quite fun to travel around with. As they go from place to place this begins to feel like a series of short stories showing the pockets of crazy characters after the zombie uprising as Alen and Igor try to rustle up some eaters. This makes it less about horror and more a depiction of a world gone mad, making everything a little more interesting than the usual “Run!! There’s a zombie” approach. In fact the zombies are so damn easy to kill in this they are less of a threat and more of an annoyance—like a bee or something.
Anyway, I won’t go into too much detail but as expected it all comes to a head with the crazy doctor and while I wouldn’t say the wrap up was all that clean and felt a little like a Resident Evil plot, I still enjoyed the movie as a whole. It felt like something a little bit new, despite never getting much more than arm's length away from the ever increasing zombie movie catalogue. The pacing was more laid back, the central characters were a good pairing (I especially liked Igor. Anyone who boxes a zombie is good in my book) and the background to the infection was fresh enough to give Eaters its own little place in the genre.
Shot digitally Eaters always has that clean, warm and pretty sharp feel to it. In fact the colour palette here lends itself to looking a little more HD than DVD in places and despite the low budget visuals, Eaters can look quite impressive (other than the background elements of driving in a car, they look truly awful).
The deep blacks are also very effective and raise some of the visuals out of the budget restrictions and the presentation really shows off some natural looking skin tones in places. All in all, I thought Eaters was a pretty great SD transfer.
Most of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track lives in the front speakers and even when the electric guitar and electronic score expands into the rear speakers the whole affair still feels a little hollow.
There is the odd atmospheric sound that shows off. There’s a scene with a layer of heavy breathing and that adds quite a lot to the mood. The doctor's computer beeps can often fill the track in the echo filled lab/slaughterhouse and dialogue is generally good, especially when Igor sings “wake me up before you go-go” and calls Wham “a great band”.
The Making of (33:39) is a great introduction to the project telling us the director's background in short films, the ideas for Eaters—a great companion piece to the movie.
The ‘VFX Breakdown’ (03:48) is the usual show off of the layers of digital effects throughout the movie and lastly we have the trailer (02:21).
Eaters was way better than I thought it would be. I expected a mess of zombies, bad acting and low budget boredom but what I got was a well-paced story with good characters and a semi detailed look at what a world after a zombie apocalypse might be like. It’s all pretty routine stuff but Eaters has enough of its own thing to stand out amongst the crowd and I’d imagine fans of the zombie genre will appreciate that.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 13th June 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Stereo 2.0 Spanish
Extras: Making Of, VFX Breakdown, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Luca Boni, Marco Ristori
Cast: Guglielmo Favilla, Alex Lucchesi
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 90 minutes
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