The ReZort is the latest strain of zombie fever to hit the screen over the recent few years. The premise of this undead outing is simple but unsettlingly believable. Like all good zombie movies, it isn’t simply a brain dead gore fest but addresses a good number of contemporary issues. It plays on the mistrust one generally has of authority these days, and the unethical profiteering and machinations of large corporations. It touches on raw nerve issues like refugees and immigration which, are even more poignant given the Brexit referendum.
The movie highlights post traumatic stress syndrome as suffered by war veterans and non combatant civilians caught up in the crossfire which is relevant given the many years of peace keeping in certain parts of the world. Most of all, it refers to philosophical questions like what civilisation means and the innate nature of humans.
All these are seen through a third person perspective of the protagonist Melanie, who wants to exorcise the demons of having faced and survived the hordes of the undead. The ReZort, is a safari resort where well heeled participants sip champagne, lounge in luxury tents and take pot shots at zombies that have been large incapacitated or corralled at a distance.
More akin to a sanatorium, members of the group, which Melanie joins on the safari, have residual psychological issues that they are hoping to address at The ReZort. There are two annoying 16-year-old gaming geeks who are oblivious to reality until one of the duo becomes a zombie snack. Melanie’s boyfriend seems calm, collected and on top of things. However, a damaged soul lies behind the thin veneer of a placid demeanour. Archer, the expert marksman and natural leader of the group feels that his best days are behind him and is at The ReZort to dish out some zombie annihilation – the self-admitted thing that he was ever any good at. Melanie herself faces some Daddy issues.
As all hell breaks loose, we are exposed to a microcosm of what the zombie apocalypse outbreak that the characters survived must have been like. The breakdown of civilisation and civil behaviour is swift when survival instincts take over – some are better at fighting, others at flight, and others are just fodder. Melanie is left alone to grapple with her own sense of ethics.
Director Steve Barker delivers an intellectually stimulating take on the zombie horror genre in this major release. The first since his debut Outpost and its subsequent sequel – also a in the horror genre with themes of the supernatural and conflict.
Writer Paul Gerstenberger exposes his penchant for Michael Crichton and tech thrillers in The ReZort, openly admitting these as the sources of his influences. In this title, he explores man’s dependence and trust in technology, and how naked we are without it. Civilisations, simply, another of our artificial constructs quickly break down and we rapidly become a savage from the stone age again.
The ReZort opens at cinemas on 30 June 2016.