There has been an outbreak of a serious virus in the South-East of England, and thanks to the criminal who started it, it is in danger of spreading throughout the country if not properly contained. What is really needed would be a cure, and in that respect there may be a ray of hope as a team of eight soldiers, British and American, are pressed into service to carry out a mission in the quarantine zone. It sounds simple, but it really isn't: track down a doctor who may have found that cure, then bring him back to civilisation for the antidote to be manufactured and supplied to the populace. But with just about everyone in the zone a flesh-eating zombie, is this possible at all?
The thing about zombie flicks was that, as many a filmmaker found in the wake of their revival post-Shaun of the Dead, they could be very cheap to make, hence the market was quickly flooded with broadly similar efforts featuring the antics of the undead, be they shambling and slow, or sprinting and fast. With a real glut forming, it took something of vision to present a spin on the clichés that we had not seen before, and while some went for comedy, often of the crassest variety, others were brave enough to trust the audience would take you on a level of sincerity that had an emotional reaction in mind. Shaun had been funny, but it contained its shocks and feelings too.
If your idea of a top zombie entertainment was something to chuckle, or even guffaw, at, you were not going to get on with the serious material unless you were determined to lampoon it, but Redcon-1 was set on creating an epic with all the emotions that went with that, grand scale stuff. The main drawback to that was, they didn't have the money, so would have to be very economical with the means they had, and with that in mind, while the skimpy resources occasionally showed through, for the most part director Chee Keong Cheung was very successful in sustaining what resources he had for the full, well-nigh two hours that it took for his plot to unfold across.
The cast may not have held any major stars, but depending on what you were drawn to, you might recognise the lead Oris Erhuero from bits and pieces on TV and film, or perhaps his day job as a male model, and his co-star Katarina Leigh Waters was a wrestler who had appeared in her own DVD line, presenting various horror movies and giving her own opinions on them in featurettes contained therein. Really this began as an ensemble that was gradually whittled down until there were only about three survivors left of the original group, joined by a little girl (Jasmine Mitchell) who is mysteriously surviving all this hellscape can throw at her (hint, hint). Erhuero's Captain Stanton makes it his purpose in life to get her to safety, away from the ravening hordes who would happily take a bite out of both of them.
While some cast may look a shade amateurish, nobody embarrassed themselves, and much of that was down to the direction which was pleasingly slick, making the most of what looked like a whole town of locals who had turned out to be transformed into zombies (fast variety) on various days out. These scenes were undeniably impressive, and a selection of military vehicles and a seemingly unlimited supply of blank cartridges to fire added to the air of a production that knew what it was doing, rather than asking "will this do?" of its crew and its audience. With that couple of hours to play with, there were understandable excesses, not merely the gore which had a dubious keenness to see child zombies gunned down in a taboo break that didn't have to be so enthusiastic, but also the sentimentality which was piled on with a shovel by the climactic scene. Yet this dedication to not doing anything by halves gave it the appearance of one of those eighties horror paperbacks brought to life, something like Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song, a real doorstep that offered everything the authors could think of to satisfy their readers. So not bad, then. Music by Ian Arber.