Dead Rising: Watchtower
Director: Zach Lipovsky
Writer: Tim Carter
Starring: James Metcalfe, Rob Riggle, Megan Ory, Keegan Connor Tracy
Genre: Zombie Horror
“Man, there are so few zombie movies coming out.”
– No one ever
I would love to sit at the producer meeting five minutes before they green light a zombie movie and say, “Really guys? Do we really need another one?” Next I would list off the hundred or so B movie zombie flicks already released. Dead Rising: Watchtower is different. It is based on a video game (like House of the Dead, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill) and it is a Crackle Original Movie. For those of you unfamiliar with Crackle.com, it is a contender for online streaming entertainment, trying to win over young people with original content.
Dead Rising: Watchtower is loosely based on the video game released for Xbox One. East Mission, Oregon is quarantined because of a zombie infection and the government group, FEZA, is controlling the problem with a medicine called Zombrex. When FEZA’s drug proves to be worthless, the zombies begin uprising and wreaking havoc in the small town. The government is forced to fire bomb everyone quarantined in the hot zone unless undercover reporter Chase Carter can get to the center of the truth.
Chase Carter (James Metcalfe) is a renegade reporter searching for the answers in the heart of the zombie problem. FEZA is hiding something and he is determined to get his hot news story. After the Zombrex proves to be ineffective in treating the zombie outbreak, Chase finds himself stuck in the town trying to survive. Along the way, he befriends Crystal (Meghan Ory) a sassy and independent bombshell who takes flak from no one.
The rest of the movie is Chase and Crystal arguing to find a way to survive the zombie outbreak and a psychotic post-apocalyptic biker gang. Meanwhile, back at the news studio, Frank West (Rob Riggle), former zombie killing survivor of the last quarantine, gives off color commentary of how screwed anyone is for being stuck in there.
Swearing: F***, S***, D***, A**, and G**d*** bombs spewed from everyone throughout the movie. Rob Riggle bears the most of it.
Violence: There are plenty of flesh wounds, limb tearing, bludgeoning effects, and zombies getting chopped up. A baby gets chewed on. On top of that, there are explosions and innocent civilians getting shot.
Sex: Various crude lines are spoken.
If you are a die-hard fan of Dead Rising, Capcom’s second best zombie game, you will appreciate how many head nods this movie makes. Chase Carter wears a t-shirt with a Server Bot head on it, he constructs weapon combos like the chainsaw axe, and he fights a zombie clown. Also the major conflict of the story is that the heroes need to escape firebombing within a time limit just like the game.
Aside from those special Easter Eggs, Dead Rising: Watchtower uses the FEMA tragedy of 2008 and cheesy government issues in place of a plot. It is two hours of been there and done that with slightly better acting than those on the SyFy channel. And while the movie has some fun zombie-slaying scenes there was not enough attention paid to the story to make it worth more than a side note in zombie movie making classics.
You have Chase Carter, the energetic, rebellious twenty something, who borrows most of his attitude from MTV’s Carson Daly. It is automatically assumed he is a competent zombie slayer. I never learned a lick of zombie self defense in my community college journalism class btw. Then we have Crystal who is excellent at killing zombies based on the merit that she is tough and hard to work with.
The other supporting characters are the cynical camera woman working with Chase, the mom who mourns over her zombie daughter (for like three seconds), the hard-nosed military sergeant, and the psychopathic gang leader. They are responsible for filling up the quiet non-killing parts of the movie with their best acting.
Rob Riggle’s character sprinkles in some humor as he argues about how horribly messed up the zombie invasion is. There’s also a dead baby getting chewed on by its father, which will get a few laughs from people who belong in a juvenile detention center. Mostly, we are there to enjoy the massive slaying of zombies and gang punks with combo weapons. This movie satisfies an itch for gore, young actors being cool, and someone who is talented at getting extras to wear zombie paint.
This is more of a Crackle problem, but throughout the two hours of movie, I viewed the same three commercials about ten times each. I know I am blessed to live in a time where streaming is replacing the five minute commercial break, but that is a lot of ads.
You will have fun watching our heroes blow open a few zombies and discover the truth about Zombrex. You might not be won over by the acting or the story. This movie is a good piece of escapism that deserves the most casual watch. Even though the story ends with a promise of more, I won’t be sitting through thirty commercials to find out what happens.
The Bottom Line
You will have fun watching our heroes blow open a few zombies and discover the truth about Zombrex. You might not be won over by the acting or the story, but you already knew that.