REVIEW: IZOMBIE – SEASON 4

iZombie (2015)

 

MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (American Gangster)
Rahul Kohli  (Happy Anniversary)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)
Aly Michalka (Two and a Half Men)
Robert Knepper (Cult)

iZombie (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jason Dohring (Veronica mars)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: TVS)
Jessica Harmon (Black Xmas)
Bryce Hodgson (X-Men 2)
Robert Salvador (Arrow)
Kurt Evans (Sanctuary)
Linda Park (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)
Dan Payne (Watchmen)
Sam Huntington (Fanboys)
Ryan Devlin (Deck The Halls)
Keenan Tracey (Bates Motel)
Christie Laing (Arrow)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Giacomo Baessato (The Returned)
Jade Payton (Good Game)
Steve Makaj (Stargate SG.1)
Daniel Bonjour (Frequency)
Laura Bilgeri (The Recall)
Adam Greydon Reid (Lost In Space)
John Emmet Tracy (The BFG)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Izabela Vidovic (Homefront)
Eddie jemison (Waitress)
Mather Zickel (Bones)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)

 

Rose McIver in iZombie (2015)Across its first three seasons, iZombie was largely Veronica Mars with zombies and that was no bad thing. It was consistently entertaining, offered a fresh take on the overpopulated zombie genre and had a cast of characters you genuinely engaged with, not to mention a hugely underrated lead turn from Rose McIver, who absolutely nailed every single personality she was asked to inhabit.  From superhero-brain to old-man-brain and many more in between, Liv’s (McIver) various personalities after eating the brains of victims to solve their murders have been a large part of the show’s quirky charm.Robert Buckley, Rose McIver, Aly Michalka, and Rahul Kohli in iZombie (2015)Yet you had the sense it was always building to a game-changing event – which came in the season-three finale as the existence of zombies was revealed to the world. Following a time jump, season four started with Seattle becoming the walled city of New Seattle as the US government contained the zombie outbreak, setting up a season-long conflict between zombies and humans that looks set to explode in the season four finale.More importantly though, the season has upped the stakes for Liv, where she’s not just a crime-solving zombie any more, meaning that the ‘Brain of the Week’ structure has taken a bit of a backseat. It’s a big change that is good for the show, especially now that it’s been renewed for a fifth and final season by The CW.iZombie (2015)This season has seen Liv become the underground leader Renegade after the previous leader was brutally executed, smuggling sick humans into New Seattle and scratching them to save them so they can start a new life as a zombie. It’s put her in the sights of Fillmore-Graves, who are responsible for controlling the population in New Seattle, with the penultimate episode seeing her turn herself in to protect her boyfriend Levon (Daniel Bonjour). Liv’s arc has helped to keep the show fresh, immune to the problems of predictability that can affect long-running crime procedurals due to the repetitive structure. Instead we have a show whose morally complex central storyline has a genuine sense of peril – tricky when your main character is a zombie, even though we can’t imagine Liv will be killed off in the season-four finale.iZombie (2015)The big change hasn’t been without its issues, though, as some overstuffed episodes in the second half of season four struggled to find the right balance between quirky and serious. However, when the show could easily have rested on its laurels, it decided to change things up. Surely it’s better for an established show to rip up the status quo? It’s not like fans haven’t had the ‘Brain of the Week’ to enjoy, either, as Liv has savoured hopeless-romantic-brain, germaphobic-brain and pick-up-artist-brain among others, and the rest of the cast have got in on the act too (Major’s wrestler-brain remains a highlight). The only difference is that these are now just the delicious sides to the meatier main course of the season.b7dab6_928eb416b1fb4db898d56136b89713f0~mv2And with co-creator Rob Thomas revealing before the show was renewed that he needed just one more season to get to the “end of our story”, iZombie’s move into a more serialised storytelling can pay dividends in the final season as it’s clear that it’s all been building to a planned resolution.izombie-season-4-finale-1111048-1280x0That’s likely to be the discovery of a workable zombie cure, and Ravi had a breakthrough in the penultimate episode – but iZombie doesn’t need to be cured. It’s never felt more alive.

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REVIEW: PARANORMAN

CAST

Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Bernard Hill (The Lord of The Rings)
Tucker Albrizzi I Am Number Four)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs)
Elaine Stritch (Romance & Cigarettes)
John Goodman (Red State)
Tempestt Bledsoe (Guys With Kids)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Ariel Winter (Excision)
Bridget Hoffman (Hercules: TLJ)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Eddie Frierson (Hotel Transylvania)

Kodi Smit-McPhee in ParaNorman (2012)In the small town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts, Norman Babcock is an 11-year-old boy who speaks with the dead, including his late grandmother and various ghosts in town. Almost no one believes him and he is isolated emotionally from his family while being ridiculed by his peers. His best friend, Neil Downe, is an overweight boy who is bullied himself and finds in Norman a kindred spirit. After rehearsal of a school play commemorating the town’s execution of a witch three centuries ago, the boys are confronted by Norman’s estranged and seemingly deranged uncle, Mr. Prenderghast, who tells his nephew that he soon must take up his regular ritual to protect the town. Soon after this encounter, Mr. Prenderghast dies.Kodi Smit-McPhee in ParaNorman (2012)During the official performance of the school play, Norman has a vision of the town’s past in which he is pursued through the woods by townsfolk on a witch hunt, embarrassing himself and leading to his father Perry grounding him. His mother Sandra tells him that his father’s stern manner is because he is afraid for him. The next day, Norman sees Prenderghast’s spirit who tells him that the ritual must be performed with a certain book before sundown that day; then making him swear to complete the task, Prenderghast’s spirit is set free and crosses over. Norman is at first reluctant to go because he is scared but his grandmother tells him it is all right to be scared as long as he does not let it change who he is. Norman sets off to retrieve the book from Prenderghast’s house (having to take it from his corpse).Kodi Smit-McPhee in ParaNorman (2012)He then goes to the graves of the five men and two women who were cursed by the witch, but finds that the book is merely a series of fairy tales. Alvin, a school bully, arrives and prevents Norman from reading the story before sundown. Norman attempts to continue reading from the book, to no effect. A ghostly storm resembling the witch appears in the air, summoning the cursed dead to arise as zombies, who chase the boys along with Norman’s 17-year-old sister, Courtney; and Neil’s older brother Mitch, down the hill and into town. Having realized that the witch was not buried in the graveyard, Norman contacts classmate Salma (who tells them to access the Town Hall’s archives for the location of the witch’s unmarked grave) for help. As the kids make their way to the Town Hall, the zombies are attacked by the citizenry. During the riot, Norman and his companions break into the archives but cannot find the information they need. As the mob moves to attack Town Hall, the witch storm appears over the crowd. Norman climbs the Hall’s tower to read the book, in a last-ditch effort to finish the ritual, but the witch strikes the book with lightning, hurling Norman from the tower and deep into the archives.Kodi Smit-McPhee in ParaNorman (2012)Unconscious, Norman has a dream where he learns that the witch was Agatha Prenderghast, a little girl of his age who was also a medium. Norman realizes that Agatha was wrongfully convicted by the town council when they mistook her powers for witchcraft. After awakening, Norman encounters the zombies and recognizes them as the town council who convicted Agatha. The zombies admit that they only wanted to speak with him to ensure that he would take up the ritual, to minimize the damage of the mistake they made so long ago. Norman attempts to help the zombies slip away so they can guide him to Agatha’s grave, but is cornered by the mob. Courtney, Mitch, Neil, and Alvin rally to Norman’s side and confront the crowd, arguing that their rage, fear, and misunderstanding make them no different than the cursed townsfolk from long ago. Although the mob calms down, the witch unleashes her powers to create greater havoc throughout the town.John Goodman and Kodi Smit-McPhee in ParaNorman (2012)Judge Hopkins guides Norman’s family to the grave in a forest. Before the grave is reached, Agatha’s magical powers separate Norman from the others. Norman finds the grave and interacts with Agatha’s vengeful spirit, determined to stop the cataclysmic tantrum she has been having over the years. Though she attempts to push him away Norman holds his ground, telling her that he understands how she feels as an outcast, that her vengeance has only made her like the ones who wronged her, and eventually forcing her to remember happier days. Having finally encountered someone who understands her plight, Agatha is able to find a measure of peace and cross over to the afterlife. The storm dissipates, and she and the zombies all fade away. The town cleans up and regards Norman as a hero. In the end, Norman watches a horror film with the ghost of his grandmother and his family, who have grown to accept Norman for who he is.Kodi Smit-McPhee and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in ParaNorman (2012)ParaNorman works on many levels. Adults will love the stylish, almost Gothic atmosphere; older teens will love the menace of both the zombies and the townspeople, not to mention the witch herself. There are, for an animated film, plenty of scares and dark themes – slightly offset by the themes of loneliness, friendship, heroism, and getting adults to just listen to you. There’s a sort of beauty in ParaNorman, as horror and light comedy are somehow blended to form a rich animated film.

 

 

REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL: DEGENERATION

CAST (VOICES)

Paul Mercier (The Legend of Prince Valiant)
Alyson Court (X-Men:TAS)
Laura Bailey (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Roger Craig Smith (Batman Ninja)
Crispin Freeman (Justice League Action)
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (The Avengers: EMH)
Michelle Ruff (Speed Racer X)
Michael Sorich (VR Troopers)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and the X-Men)
Salli Saffioti (Rabbit Hole)
Johnny Yong Bosch (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Michael McConnohie (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Troy Baker (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Derek Mears (The Flash)

On November 2005, Harvardville Airport falls victim to a T-virus attack both from inside the terminal and a crashlanded airline plane. TerraSave worker Claire Redfield coincidentally runs into Senator Ron Davis; they are forced to hide in the VIP lounge with Rani, niece of a TerraSave employee. By nightfall, the airport has been locked down by the local Special Response Team and the United States Marine Corps, aiding evacuated survivors. Officers Angela Miller and Greg Glenn are joined by federal agent Leon S. Kennedy. Claire’s group is rescued; however, they are forced to leave the infected Greg. Trucks from WilPharma arrive to administer the T-vaccine, but are destroyed by explosives. Leon reveals that a terrorist has threatened to unleash the T-virus throughout the U.S. should government officials involved in its creation not be revealed by midnight.Alyson Court, Paul Mercier, and Michael Sorich in Baiohazâdo: Dijenerêshon (2008)Claire accompanies WilPharma Head Researcher Frederic Downing to their Harvardville research facility. Downing reveals plans to make a G-virus vaccine next, angering Claire because of its extreme danger. Excusing himself, Downing leaves Claire in his office. Claire informs Leon about what Downing told her, and learns that he and Angela have found the house of her brother Curtis on fire. Downing phones Claire, warning her about a man who has activated a time bomb. Claire briefly spots Curtis in the building’s central garden, only for the bomb to detonate. Leon and Angela arrive at the facility and split up, Leon reunites with Claire, while Angela reunites with Curtis. Curtis reveals the American government’s involvement in covering up Raccoon City’s destruction. Having injected the G-virus, he mutates and kills a squad of Army Rangers. Leon saves Angela as the atrium garden begins to fall apart, with the wreckage temporarily crushing Curtis. The computer system then incinerates the building in order to prevent the viruses from spreading. Angela and Leon jump into a pool of water to avoid being incinerated. After shooting a glass partition to avoid drowning, the two find themselves in an underground area. Meanwhile, Claire makes it to the command center, attempting to halt a biohazard alarm and open the building. However, the detection of Curtis triggers an outbreak containment method in which the laboratory falls into the abyss.Paul Mercier and Laura Bailey in Baiohazâdo: Dijenerêshon (2008)Curtis attacks them, seeing Leon as a threat and Angela as a mate. Curtis briefly regains control, telling Angela to run before losing himself again. As the sections are ejected, Leon and Angela evade Curtis, only to hang from a broken catwalk. About to fall, Curtis grabs hold of Angela’s leg but is shot in the head by Leon, and falls to his death. In the aftermath, Claire accuses Senator Davis of orchestrating everything in order to improve WilPharma stock. Leon reveals Davis is innocent; making Claire realize that Downing is the actual mastermind of the T-vaccine’s destruction, the bombing of the research building, and the recent bioterrorism incidents. Meanwhile, Downing talks to General Grandé, a client of his eager to buy the T-virus now that news reports have revealed its potential, though he warns against using the G-virus. Waiting for a contact to sell WilPharma information to, Downing mistakes a car containing Leon and Claire for his contact; soon after, he is arrested by the police for his crimes.The next day, Leon and Claire meet with a despondent Angela. Leon reveals Downing confessed to being a former Umbrella researcher who stole both viruses and escaped prior to the Raccoon City incident and created his current identity. Downing used his alias to sell the viruses to a list of potential customers while researching the vaccine. Angela realizes Downing manipulated Curtis, but Claire notes that even though this does not clear his name, he wants to prevent another Raccoon City just like she, Leon, and Angela do. Meanwhile, news reports reveal Davis has resigned from office over allegations of insider stock trading with WilPharma stocks. A newspaper draped over Davis’ face reveals that another company, Tricell Incorporated, has offered to purchase the now-bankrupt WilPharma. At this point, Davis is revealed to have been assassinated by Tricell, with the company deleting all of Davis’s computer files on WilPharma and recovering G-Virus samples from Curtis’s corpse.Alyson Court, Paul Mercier, and Laura Bailey in Baiohazâdo: Dijenerêshon (2008)Overall, this film had several flaws, some worse than others, but together it wasn’t terrible. Not the best film I’ve seen, but I liked it in general, enjoyed it, and I believe it was far from the worst film ever. Especially since this film isn’t meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

 

 

REVIEW: ZOMBEAVERS

CAST

Rachel Melvin (Sleepy Hollow)
Cortney Palm (Death House)
Lexi Atkins (Ted 2)
Hutch Dano (Feels So Good)
Jake Weary (It Follows)
Peter Gilroy (XOXO)
Bill Burr (Date Night)
Rex Linn (CSI: Miami)
Brent Briscoe (Driven)
John Mayer (Get Hard)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

ZB beaver attacks JenWhile transporting toxic chemicals, a pair of truckers (one of which is played by the comedian Bill Burr) strike a deer and lose one of their canisters. It rolls into a river, floats downstream, and splashes several beavers at their dam. Later, college students Mary, Zoe, and Jenn arrive at Mary’s cousin’s cabin near the dam. Although Zoe and Jenn are distraught that there is no cell phone coverage, Mary insists that they spend the next two days without interruptions from technology or boys. While swimming at the lake, the girls discover the beaver dam. When Jenn swims closer to see a beaver, they are surprised by a bear. Smyth, a local hunter, scares off the bear and admonishes the girls to stay away from the beavers and dress more appropriately.zombeavers14At night, the girls’ boyfriends – Buck, Tommy, and Sam – arrive and play a prank on them. Annoyed, Mary orders them to leave, but Zoe, who knew they were coming, insists they stay. Jenn talks Mary into letting them stay, as she wants to resolve her relationship issues with Sam, who has cheated on her. As the couples separate, Jenn leaves to take a shower, only to be attacked by a beaver. Tommy kills it with a baseball bat, but Jenn and Mary feel something is wrong with it beyond rabies. They put the corpse in a bag and put it outside on the porch. In the morning, they discover it is missing, and Jenn insists that it was not merely eaten by wildlife.zombeaver3All but Jenn go swimming in the lake. Sam and Mary discuss whether to tell Jenn about their affair, but they are interrupted when beavers chew off Buck’s foot and scratch Tommy. The same beaver that attacked Jenn earlier chases her back to the house. She pins it to the counter with a knife, but not before it scratches her leg. Sam throws Zoe’s dog into the water as a distraction, and the rest of the group flee to the house, where they realize the beavers have cut the phone lines. As zombie beavers surround the house, Tommy offers to leave with Buck to get help, and Zoe accompanies him. Zombeavers-1200x675The beavers bring down a tree in the road, and Tommy sets off on foot, only to be crushed by another falling tree. Smyth rescues Buck and Zoe, and they return to the house, which the others have boarded up. Unable to enter it, they go to the neighbors’ house. They discover the neighbors are dead, and their phone lines cut. As a result of her wounds, Jenn turns into a beaver-like zombie and attacks Mary. As Jenn’s saliva falls in Mary’s mouth, Sam rescues Mary by hitting Jenn from behind. Mary and Sam lock themselves in the bathroom and check each other for scratches. Satisfied that neither is wounded, they begin to have sex, but Jenn interrupts them and kills Sam by biting off his penis. Meanwhile, Buck turns into a zombie and attacks Smyth. Zoe escapes by jumping through a window, bloodying herself in the process.

ZombeaversAs a beaver accidentally sets Mary’s cousin’s house on fire, Sam rises as a zombie. Once Mary kills Sam, she reunites with Zoe. Smyth, now zombified, shoots at them as they flee in his truck. Jenn jumps on top the truck, but Zoe runs her over. Together, Mary and Zoe reach the spot where Tommy died and turned into a zombie. With the road blocked, they decide to walk. Believing that Zoe may be bitten due to her bloody appearance, Mary holds her at gunpoint with a pistol recovered from Smyth’s truck. As Zoe protests that she is not infected, Mary begins changing into a zombie. Zoe kills her with an axe and walks away. On the road, she encounters the same truckers who had earlier dropped the canister, and they run over her accidentally. In a post-credits sequence, a honeybee becomes infected from a corpse and returns to its hive in a zombified state.ZOMBEAVERSCAST2Well, as soon as I saw Zombeavers advertised on Blu-Ray, I knew I had to watch it. The storyline is predictable, the same as most low budget mutated animal films. Right from the off you can tell that the film isn’t taking itself seriously, which is exactly how these sort of films should be made. The acting is okay-ish, not the worst I have seen by far! The dialogue is actually not that bad either, which makes a change! The effects are my absolute favourite part of this film, they are mainly puppets and they do not heavily rely on irritatingly bad CGI., so this film took it back to the old school horrors. It is well worth a watch if you fancy a gory giggle.

REVIEW: SANTA CLARITA DIET – SEASON 2

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

MAIN CAST

Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Liv Hewson (Inhumans)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)

scd_201_unit_00282_r

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jee Young Han (Why Him?)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Maggie Lawson (The Ranch)
Ramona Young (Z Nation)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Natalie Morales (The Grinder)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Adam Rose (Veronica Mars)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Masterminds)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Sarah Baker (The Campaign)

santa-clarita-diet-season-2-joel-mchale-castSeconds are seldom as good as the initial meal. You’ve already eaten. Your stomach is beginning to fill. The mystery of the menu is gone. And because a food analogy isn’t strong enough to encompass a television show, the same thing about seconds can also be said with zombie films. There are rare occasions where the sequel is stronger than the original movie, but there’s usually a diminishing return the more you see zombies. These are areas where the “second course” is inevitably disappointing in comparison to the first, however Santa Clarita Diet season 2 rises above these expectations. If anything this new season will leave the audience hungry for more rather than feeling full from these undead antics. When the last season of Santa Clarita Diet ended, the series started to finally find a fitting groove and the tone. Santa Clarita Diet’s second season overpowers season one in practically every way possible.t5sbiwdabipjop4ures7The biggest strengths from the first season of Santa Clarita Diet came from Victor Fresco’s (Better Off Ted, Andy Richter Controls the Universe) irreverent, fearless comedy that was allowed to inject itself into an outrageous premise. All of that is still present and some of the rougher patches from the series’ freshman year like Barrymore’s broad performance or the show’s inconsistent tone during its beginning are now smoothed out. The series also benefits from everyone going into “rescue mode” over Sheila and her condition rather than the whole “let’s hide the central story” aspect that dominates so much of the first season. The training wheels are now off and this show really starts to get creative and have fun with its premise.6ccb292a-6ab9-4760-8a4d-dbdcec443b43Much of Santa Clarita Diet season 2 focuses on the Hammond family’s attempts to normalize their situation. For instance, if Sheila is chained up in the basement, then why not dress up the basement and slap a fresh coat of paint on the ugly situation? Right from the jump of the season there may be people who are anxious that Sheila should just be murdered, but clearly the family is in for the long haul. Joel, Abby, and even Eric are all blissfully hopeful towards their unique situation. Curiously enough, in spite of all the high stakes life and death undead material, Joel and Sheila still worry about their real estate job and it occupies a reasonable part of the season. That might seem like a considerably less important aspect of the series, but it’s encouraging to see the show try to embrace this normalcy, for better or worse. Meanwhile, Joel and Sheila’s murder-happy misadventures still go down under the nose of Deputy Ann, who’s only a few doors away. The ways in which they both squirm out of conversations with Ann and proceed to make matters worse for themselves is always the best kind of awkward mess. Sheila and Joel also find themselves in the weird situation where murder seems to be the best way to handle their problems, but they don’t just want to resort to murder whenever they’re caught in a bind, regardless of how good they may have gotten at it.Skyler Gisondo and Liv Hewson in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)At the same time, these middle-aged parents also realize that without these adrenaline-pumping murders in their lives they’re pretty boring people who don’t have much game. At one point Joel laments, “We’re realtors, so killing people and stuffing them in our fridge doesn’t come naturally.” That’s basically this show in a nutshell. Sheila’s “condition” is an obvious problem, but this season is just as interested in the fact that that Joel and his wife haven’t been able to have a date night, build a bookshelf, or write a yelp review since all of this undead business started. Santa Clarita Diet season 2 also starts to expand the show’s world in bigger ways. There are more undead individuals that are out there in addition to organizations that are on the hunt for a cure or a means to exterminate this epidemic. These secret factions begin to come out of the woodwork this season and it’s a good creative move on the show’s part. Joel and Sheila’s secret life continues to intersect with their job and social lives in interesting ways, all of which make the two of them continue to ponder whether they’re good people or not. It’s great to see Joel and Sheila use death and horror as a prop for comedy. You really don’t see that perspective anywhere else in this context—it’s almost like a suburban Dexter or The Walking Dead. Sure there are programs like Ash Vs the Evil Dead or Stan Against Evil, but this is so deeply entrenched in its family dynamic and is a comedy first and horrorsecond.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-netflix-feature

This season also digs into the bigger questions, like how Sheila became infected in the first place. Joel and company assume that if they figure this out then they can reverse engineer the rest of this mystery. The show’s mythology explodes in a big way here and the story turns into something that’s so much more interesting than simply a comedic take on zombies, which the show could be guilty of during its first season. The show’s lore goes to some fascinating places that touch on territory like the Knights of the Templar and all sorts of things that you wouldn’t expect. One of the best things about Santa Clarita Diet is its phenomenal cast and in the show’s second season everyone’s only more comfortable in these roles. There’s seriously such chemistry between the reluctantly murderous Hammond family. Their dynamic really clicks this year and they all feel more natural in a way that was absent last season. Timothy Olyphant’s Joel continues to play unhinged and flustered in the best way possible. The wide-eyed, beleaguered way in which he does comedy is perfect for this universe.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-trailerDrew Barrymore does an even better job as Sheila this season now that she’s acclimated to the role a little better. She plays the role with the glee of a puppy who’s just found a new toy. The show also really explores the beauty in how becoming undead can allow people to finally become the people that they wanted to be in life. It just happens to be something that comes with the awful side effect of needing to consume human flesh. Some of the best work from this season comes from the younger half of the show’s cast. Skyler Gisondo really gets to step up his game as the hapless Eric Bemis and he finds himself overwhelmed in a whole new way this year. His burgeoning relationship with Abby continues to make for believable tension between the two of them as well. On that note, this season is also a real showpiece for Abby’s Liv Hewson. The character goes through a metamorphosis that is a lot of fun to watch. Abby redefines who she is in both school and real life and it’s a fascinating arc for her character. Sometimes your mom turning into a zombie can be just as life changing as turning into the zombie yourself.20190221-PAGEONE-SANTA-CLARITASanta Clarita Diet’s second season features strong storytelling and performances, but it also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the extreme visuals and gore. This season features gruesome sights like broken thumbs, the lesson of what microwave settings to apply to frozen body parts, spider balls, and explosions of blood that make it seem like humans are carbonated soda that are just waiting to burst. In this sense, the show’s humor is still particularly on point and many conversations should make audiences laugh out loud, such as the prospect of sprucing up a kill room so it doesn’t so obviously look like a kill room or the debate of whether it’s discriminatory to kill a Nazi who’s in a wheelchair and the moral relativism of such a murder. Santa Clarita Diet proves that it has a sustainable vision and that this show is more than just some one-season fad. If anything the show is only getting better and it doesn’t suffer from the usual problems that can afflict Netflix shows, such as the season’s pacing. Admittedly, some of the show’s fight scenes play out a little awkwardly and look low budget, but it’s hardly a big deal. This isn’t Daredevil. The show’s second season snowballs and culminates in an impressive way where the year ends on a huge note that once more questions the status quo of the series. The bottom line here is that it’s consistently compelling and enjoyable to see if Joel and Sheila can continue to keep all of their blood-soaked balls in the air.

 

REVIEW: THE REVENANT (2009)

CAST

David Anders (Izombie)
Chris Wylde (Space Cowboys)
Louise Griffiths (Lovesick)
Jacy King (Drop Dead Gorgeous)
Eric Payne (Malcolm X)

David Anders in The Revenant (2009)The film focuses on Second Lieutenant Bart Gregory (David Anders) who has been killed under mysterious circumstances in Iraq. After his friends and girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths) attend his funeral, Bart awakens in his grave. Enlisting the help of his best friend, Joey Leubner (Chris Wylde), Bart begins to understand and learn how to deal with his new undead state; mainly, the fact that Bart needs blood to hold back decomposition and that he returns to a state of in-animation during daylight hours. Joey does research online to find out what Bart is and seems to be stuck between a Zombie and Vampire, finally stating that Bart is a Revenant. While buying beer from a small store in Koreatown, Bart and Joey become vigilantes when Bart both kills and feeds off of a gangster who is holding up the store. They enjoy the media coverage of the incident, and Joey asks Bart to bestow him with the “dark gift”. Bart refuses to do so and laughs the idea off. However, after a subsequent attempt at vigilantism goes wrong and Joey is fatally wounded, Bart is forced to drink Joey’s blood in order to save him.David Anders in The Revenant (2009)The two continue their vigilante killing spree for a while, until Mathilda (Jacy King), a friend of Janet who dislikes both Bart and Joey, follows them and threatens to reveal their activities to the world, especially Janet. Joey shoots Mathilda through the chest, but before she dies, she is able to send the information to Janet. Fearing they will be caught, Joey tells Bart to meet him back at the apartment with a packed bag in half an hour, then drives away mysteriously. Bart meets a teary Janet at the apartment, who forces him to explain the fact that he requires blood to stay stable. She then begs him to feed off of her instead, so that he will no longer need to kill. Bart loses control and drains her until she dies.Chris Wylde and David Anders in The Revenant (2009)Joey returns to the apartment with a “pimped out” hearse for the two to use, and suggests that they go to Las Vegas to continue their reign. However, after Bart shows him Janet’s corpse, the two begin to fight, and proceed to shoot each other repeatedly, although this is insufficient to kill either of them. Joey storms out and states that he will continue on to Vegas alone. Bart decapitates Janet in order to ensure her death, then drops her remains over the bridge where he and Joey usually disposed of their corpses. Bart is captured by SWAT teams and taken to jail, where, come dawn, he collapses in his cell. Upon nightfall, Bart reawakens in the morgue and escapes, returning to the apartment. Inside is a package containing Joey’s severed head. Since he was decapitated at night, Joey is still “alive”, and Bart uses a vibrating dildo to enable Joey’s head to talk. Joey warns Bart that a gangbanger who was their first kill is after him for revenge, and then requests that Bart kill him for good. Bart crushes Joey’s head underneath a bulldozer, and then tries to find a way to kill himself.Chris Wylde and David Anders in The Revenant (2009)Against normal convention, a bullet through the brain does not have the desired effect, and neither does hanging himself with Christmas lights. He even throws himself in front of the subway train, but only succeeds in severing his arm. Bart then boards a train, where he finds and reads a letter that Janet left in his uniform’s pocket at his funeral. He breaks down and attacks the only other passenger. He is caught and flees into the station where more SWAT teams attempt to catch him. He finally escapes to a hilltop and at dawn collapses once more, while he is being surrounded by men in hazmat suits. The film then cuts to a tour of sorts, where various military personnel are being shown revenants in glass containers, including Bart. A General asks Bart if he was a soldier, and then states that this fact may give him an advantage. Bart is then shown in a large canister being airdropped into Khūzestān Province, Iran, along with the other revenants, where the canister opens upon landing, releasing him on the country.Chris Wylde and David Anders in The Revenant (2009)While we get bombarded with plenty of low budget junk it seems we can still miss something with real genius in it. This is one of the missed ones it seems. Well acted, well scripted, keeps the story moving, and gives us a new and interesting take on a tired genre. The special effects were also top notch and although you were aware this was a movie done on a tight low budget when the fx kicked in they went above and beyond the call. Top notch stuff.

REVIEW: ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS ZOMBIES

CAST

Bill Oberst Jr. (Resolution)
Kent Igleheart (Unconditional)
Rhianna Van Helton (The Space Jockey Pursuit)
Debra Crittenden (Good Wood)

After his mother Nancy Lincoln (Rhianna Van Helton), falls victim to an illness that requires her to be tied to her bed, vicious and cannibalistic, 10-year-old Abe Lincoln (Brennen Harper) sees his father Thomas Lincoln (Kent Igleheart) commit suicide at her bedside. Taking up a scythe, the distraught young Abe tells his mother that he loves her before beheading her. He then joins others in his community in containing a local zombie outbreak.When an adult Abraham Lincoln (Bill Oberst Jr.) has become President of a fracturing United States, he is apprised of rumors concerning a prominent Confederate stronghold. He is told that a regiment of 30 men had gone to Confederate Fort Pulaski to seize it from the Confederates and only one man returned barely alive. When questioning the survivor, Lincoln discovers the soldier has an illness that seems to bring corpses back to life. He then personally leads a team of the newly established secret service to accompany him in investigating the fort.They get to the fort and are attacked by Confederate survivors led by General Stonewall Jackson (Don McGraw) as well as by several of the infected people. Abe kills one of his men who had been bitten by an infected and explains to the others in his party that if they are bitten or scratched by an infected, or if an infected’s blood makes contact with their mouths or eyes, that they too will become infected and, within twenty-four hours, would no longer be considered “human”. More are lost when attempting to investigate the surrounding neighborhood, and Abe encounters an old flame turned prostitute Mary Owens (Baby Norman) who is sheltering her help, including a young Theodore Roosevelt (Canon Kuipers), daughter Sophia (Hannah Bryan) and prostitute Annika (Anna Fricks) to protect them from the invasion. The group makes their way back to the fort where Jackson refuses to kill the infected, believing them to only be sick and in need of care. He claims Lincoln’s actions are only against the members of the Confederacy. Based on an old Bantu word he’d learned from his mother, Agent Brown (Jason Hughley) names the infected persons “zombies”. Pat Garrett (Christopher Marrone) volunteers to help Abe, and guides them to a nearby plantation that has farming implements and other weapons they can use to combat the threat.When returning to the fort, Mary is splashed in the face with zombie blood and soon falls ill. Meanwhile, agent John Wilkinson (Jason Vail) protests the killing and asks to remain behind as the rest of the group heads into the township to kill off the infected. Being greatly outnumbered, only Abe, Theodore, and Sophia return when the others are slaughtered. Wilkinson, who is revealed to be a spy, plots to kill Lincoln while he is alone but changes his mind when he catches Abe praying, as in his mind prayer would ensure Lincoln’s soul going to heaven. After being convinced by Pat Garrett that Lincoln is right and escape is unlikely, Stonewall shows Abe a secret cache of gunpowder. They then decide to use the explosive to blow up the fort after trapping and containing the zombies inside. When the fuse goes out, Stonewall ventures down alone to re-light it, but is over-run and killed by the zombies just after doing so. Abe and Brown escape just in time and the entire place goes up. Mary accepts her fate and goes off with Lincoln to die, much to Sophia’s heartbreak.Eighteen months later, Abe goes to visit Mary who had been in the care of a doctor investigating the illness in vain hope of finding a cure. As Abe cleans wounds caused by her restraining shackles, Mary grabs his hand scratches his skin infecting him, much to his horror, forcing him to kill her. Knowing he is himself uncurable, Abe requests that a message be sent to John Wilkinson, as earlier he had discovered that Wilkinson was actually John Wilkes Booth who had a plot to kidnap Lincoln in response to the end of the war and the Union the victor. The message gives Booth the information to know exactly where Lincoln would be the following night at the theater, thus leading to his assassination (purposely arranged by Lincoln to prevent another outbreak) at Booth’s hands.I found Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies to actually be good entertainment value. There wasn’t any scares or real shock scenes in the movie, which would have been nice. But still, if you like zombie movies and wouldn’t mind seeing a somewhat comical approach to the take on Abraham Lincoln, then it’s definitely worth checking out.