Directed by Zach Lipocsky
Starring Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan Connor Tracy
Reporter Chase Carter (Metcalfe) and camerawoman Jordan (Tracy) are reporting on the evacuation of East Mission in the face of a resurgence of a zombie virus despite the use of a drug called Zombrex to control infection. When the Zombrex injections fail, panic breaks out and zombies run amok.
While Jordan makes it to the safe zone and encounters FEZA official Norton (Gary Jones), Carter is stuck in the quarantine zone with infectee Crystal (Ory), traumatised mother Maggie (Madsen), and a pack of amoral biker looters led by the power-mad Logan (Aleks Paunovic). With the military called in and General Lyons (Haysbert) lining up a firebombing of East Mission, Carter and Jordan find themselves in a race against time to prove that the FEZA Zombrex shipments were bad, rather than a resistant strain of zombie virus requiring the complete destruction of the populace.
What’s wrong with it?
Dead Rising: Watchtower is a low budget movie, based on a computer game. It’s dumb as hell.
The film is true to the game in its use of ludicrous combination weapons, and they are indeed ludicrous.
The film has some nasty moments. Carter and Crystal first meet Maggie after she has been forced to stab her daughter, who was bitten in her crib and lived on Zombrex ever since, and the zombie dad grazing on the unseen contents of his baby carrier was almost as far as I got in the movie.
The bikers are ridiculously monstrous, murdering refugees for shiggles and threatening rape at pretty much every opportunity.
Carter is a bit of a douche.
In the scene where Carter is cuffed into a forklift with a radio blaring to attract zombies, I am deeply disappointed that he didn’t fire up the engine and do doughnuts through the horde.
What’s right with it?
The studio banter between anchorwoman Susan Collier (Carrie Genzel) and photojournalist, survivor and game protagonist Frank West (Rob Riggle) is awesome.
Zombies are something that you can actually do really well on a low budget, and they do.
The goofy weapons are hilarious.
The cast are all pretty good and utterly committed to this mad little film.
Maggie’s story is genuinely tragic, and the sections with Jordan investigating the conspiracy outside the quarantine are actually pretty tense.
How bad is it really?
Dead Rising: Watchtower is a decent zombie movie, slightly weighted by a douchey protagonist. It is easily one of the best video game adaptations out there, even if it is far from the best movie.
Best bit (if such there is)?
In one of the studio sections, the perpetually inappropriate West asks the increasingly weary Collier how she would kill him if he turned:
“Right now? With my bare hands.”
What’s up with…?
- Sword-shovel? Seriously, the weapons are cray-cray.
Production values – It’s low budget, but it’s low budget done well, with some effectively gruesome zombie effects. 7
Dialogue and performances – There’s nothing particularly epic in the script, but it’s decently written and professionally acted. 6
Plot and execution – The conspiracy is a little bit weak, relying on a lot of people not looking at things too hard, but the whole thing is done pretty well. 8
Randomness – This film is wapron central. 12
Waste of potential – This is a classic bad film done very, very well. 5