ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (2015)
Starring Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Mischa Barton, Felissa Rose, Brian Anthony Wilson, Brian Gallagher, Michael Kean, Joe Raffa, Ashley Sumner, Angel Anthony Valerio, Kyle Patrick Brennanm Davy Raphaely, Alexander Mandell, Dan McGlaughlin and Gabrielle Stone.
Screenplay by B. Harrison Smith.
Directed by B. Harrison Smith.
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment. 104 minutes. Not Rated.
Perhaps the scariest thing in the oddly-titled horror film Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard is that the stars of two of the most beloved films in movie history and one of the hippest TV series of the last decade have been reduced to doing this.
Billy Zane played the main villain (if you don’t count the iceberg) in the second most popular film ever, as Rose’s overbearing fiancé in James Cameron’s Titanic. For the record, he was also in Back to the Future.
Dee Wallace played the mother of the precocious children who found a space traveler in Steven Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial. She also had significant roles in Blake Edwards’ 10 and Stephen King’s Cujo.
Mischa Barton was the breakout star of the hit series The OC, as well as a memorable bit part in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense.
Now, they are the top names on the box for this straight-to-video horror flick.
Granted, all three have had careers long on the downslide and it’s not even necessarily rock-bottom for them – Zane’s appearance in the anti-American propaganda film Valley of the Wolves: Iraq would probably still have to take that honor. Still, you have to wonder if any of them are wondering where their careers went so wrong.
Ironically, though they are top-billed in the film, they do not have the biggest roles. In fact, they are mostly supporting characters. Zane had the biggest role of the three, but even he spent more time off camera than on. The actual lead actors here are, arguably, Michael Kean as young zombie killer Ian, Gabrielle Stone as his cute girlfriend turned nurse Nikki, and Brian Anthony Williams as Doc, the former general practitioner who runs the post-Apocalyptic wasteland of their hometown of Elwood.
Now I am not going to lie. I do not like zombie movies. I find them horrifically boring. However, going into watching Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard, I held out a little hope that perhaps this one may be trying to shake things up a bit.
First of all a press release for the movie quoted writer/director B. Harrison Smith saying he does not like zombie movies either and he never imagined he would make one. In fact, at one point he apparently said that “zombie films are the NASCAR of Horror.” That’s a slightly patronizing way of putting it, perhaps, but it’s still kinda accurate.
Then, during the opening credits, the film led off with an unseen narrator (it turns out to be Williams in the character of Doc) also stating that he never liked zombie films and running down a list of my personal pet peeves about the genre. Zombies are too slow. They are stupid. They are easy to trick. They are easy to kill. The only thing they have going for them is they rove in packs.
Hmm, I thought. Maybe they really are trying to do something different here.
Turns out they weren’t. Such a shame.
Oh, every once in a while they try to throw something subversive in there – a mockery of hardcore religious fundamentalism, a hint of an ecological statement, a warning against civilians declaring martial law. But eventually the film turns out to be a whole bunch of macho meatheads trying to one-up each other and using submachine guns to play target practice on the undead. That is, until there are too many of them to kill.
The only character that really has any complicated dimensions at all is Doc, who turns out not to be the heartless villain he originally appears, just an over-his-head bureaucrat trying imperfectly (and frankly quite wrongly) to keep his community together, safe and not in a state of panic. He’s still a bad guy, but at the very least he has his reasons, which is more than you can say about most of the people here.
By the time that Zombie Killers downshifts into the final scene which indicates that they are planning on at the very least a sequel, if not an entire series of these films, I had long since lost interest.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 1, 2015.