Blu-ray Review: Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here (2014, Dir, Turner Clay)

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Seeing as zombies aren’t my favorite movie monsters I was surprised that the last zombie flick I added to my collection was John Gulager’s Zombie Night (2013), and it’s not because I don’t like Gulager. He did a masterful job with Feast (2005) and a not bad job with Feast II (2008), it’s just the distributor who footed the bill for Zombie Night, The Asylum, I’m not a fan of. But they are showing some promise these days with their Syfy channel zombie series, Z Nation, which so far I’m a fan of.

Disaster L.A.: The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here (that’s the longest subtitle I’ve seen on a movie in some time) kind of feels like an Asylum movie and kind of a companion piece to Zombie Night, just without the name actors. That’s what I was thinking as I started watching and I have to admit for a good chunk I liked it, but then it just started to be more of the same. It hits a stride and stays that way, which is not what you want with a movie that gives you the impression you’re about to watch the last word in zombie apocalypse flicks.

If you’re going to subtitle your walking dead flick, The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here, you better be able to live up to it. At a certain point the zombie attacks and encounters need to get worse and more frequent, which they do in Gulager’s movie, here they don’t. Every time there’s an encounter it’s always with 1-4 zombies. That’s it. They never run into any more than that.

The plot revolves around a group of college-aged kids who are having a party. During this party news breaks of meteors heading towards earth, but as usual no one takes it as the end of the world. An interesting light show, sure, as some of them step out on the front porch to see their glowing dots in the sky, but at this stage of the game no one believes they are going be anything other than that.

The main characters are John (Justin Ray), his brother, Turner (Jerod Meagher), and John’s ex-girlfriend, Tori (Stefanie Estes) along with other sundry friends and girlfriends of those friends. The next morning the meteors are smashing into Los Angeles with extinction level impact, creating a strange fog that when inhaled kills you and then brings you back as a fast moving undead cannibal.

You ever notice how people in zombie movies never call them zombies? They don’t call them zombies in this one either.

The initial plan is to get the fuck out of the city, which they attempt, along the way more news breaks that the military is going to gas the entire city to put down these walking deaders and that everyone has until 5 in the morning to make it to the coast.

Obviously the assumption is none of these characters are going to get out of this alive, but you know the fun is watching to see how far they get before they buy the farm, so color me mildly surprised that there was at least somewhat of a happy ending.

Believe it or not back on September 16th Warner Brothers released this on separate DVD and blu-ray editions. I can see The Asylum, Image Entertainment, or even Lionsgate releasing it, but WB? The production level of the movie seems to be a bit low for WB’s standards.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.40:1 high definition widescreen—English 5.1 DTS-HD MA—English SDH, French, Spanish subtitles.

I didn’t have a problem with the transfer, looked fine to me. CGI of all the landscape damage in the background, helicopter and jet insertions all looked very well integrated into the movie, too. Acting was good; the character of Turner in the beginning was far too spazzy for my liking, thank God he toned it way down when the shit hit the fan, otherwise I would have hoped for his death.

It says NOT RATED on the back, but from what I saw this could have been rated PG-13. It’s not an especially gory movie. The entire FX budget seems to have gone to the zombie make-up and there was none left over for the bite wounds and tears they create. But I could have overlooked all that had the zombie encounters not been so laid back from the mid-point of the film on.

Last but not least there are no extra features on either the DVD or the blu-ray, not even a trailer.

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