Zombie Hunter (2013)
Director: K. King
Writers: K. King and Kurt Knight
Starring: Martin Copping, Danny Trejo, and Clare Niederpruem

The Plot: Zombie Hunter takes place in the not-too-distant future. After a new drug, which goes by the name Natas (“Satan” spelled backwards, yagetit!?), takes over the streets, it helps spread around a zombie virus that spells catastrophe for the world. A young man by the name of Hunter (Martin Copping) has his family ripped away from him in this process, which leads to him searching for never-ending revenge on the undead. While driving his radical car across the desert wasteland of America, Hunter has his car ran off the road and damaged severely. This leads to him meeting up with a group of survivors who are currently being looked after by Father Jesus (Danny Trejo), a priest who has a rough-and-tumble background. As this group finds their strength in numbers, they are soon at war against the undead who are beginning to transform into new and terrifying monstrosities.

The Review
This review should, quite honestly, write itself. This is a movie called Zombie Hunter. The main star, according to all PR related to the movie, seems to be Danny Trejo. The cover art features Trejo, dressed as a priest holding an axe. Also, within the first two minutes of the movie, we see a smug news anchor projectile vomiting ten gallons of goo. One has to ask the question, “does this film honestly need an indepth review?” Either you’re going to track this flick down or you’re going to avoid it like the plague. There will be many reactions to the movie itself, but the advertising for this film should produce one of two reactions: either an immediate attraction or an unsettling of the stomach for those who want to avoid this sort of cheese. Of those who will track it down, they will probably do so because of Danny Trejo. Who can blame them? He’s a lovable actor that everyone wants to see do bigger and better things. However, some of those audience members will be let down when they discover that Trejo is only a secondary character within the movie. Despite this, and while I will make no claims that Zombie Hunter is a good movie, I will say that I could picture this movie developing a minor fanbase. It’s the sort of film that seems as if it was made with the intention of developing the world that it takes place within in order to produce further sequels. For this, the movie does find some legs underneath it, but for the most part, this is not a great piece of genre cinema.

The first thing that grabbed me about Zombie Hunter was its use of narration. The gritty voice of our main protagonist gives the movie a noir-ish vibe. This works well for all of about ten minutes before it delves into areas where it no longer seems to be supported. The idea of Hunter walking the wastelands that used to America, killing off zombies and fighting against random bands of nomads, this is a movie that would have supported the gruff and cynical narration that we get throughout the course of the movie. The narration stops working all that well when you take this character and plant him in the midst of civilization. When we hear his toughguy dialogue being spewed at a dinner table with several other people, it no longer serves a purpose. This character is a classic loner, and part of the mystique that follows such characters is that they are men of few words. If this movie covered Hunter on his own, and dealt mainly with scenes of him traveling the world by himself, the narration would work out far better, but as it is, it just makes him seem rather whiny. With lines like “I don’t have a name, not anymore…” the character starts to seem cheesy instead of being the badass that the movie hopes we will believe.

As is expected of any moderately budgeted independent horror movie, there are some sequences that feature less-than-great CGI. Zombie Hunter at least does something of interest with its CG, as it creates a league of monsters who are even more interesting than the zombie creatures. Looking like a cross between the Tyrants from the Resident Evil franchise, as well as the Super Mutants from the Fallout series of video games, these monsters definitely give the movie some sort of flair. If nothing else, the filmmakers are certainly creative in the way they design their creature effects. The movie, overall, has a very nice look and polish to it. The director tries to infuse a very modern style that is incorporated into the film in small doses. There is an affection for classic technology during the movie, with cassette tapes being plentiful throughout, as well as an affinity for the garish neon colors that defined the 1980s. Although the movie is not directly set in the past, it looks to blend an 80s aesthetic with our modern vision of the post-apocalyptic genre. Just take a picture of a desert wasteland, incorporate some modern monstrosities, throw in a ton of Maxxel cassette tapes, lots of neon pink, and then finish it off with a soundtrack that features a great deal of dubstep, and you have Zombie Hunter.

Being completely honest, I did not have the highest expectations when walking into Zombie Hunter. I’ve seen enough low budget zombie films to know that this probably would not end well. Danny Trejo is a personality that I adore, but he isn’t an actor that I always hope to see carrying a movie on his shoulders. To find out that this was also just one of many films that he probably only worked on for a few days, that was enough to put the deathnail in my pre-conceived opinion of this movie. However, there’s enough happening in terms of style to make Zombie Hunter seem worth watching. The attitude of the movie is cornball, but with everything being played so over-the-top, things seem to balance out. As I explain this though, I must stress, this is not a “good” movie. It is riddled with cliche content and it sticks to genre stereotypes at every turn. The filmmakers try to develop a story that is supposed to invest the audience, but ultimately the audience will feel very little for the mainly-annoying secondary characters. This makes the movie similar to the Feast franchise, but without the wit or unique atmosphere of adrenaline and ultraviolence.

The Conclusion
Zombie Hunter stands out as being better than the advertising makes it out to be, but that doesn’t make it a great watch. While this seems to be more a labor-of-love than the average “shot over the weekend” independent horror movie, it still stands out as being labored in its devotion to genre archetypes. It gets a two out of five.