A DIY zombie flick made for chump change in the Australian outback, Undead is a no-budget oddity that boasts more enthusiasm than charm. After a shower of meteors brings the dead back to life, dungaree-wearing fisherman Marion (Mungo McKay) teams up with an assorted bunch of survivors to send the pasty-faced fugitives from the undertaker back to their beds. There's gore galore and plenty of in-jokes, but only undiscerning ghoul fools will give a Castlemaine XXXX about it.
According to cult cinema lore, debut filmmakers (and twin brothers) Michael and Peter Spierig were inspired to cobble Undead together by fellow Antipodean Peter Jackson, whose infamous gross-out zombie classic Bad Taste remains a genre landmark. Shooting in grainy 16mm (later blown up to 35mm) and using their home computer for most of the post-production effects, the Spierig brothers deliver an ugly looking movie that combines some inventive genre additions (including zombie fish!) with lots of brain bursting gore.
"CHEAPO BLEND OF SPLAT-STICK HUMOUR AND GORY GUFFAWS"
Grizzly fisherman Marion is easily the best thing about Undead's cheapo blend of splat-stick humour and gory guffaws. A man-mountain armed with a triple-barrelled shotgun and an array of Hong Kong movie moves, McKay keeps the film's relentless torrent of gags coming faster than the slower-than-molasses zombies can run. But not even his laconic presence can compensate for the film's shabby flaws: annoying characters (especially Dick Hunter's insufferably hysterical copper), ropey special effects and plot holes so big you could bury the entire zombie cast of Romero's Trilogy of The Dead in them.
The horror grapevine has been humming about Undead ever since it premiered at Portugal's Fantasporto Film Festival in February 2003. Mistakenly hailed as a zombie flick made by fans for fans, the sad reality is that it's an over-hyped hodgepodge of Evil Dead, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Bad Taste. While credit is due to the brothers for throwing a movie together from such limited resources, the moral of this homemade outing is clear: DDIY - Don't Do It Yourself.