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Friday, July 7, 2017

GRANNY OF THE DEAD -- Movie Review by Porfle

With all the zombie flicks crawling out of the woodwork and trying to take a bite out of us ever since George Romero assailed us with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD way back in 1968, you'd think the genre would be nothing more than a withered, decaying corpse by now. 

But then, every once in a while a movie like GRANNY OF THE DEAD (2017) shambles along to breathe new life into it.

There's not a whole lot of exposition.  We meet a group of fun-loving youths having a reunion in an old church in the hinterlands of Wales, but barely get to know them before they're chased away by an old lady who then seems to get taken over by an unseen force and transformed into a slavering, black-eyed zombie.

Obviously some diabolical curse has descended upon this small Welsh town, because immediately all of its older people begin to get infected as well and morph into some of the most horrific, unstoppable zombies you've ever seen. 

Ed (Marcus Carroll), whom we met earlier at the church, wakes up to find his nan coming at him like a deranged spider monkey and hungering for his flesh.  Not only is she extremely frightful-looking, but she seems to have been mainlining Geritol as well.

We're barely ten minutes into GRANNY OF THE DEAD and already the full-scale zombie attack is on.  Barricaded in his room against his living-dead nan, he observes all manner of ghastliness through his window while trying to contact his friends via cell phone.

They, it turns out, all have similar problems with the various flesh-hungry oldsters who are either shambling, lurching around with walkers, or sprinting after them with such vigor that their prey must scramble to stay out of reach.  Some even manage to operate heavy machinery.

The gore is plentiful and the zombie action comes fast and furious.  Things really get going when Ed decides he must escape from his room and confront the zombies head on.  Meanwhile, his friends all have their hands full with touch-and-go situations of their own.

Writer-director Tudley James (SHARKNADO) handles it with a sort of anything-goes style that's consistently interesting, bombarding us with hand-held shots, Dutch angles, jittery camerawork and editing, and whatever else it takes to keep our nerves stretched taut.

These are some ugly zombies, too, and best of all, they're actually scary.  In fact, much of the film consists of nerve-jangling scenes of blood-chilling suspense that should keep you on the edge of your seat despite an undercurrent of mordant satire. 

The story is rife with a very dry, deadpan humor that's played absolutely straight (performances are excellent) and doesn't detract at all from the horror effect.  It's dark, dense, with the intertwined currents of morbid humor (I especially loved the JURASSIC PARK reference) and ghastly horror making it all the more effective.

Brimming with all-out gory goodness, GRANNY OF THE DEAD is the real deal for zombie fanatics, a living dead flick that's both exciting and full of genuine shivery scares and apocalyptic atmosphere.  I had a giddy good time watching it.

Twitter: @Grannyofthedead

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