My notes on The Rezort
‘Here at the Rezort, we firmly believe that every apocalypse should have its after-party.’
One of those films that someone had to make, The Rezort is Westworld with zombies. Odd that two British zombie apocalypse films should be shot on islands off the coast of Spain, though this is a more serious effort than Ibiza Undead. Director Steve Barker, who kicked off the persistent Outpost franchise, and writer Paul Gerstenberger, last seen at FrightFest disowning Bad Meat after seeing it for the first time at the Halloween all-nighter, join a number of other creatives in envisioning a world a few years on from a major zombie outbreak (cf: In the Flesh, Maggie) where life has settled down again but folks are still traumatised and new human evils have arisen in the wake of a bog-standard flesh-eating epidemic. Here, a standard evilcorp bossed by a power-dressing uberbitch maintains an island reserve a strait away from a refugee camp – charging high fees for holidaymakers to hunt (frankly, to shoot) the last remaining walking dead type zombies. Behind it all, there’s a nasty conspiracy that emerges as everything collapses – as the just-trying-to-survive protagonists discover cattle pens and ovens and realise that there’s a simple, wicked way of keeping the place restocked.
Given the premise, it’s a problem to warm up much to the embattled, whittled-down party of hunters who are on the run in the open when a computer virus disables all the Jurassic Park-style security features and the zombies start eating the guests – the final girl is Melane (Jessica De Gouw), here with her war veteran boyfriend (Martin McCann) to exorcise her lingering fear of zombies, while hard-bitten man of few words Archer (Dougray Scott, not exactly bringing his A game) says he’s on safari because it’s the only thing he’s ever been good at. The ranks are filled out with a jilted bride (Elen Rhys) with a hidden agenda and a couple of first-person shooter numpties who won an online contest – just for once, it might be interesting if some loser’s game skills did transfer to the real world, but these dolts just spray away with machine guns like hosepipes until someone cooler pops up to deliver the mandatory Romeroesque head shot. The sabotage is the fault of Living Too, a zombies’ rights group, which suggests a cartoonish streak of the script that goes against the relatively sober staging and performance. Barker is good at action, and there’s a pleasant reminder of the island zombies of Lucio Fulci as the dead extras shamble or run – in the finale, slow zombie fans will be apoplectic as a horde practically run a marathon trying to keep up with the fleeing survivors – and pick off the holidaymakers.