STUDIO: Lionsgate
MSRP: $26.98
RUNNING TIME: 72 minutes

  • Commentary with William Wedig and Erin Wilk
  • Trailers

The Pitch

I think I’ll let the plot keywords from IMDB do the talking here: "female frontal nudity", "nudity", "topless", "breasts", "nude wearing glasses", "female nudity". Oh, and zombies.

The Humans

Erin Wilk, Stephen Seidel, Chris Ferry.

The Nutshell

Laura Childs (Wilk) is having a bad day. After being harassed by her ex-boyfriend, she spies her current boyfriend (Seidel) getting a little touchy feely with her roommate. She storms out of the bar and walks home. On her way, she is attacked by what would appear to be a zombie. Her boyfriend arrives just in time to save the hour, but will they save the day?

IMDB forgot "buttocks".

The Lowdown

Rise of the Dead opens with a man going outside to kill what he thinks is a raccoon. He takes a shotgun with him. As he approaches the trashcan, he is scared shitless. And I, for one, can’t blame him. Raccoons are mean fuckers. The guy with the shotgun reaches the garbage can and nothing’s there. The packaging lead me to believe there were zombies afoot, so here I am thinking that there was no raccoon, but rather a zombie and that it had wandered off and is someplace nearby. There’s just one problem. Rise of the Dead doesn’t have any zombies in it, despite what Lionsgate wants us to believe. There’s something better: a genuine pissed-off vagina demon.

You see Laura had a baby. She put it up for adoption. Somewhere between being abandoned and being adopted, a curse was placed on Laura’s son. When his new daddy leaves a handgun sitting on the coffee table, the kid decides to exercise the rights granted to him by the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. Being a baby, he ends up putting the gun in his mouth. After I die, I hope to be reunited with my friends’ beloved pets (I’m too lazy to properly care for myself, let alone a small creature) and that heaven fills me with the same kind of bliss that watching a baby play with a gun does.

Good night, sweet prince.

As you may surmise, the baby ends up taking some lead to the face. No longer tied to its adorable flesh, the vagina demon is free to possess those closest to the person he wants revenge on, Mommy Laura. Once Laura realizes the truth to what’s happening, she does the only thing she can. She takes a mulligan.

The enjoyment I receive from Rise of the Dead is directly tied to the baby playing with the gun, though there are a few other bright spots. One is that William Wedig is a competent director. He understands how suspense works. When Laura’s roommate walks up to her car and sees the door ajar, someone’s obviously going to be hiding in the backseat. So what does Wedig do? He doesn’t show us the backseat. He stays with Laura in the front seat as she settles in, milking the tension for a few moments before breaking it. It’s sad when you have to applaud someone for knowing how to do their job, but after seeing more than a few films where the director has no understanding of how horror works, Wedig is a breath of fresh air.

"Well prepubescent male genitalia has been my lifelong passion, so I figured
the clergy would be the perfect career to get into."

The acting is what you’d expect from a low budget horror film. Special mention goes to Stephen Seidel for managing to make his character feel like a real person. In the very last scene, Jack finds himself in a pretty bizarre situation and Seidel plays it perfectly. Weariness and uneasy obviously weighs heavily on Jack. Seidel’s got a part in Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, so it’ll be interesting to see how he stands up against the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, and Catherine Keener.

If the baby were the only good thing about Rise of the Dead, I’d still enjoy it. The competent direction, actor with some chops, and short running time is the white fudge covering the Oreo. I feel spoiled.

The Package

The commentary features director William Wedig and lead actress Erin Wilk. While they find quite a bit to gab about, I wasn’t particularly engrossed with what they had to say. Lionsgate’s stashed trailers for Experiment in Torture, The Abandoned, Captivity, Holla, and Night of the Living Dead 3D on the disc as well.

7 out of 10