The Dead Undead (2010)

How do you kill something that is already dead?

Writer: Edward Conna
Directors: Matthew R Anderson, Edward Conna

It’s difficult to find a new angle on the zombie genre. The problem with The Dead Undead is that it finds too many angles, then tries without success to force them together.

The film starts as a standard teen slasher with five unpleasant young people arriving at a deserted motel. Within a few minutes the women have changed into bikinis and flashed the compulsory skin in the nearby lake. Once they return to the motel they take a quick shower then encounter some rather unpleasant creatures – a bit like zombies but stronger and smarter.

All this combined with some clunky dialogue (“Do you think we should leave the guns in the car or bring them in?”) had me ready for a poor but watchable zombie/teen slasher mashup. Then everything changed as a squad of heavily armed commandos roared in and started blasting away…

It turns out that the “zombies” are actually zombie vampires, “Zee Vees”. And suddenly the movie shifts gear into a firefight-fest. None of which seems to faze the original group of kids very much, who seem to accept the idea of zombies without a problem and are only slightly more surprised by zombie vamps.

As if all that wasn’t enough genre bending there are also flashbacks with a mysterious stranger, Vikings, the old West and Vietnam!

So what is The Dead Undead? Is it a teen exploitation or a study in comparative mythology? Is it social commentary or a macho action flick? Above all, is it a spoof or is it intended to be taken seriously?

Neither Conna nor Anderson seem to know the answer to any of these questions. It’s not even clear until the end whose film it actually is in terms of characters.

Nothing in The Dead Undead gels, either in the writing or the direction. It’s as if the synopsis for an entire series of a TV show has been crammed into a single movie script. At the end it even sets up the story for season two after a deus (?) ex machina cop-out.

Had the movie chosen a single story or even just a single mood then it might have worked. As it is the result of trying to combine too many genres and ideas is a confused, incoherent mess.