Given production company The Asylum's history as a distributor (they mostly release indie flicks of little worth they've picked-up the rights to) it's hard to believe that this, their first in house movie, turned out to be as fun and entertaining as it is - and in the process looks like it has better production values as well.
Take one part Western, one part Civil War history, one part slasher movie, and one part zombie flick and you have this mindlessly enjoyable effort that has a group of college students in the debate club heading on a road trip to a competition only for them to be carjacked by a mean drug dealer who's looking for his partner who betrayed him (and much to our delight was mauled by zombies in the "off on the right foot" pre-credits scenes).
Soon they find themselves in the ghost town of Sunset Valley only to discover that it's crawling with zombies that seem to be led by the undead corpse of Civil War criminal William Anderson (or "Bloody Bill" - who apparently really existed), a quite angry zombie himself who's out for vengeance due to his untimely death and the murder of his sister.
Director Byron Werner (making his debut) is a cinematographer by trade and you can tell because he keeps the camera moving throughout the entire thing and manages to throw in a bunch of interesting (and somewhat cool) flourishes such as having the film contain quick flashes and blurriness during action sequences. Also the film manages to throw in a back story (and subsequent flashbacks) that actually isn't too bad, it has above average make-up effects (and some pleasing grue like a decent "face chew" moment), and the acting by the unknown cast is better than expected. In fact the entire thing is better than expected and it's a good way to kill 82 minutes.
Try and notice the horror references they've peppered in the movie (with the most obvious one being the finale which borrows heavily from Friday The 13th Part 2) and have a groan during the scene where our friendly neighbourhood drug pusher covers his face in cocaine before going on a zombie killing spree (using a Uzi so obviously fake it's amusing).
Visit The Asylum for more info and to order. (Chris Hartley, 12/13/04)
Directed By: Byron Werner.
Written By: John Yuan, Matthew Yuan.
Starring: Chelsea Jean, Jeremy Bouvet, Gregory Bastien, Matt Marraccini.
aka: Bloody Bill.
Picture Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen.
Picture Quality: The picture here is nice and clear with good clarity. It looks pretty damn good for a low-budget flick.
Extras: They've put a decent batch of extras on this one with a trailer (and trailers for Dark Queen, Human Nature, and Corpses Are Forever), a photo gallery entitled "Zombie Love", a decent "making of" featurette, and a highly listenable commentary track with Werner, the brothers Yuan, co-producer David Michael Latt, and executive producer Rick Walker.