Reviewed By Dead Kev
If there was ever a premise that just screams 'zombies',
it's that of Dia de los Muertos. That translates into Day
of the Dead for you non-linguists out there. It's not a
subtitle really, but more the second half in the unnecessarily
long-titled movie All Souls
Day: Dia del los Muertos.
I think they should have just shortened it to Day
of the Dead,
it would have been so much catchier...
It's 1892 in the remote Mexican village Santa Bonita. So
remote, in fact, that English is commonly spoken there.
An Aztec temple has been unearthed and town bad guy Vargas
Diaz, played by why-am-I-always-a-bad-guy Danny Trejo,
executes his sinister plan to take all the treasures for
himself. Fast forward to October 1952. While vacationing,
the White family stumbles upon the village and decides
to spend the night in a no-named hotel there. The father
(Jeffrey Combs) takes charge and checks the family in himself,
despite the fact that there seems to be nobody running
the place...despite the last person to sign the register
being 5 years ago...and despite momma White (Ellie Cornell)
overseeing a woman cleaning up what looks to be blood on
the floor. Stop right there. Hold up. I'm sorry, I draw
the line on pools of blood on the floor. Even stains
of blood are a big no-no. Just walk out, people! I'm sure
there's a La Quinta Inn somewhere down the road.
Their complete disregard for common sense ends badly for
the family, but not before young polio-stricken son Ricky
(Noah Luke) gets an earful of gibberish from an old hag-lady,
and daughter Lily White (yes, that's really her name) shows
off her lilly white...assets. Of course that part wasn't
shown on the Sci-Fi channel, where All
Souls Day made its
premiere. You'll have to buy the DVD to get a look at those
The whole bit with the White family is mostly pointless,
and only serves to create a shred of back story to David
Keith's sheriff Blanco character who in now, in present
day, serves as the lawman in Santa Bonita. Blanco you say?
Isn't that Spanish for...
Yes, now it's 53 years later. College couple Alicia (smokin'
Marisa Ramirez) and her fast-talking spaz of a boyfriend
Joss (Travis Wester), who's got to be on speed, are traveling
to Alicia's parents' house. They're delayed after swerving
through a crowd of people, overturning a coffin with a
naked, tongueless girl inside, and running into a feeble-looking
fence, which is enough to put Joss' piece of junk car out
of commission right near the very no-named hotel we've
seen previously. In an obvious attempt to gather some
zombie fodder, two of the couple's friends, Erica and Tyler,
drive down from the OC to meet them.
It's an overly inflated setup for an essentially simple
concept with characters who look hot, but never really
develop into anything. Not only do they not develop into
much, their actions often are neither plausible nor
genuine. The Joss character rarely ceases to annoy. Erica
out of nowhere does some kind of crazy backflip onto the
roof. Tyler, with a chance to escape the hotel, inexplicably
chooses not the undead-free driver's side of the getaway
car, but the zombie laden passenger side. And upon being
attacked he yells out like a girl, "Put me down!" Oh...the
horror...make it stop. It's a shame, because while the
characters aren't the greatest, they're all acted out rather
decently. Though, David Keith and the re-animator Jeffrey
Combs are completely underutilized talent.
The script does have a few nuggets that are unique.
Zombie bites don't necessarily cause you to turn. The Vargas
Diaz showdown at the end has a different spin than most
flicks of this ilk. The flashbacks are interesting. In
totality, though, it certainly doesn't redeem writer Mark
A. Altman for his being attached to that heap, House
of the Dead. And I really enjoyed director Jeremy Kasten's
work on The Attic Expeditions, but here it's fairly
All Souls Day is the first from CFQ Films, the production
arm of the long-running Cinefantastique Magazine. That
being the case, it could have turned out a lot worse
for them. Getting Almost Human to do the makeup FX was
a great move. The zombies have a good look. Production
values seemed pretty high and the village did its job.
But the jagged storyline, forgetful characters, and sub
par dialogue were ultimately the icebergs that sunk this
ship. It just didn't resonate as serious horror. Perhaps
if they played it a little more over-the-top, they could
have taken a different, less serious direction and really
|Couldn't hurt to rent it, it may appeal to some.
|1. Never trust a mayor who's made a pact with the
2. On rare occasion, letting the zombies in can be
a good thing.
|-"What? What's that? Cat got your tongue? Nope, I got it."
-"They better not damage my car, I don't even have plates yet."
Kasten Interview - Creature Corner
|Jeremy Kasten (The Attic Expeditions)
|Mark A. Altman (House of the Dead)
Bay Entertainment, IDT Entertainment
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
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