State of Emergency

This entry is part 29 of 30 in the series Raindance 2011

Released: 2010
Director: Turner Clay

Starring: Jay Hayden, Scott Lilley


An enjoyable zombie horror – but I’m still waiting to be scared

I’m not a big fan of horror films.  I’m not averse to them, they just don’t scare me that much and I tend to get frustrated by the idiocy of the characters.  That may be one of the reasons I enjoyed Scream so much – it had decent scares and knew that the victims were morons who always did exactly the wrong thing if they wanted to survive.  Because of my lack of interest in the genre I haven’t seen many zombie movies.  In fact now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the only one I’ve ever watched is Shaun of The Dead.  This film caught my eye in the Raindance programme precisely because it is the kind of film I wouldn’t normally choose to see.

I doubt that Turner Clay’s State of Emergency will do that but it’s a decent enough horror that is bound to find friends among fans of the genre.  The plot isn’t terribly original – or original in any way at all.  An explosion at a chemical plant on the outskirts of a small town releases dangerous toxins into the atmosphere, turning the town’s residents into flesh-eating zombies.  Those people unaffected by the chemicals are helpless against the threat.  A small group of survivors bands together and attempts to hide from the creatures until help arrives.

The acting isn’t great – but it isn’t that bad either.  Jay Hayden as everyman Jim is handsome, charismatic and sympathetic.  He won’t win any Oscars for this role but his character was likeable enough, I certainly found myself rooting for him and hoping that he survived the onslaught.  Co-star Scott Lilly as Scott was also decent and the pair worked well together.  The female leads weren’t quite as good as the men but neither were they annoying, screaming damsels in distress.  On the whole I was on the side of them not being eaten by zombies – I can’t say the same for every horror film I’ve ever seen.

The zombies themselves were relatively frightening, blood-covered, limping and with deep red eyes which immediately created menace.  The sound effects were great and the growls and roars were suitably scary when employed.  The appearance of a creature who could speak in rudimentary sentences was quite nice – it made them even more threatening, a bit like when Daleks developed the power to get upstairs.

The script was nice and tight.  The background was explained well but not too much time was taken up on exposition.  The dialogue was a bit cheesy at times but not to the point of being laughable or annoying.  The makers also knew when to shut the characters up and let the tension build of its own accord.  There were some nicely gruesome moments with the explosion of zombie heads, but not too many.

I really enjoyed State of Emergency.  I doubt it has brought anything new to the zombie genre but it was fun and enjoyable.  Did it scare me? No, not really but it has persuaded me to have a look for more movies about the undead.  Maybe one of those will frighten me.  Maybe……

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