Toronto After Dark 2016: “THE REZORT” (Film Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Amy Seidman
This writer, like many horror fans, have seen more zombie flicks than you can shake a stick at, and the notion of adding another one into the mix does little for me, personally. Many zombie films have become formulaic and paint-by-numbers, helmed by comfort filmmakers who appear to be satiated by playing it safe. Therefore, when entering the theater for THE REZORT, this writer didn’t have any strong feelings. Hell, this writer didn’t walk in to THE REZORT with any feeling at all since so many zombie films these days seem to have lost the heart of the genre.
But with that said, THE REZORT was an incredibly pleasant surprise, having renewed my faith in the zombie genre alongside fellow Toronto After Dark film TRAIN TO BUSAN. While THE REZORT may not sport the originality of BUSAN, the film still executes its action very well, with great pacing and a few pleasant, unique surprises.
THE REZORT starts with Mel, who has survived a viral outbreak that led to a massive pandemic and suffers from PTSD thanks to her battles with the dead. Having lost her father in the zombie apocalypse, Mel and her boyfriend Lewis attempt to move on and heal by taking a trip to “The Rezort,” an expensive safari in which one can find catharsis in hunting down the undead. Playing like a zombified combination of Michael Crichton’s JURASSIC PARK and WESTWORLD, Mel finds herself in a motley crew of characters when the security operations go haywire and the tables are turned on these zombie hunters.
In terms of the characters, the safari squad offers up some standard archetypes: the horny teenage boys, the brooding expert marksman, the soulless corporate type, etc. However, THE REZORT features one character who is not who she appears to be, and when her identity is revealed, the film offers up a personality type not often explored in the zombie genre. The action and gore is also fairly standard, with the film going through the motions with in-fighting among survivors, heartbreak when a someone gets infected, karma and comeuppance, and the dissolution of the group as they’re attacked one by one. But for a film that’s not a big-budget production, THE REZORT works wonders to maximize the resources it does have, including the incredible location, nice cinematography, and an acceptable amount of bloodletting that doesn’t come across as cheap.
What this writer really liked about THE REZORT is the film’s take on the genre, managing to intelligently incorporate the current and very real issues of the migrant crisis in the UK. Zombie flicks, at their core, offer survivalist horror, and while George Romero and other zombie-oriented filmmakers have included tongue-in-cheek political undertones in their output, THE REZORT takes on their political message with no humor and a sense of reality. However, THE REZORT thankfully does not cram its political agenda down the viewers throats, but rather poses the question: “If this is how we treat the dead, who is to say the living aren’t next?”
Overall, THE REZORT is a very thoughtful, provocative look at morality, values, class, and caste. With an abrupt, jarring ending that properly bookends the nature of the subgenre, this writer was really happy to discover this film. Hopefully, the next person to roll their eyes at the words “new zombie flick” will be as well.