ZOMBIE TIDAL WAVE (TV)
(director/writer: Anthony C. Ferrante; screenwriters: Darby Parker/Josh LeBlanc/story & screenplay by Thunder Levin & Ian Ziering; cinematographer: Eric Gustavo Petersen; editor: Daniel Espina; music: Christopher Cano/Chris Ridenhour/Craig Anthony Perkins; cast: Ian Ziering (Hunter Shaw), Angie Dick (Taani Akoni), Chikashi Linzbichler (Sheriff Kameo Akoni), Cheree Cassidy (Kenzie Wright), Will Jay (Dag), Randy Charach (Marty Driscoll), Tatum Chiniquy (Samantha), AnneMarie Giaquinto (Nurse Sophia), Shelton Jolivette (Ray McCray), Eliza Matengu D’Souza (Jada McCray), Natasha Hardegen (Connie), Lincoln Bevers (Blaine), Kenneth Won (Officer Pok), Jaroslav Shvets (Ivan); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ian Ziering, Darby Parker, Kirk Shaw, Michael Becker; Syfy Channel; 2019)
“A low-budget cheesy zombie B film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A low-budget cheesy zombie B film, filmed in Thailand, that could appeal to lovers of comical/gory zombie films (I’m sure it will find its Sharknado type of audience) and turn off those demanding, perhaps if possible, a more serious zombie story. It’s directed by the mastermind of the Sharknado franchise (there were six between 2013 and 2018), Anthony C. Ferrante (“Forgotten Evil”/”Boo”), and stars the charismatic star of the Sharknado films, Ian Ziering, who co-wrote the story with Thunder Levin (the script is written by Ferrante, Darby Parker and Josh LeBlanc). It’s extremely fast-paced and is meant as merely an escapist fun film that hopes it can do for zombies what it did for sharks in the Sharknado films. There’s also a tip of the cap to director Lucio Fulci. He made a classical horror pic called Zombie (1979), and for that he here gets a teen rock band named after him called The Fulci’s and many references to his long list of zombie films. The zombie films of other directors also get referenced.
The plot has a tidal wave hitting the fictional small town of Emrys Bay and bringing to town a swarming group of swimming blue-colored mutated zombies (there will be two other tidal waves). It occurs because of an accidental chemical spill on a sunken boat and that causes an earthquake effect so zombies are popping up from the fissures at the bottom of the sea. The tsunami effect causes maritime mayhem, as these killer zombies make their way to the shore and go into attack mode (I didn’t say it made sense, just this is the way the filmmakers explain the plot).
The featured characters are: The film’s selfless, restless, free-spirited bachelor hero, about to take off for another dream spot, Hunter Shaw (Ian Ziering). He’s a former New York City fireman who split after 9/11 to travel around the South Pacific in his fishing boat; Other characters include: Dr. Kenzie Wright (Cheree Cassidy), a pretty widow who is sought after by Hunter — she might be tempted but resists any intimacy; Samantha (Tatum Chiniquy), Kenzie’s loving daughter, who is dating the brave lead singer of a teen band, Dag (Will Jay); Ray (Shelton Jolivette) is Hunter’s wisecracking self-sacrificing pal; Jada (Eliza D’Sousa) is Ray’s sweet niece who will be turned into a bad-assed zombie; the guilt-ridden Sheriff Akoni (Erich Chikashi Linzbichler) and his sensitive but toughie daughter Taani, who he is over-protective of; and the looking out only for number one obnoxious tourist rich guy Blaine (Lincoln Bevers), who will dastardly save himself by tossing his future bride Connie (Natasha Hardegen) to the zombies.
When the zombies appear, Hunter is fishing in his boat with Ray and Sada, and an enraged zombie climbs aboard to bite into the neck of Sada and almost take off her head. When she’s taken to the town hospital, Hunter’s favorite doctor, Kenzie, is first there to treat her and after patching her up ludicrously reassures her that she’ll be fine. Later the bite turns her into a zombie who attacks uncle Ray and kills a number of personnel at the hospital, before eventually meeting her end in the electrified water.
The best zombie kill shots are the following: Hunter is on the beach gutting 5 zombies with a boat propeller, Hunter uses a rocket launcher to take out a group of zombies also on the beach and the now zombie Blaine is impaled by Hunter with an electric machete, causing his head to explode.
The action mainly centers around a number of mini-battles with the can’t be killed zombies at the beach, in town, at the hospital and on the secure isolated compound of the loner researcher of Big Pharma, Marty Driscoll (Randy Charach). He tells us the only way to kill the zombies is with tasers and explains to us Big Pharma’s evil part in bringing zombies to this town it corrupted with hush payments to keep things quiet about what it did.
The low-budget film relies too much on bad CGI’s to film the phony looking tidal waves. It also disappoints with lines like this: “I’ll tell you what I think they are. They’re alive, but dead.” But if you expect nothing much but having a good time watching such fluff, that’s what you’ll get and shouldn’t be disappointed by this artless but entertaining film.
REVIEWED ON 9/3/2020 GRADE: C+