Thursday, December 10, 2015

Phil's Horror Watch: DEAD RISING: WATCHTOWER (2015) from Sony Pictures-December 1, 2015

Starring: Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, Keegan Connor Tracy, Aleks Paunovic, Dennis Haysbert, Carrie Genzel, Rob Riggle, Julia Benson, Peter Benson, Harley Morenstein
Written by Tim Carter
Cinematography by Mahlon Todd Williams
Edited by Mike Jackson
Produced by Tim Carter & Tomas Harlan
Directed by Zach Lipovsky
Production Company: Legendary Digital Media, Contradiction Films, Dead Rising Productions
Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment

The majority of movies based on popular video games have been, shall we say, disposable train wrecks that almost ruin the game it's based on (remember MARIO BROTHERS and STREET FIGHTER). When the RESIDENT EVIL films came out, it seemed like the new trend in Hollywood was the game adaptations. Soon others followed like the HALO direct-to-video films and the atrocious HOUSE OF THE DEAD series plus those FINAL FANTASIES movies that people didn't like. Now there's a new game adaptation on the block making its debut and, to my surprise, is really awesome and very entertaining. So let's dive right into my review of DEAD RISING:WATCHTOWER.

The film's official synopsis: Set between the events of Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 3, The story follows online reporter Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe) and his camerawoman Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) as they cover the stories of the people inside of the walled-in quarantined area in Oregon, as the government (running an organization called FEZA—Federal Emergency Zombie Authority) attempts to contain a viral outbreak that turns people into ravenous zombies. An anti-viral drug called Zombrex, that keeps the virus at bay, is being administered to those infected. When it becomes clear that the drug is no longer effective and a zombie outbreak purges the town and infects its inhabitants, Chase, Jordan, grieving mother Maggie (Virginia Madsen), and survivor Crystal (Meghan Ory) battle their way out of the city before it gets firebombed. But Crystal has a dark secret, and the army has a hidden agenda.

Promotional Movie Poster (2015)
Unlike most films based on video games, this one is jammed packed with awesome action, cool characters, fun story, great directing, and very scary looking zombies. What I liked was that the film stated very faithful to the game, which is a rarity these days. Plus I liked that it fits into the game's continuity, which fans of the franchise will get a big kick out of. It's a long movie, which I found very satisfying because most films are really rushed and the filmmakers try to cram so much into their film. For some reason, filmmakers feel as if they need to tell it all in just 90 minutes. Where is that written in stone? Take the time to make a good movie and don't worry about the film's length. If the film's entertaining, the audience will go with you.

Director Zach Lipovsky does a great job of constructing some excellent set-ups, pans and clean narratives that keep the story moving forward. He builds tensions and scares with precise execution while giving the characters breathing room so we can get to know them better. And the action scenes with the zombies is spot-on; it looks like it was ripped from the video game. Every scene serves a purpose and it looks spectacular, especially the amazing bus scene where Chase is being chased by zombies in and around a school bus. That was an excellent scene!! That blew my mind away!! Great directing on the part of Mr. Lipovsky!!

The cast as a whole deserves nods from the horror community as well as from the game world. Jesse Metcalfe's Chase is the asshole you love to hate, but then cheer for at the end.
Meghan Ory pours on the mystery, the sexy, and the ass kicking as her character Chrystal is freaking awesome! And you can't help feel the sorrow of Virginia Madsen's character Maggie. No matter what role she plays, Madsen is one of the most underated actresses in Hollywood. Believe it or not I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Monsterpalooza convention back in 2013. She was such a sweet person that I found myself falling for her. Kind, considerate and very appreciative of her fans. She shows respect to her fans and that's why she is loved withing the horror community. One of the nicest women I have ever met! 

This was the first digital film developed by Legendary Digital Media, a division of Legendary Pictures. The movie premiered on Crackle, an online distributor of movies and television shows. Since then it's been released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It was announced recently that the sequel will premiere on Crackle in the spring of 2016.

DEAD RISING: WATCHTOWER is a worthy entry to the game's franchise as well as in horror fans' libraries. It's a bad-ass, zombie infested, blood stained, thrill-ride-of-a-flick that will definitely keep you entertained through the film's duration! So grab your self a bag a popcorn, some cold sodas and set back and watch this awesome movie! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended viewing!! 

DEAD RISING: WATCHTOWER is currently available on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Visit your local retailer and pick up your copy today. It can also be seen online on the Crackle website.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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