• Film reviews

    #591 – Covid-21: Lethal Virus (2021)

    Covid-21: Lethal Virus (2021)

    Film review #591

    Director: Daniel Hernández Torrado

    SYNOPSIS: After a new strain of Covid turns most people into zombies, a biochemist is travelling to a laboratory to work on a cure when her convoy is attacked by zombies. She runs into a lone survivor, who begrudgingly accompanies her, and the two have to survive the harsh countryside overrun with zombies…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Covid-21: Lethal Virus is a 2021 zombie film. It is also (perhaps unsurprisingly) part of a host of covid-zombie movies that appeared around this time. The film revolves around a typical zombie plot (with a covid twist): the melting of polar ice has released an ancient super strain of covid that turns people into zombies. Following on from that statement which should never be uttered, we have the typical post-apocalypse world where the survivors have to avoid becoming undead themselves. Into this unoriginal setup we have a biochemist named Allyson, who is being escorted to a secret lab where she will be able to develop a cure. Unfortunately, her convoy is attacked by zombies, and because no one in this film has ever seen a zombie film before, the convoy is overrun and Allyson has to make it to the lab on her own. Well, until she runs into Scott, an angry loner who sort of accompanies her to argue all the way. The story consists mostly of this bickering and occasionally hacking away at some zombies, without any real direction or development. There’s nothing original or interesting about this post-apocalyptic world, and it’s all been done before in better films. The use of “covid” as part of the premise is irrelevant, as this “super strain” is only mentioned off-hand in dialogue once, and was probably only put in to promote the film.

    The characters are all dull and unlikable: apart from Allyson and Scott and their distinct lack of any chemistry, there’s also two random soldier guys who are walking through the woods too, whose little side-story has no real purpose other than to shove some more action scenes in, I suppose. But again, the lack of any originality makes it uninteresting. All of this is supplemented by some poor acting and flat deliveries, and there are points where the actors clearly mess up their lines. The little twist at the end doesn’t really add much when the characters always feel disposable and without purpose anyway.

    The production as a whole feels very unprofessional, with horrid, shaky, close-up shots that make it difficult to follow what is going on (and to avoid paying for backgrounds and sets), the colours are all dull and washed out, and the lighting is haphazard and nonsensical. I know you can’t be too judgmental when it’s an obvious low budget film, but there’s still a lot more that could have been done with what they had. There’s nothing to recommend Covid 21: Lethal Virus in any way: it’s unoriginal, unprofessional, unstructured, and any enjoyment you might get out of it being a “bad” film is scuppered by it being just so incredibly dull. Avoid.

  • Film reviews

    #584 – Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

    Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

    Film review #584

    Director: Peter George

    SYNOPSIS: After a devastating earthquake reduces Los Angeles to rubble, the beaches become the battlefield for a number of gangs who want to rule the waves. After a group of neo-Nazis seize the beach, and a young man is killed, his Mother decides to take revenge on the Nazis that murdered him…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Surf Nazis Must Die is a 1987 post-apocalyptic film. The film’s title might sound completely off the wall and nonsensical, but actually refers to the neo-Nazis that existed around surfer culture in Los Angeles from the 1960s onwards. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic version of L.A. after a huge earthquake reduces the city to ruin…well, probably. We don’t really see the city in ruins to establish the location or context, and there’s also no real indication if just the city is in this post-apocalyptic state of lawlessness, or it is the wider world. Anyway, in this state of chaos, various surfer gangs battle it out for control of the beaches. While the film embraces some more outlandish elements that you would expect from the title, including the various surfer gangs of Nazis, ninjas, and the like, the film on the whole is fairly tame and subsequently, rather dull. There’s barely any other story other than Nazis just terrorising people, and every scene in which something happens is followed by long shots of people surfing, which by the time you return to a scene with dialogue or plot, you can’t really follow what happens from one scene to the next. There’s a story concerning some drug deals, a kid hanging around the Nazis to his Mother’s disapproval, and a Mother taking revenge on the Nazis for the murder of her son, but none of these elements really add up to anything, or come together in any way.

    Despite the silly concept, there is an element of the film taking some things seriously: the Nazis radicalising youths, the preaching of their purity yet clearly engaging in deviancy; there’s some effort to write the bad guys as the bad guys , and to show their hypocrisy. Don’t get me wrong: this is not done in an overly impressive or interesting way, but it is there. probably the most memorable character and plot element is “Mama,” a middle-aged woman who is put into a care home after the earthquake, but always manages to sneak out to cause trouble, and her mission of vengeance which becomes the focus of the film when her son is murdered by the Nazis, is at least somewhat interesting. Not only is her straight-up approach to the Nazis being to call them out and hunt them down refreshing (because we don’t really need to have nuance in dealing with Nazis, I thin the film is trying to say), but having a middle-aged black woman as the main character is such a rare occurrence it almost makes the film feel fresh. Again, there’s still not much substance, but the no-nonsense approach the film takes is somewhat fun while it lasts.

    Overall, Surf Nazis Must Die fails to live up to its bizarre name: it’s mostly dull viewing with barely any plot, and random footage of surfing that serves no purpose other than to extend the runtime breaks the film up into isolated scenes that serve no overall purpose. There’s some attempt to offer something unique with the “revenge” story arc, and dealing with Nazis in a straightforward way, but other than that, it’s a dull, low-budget flick that offers nothing really exciting or interesting.