SyFy’s TV Movie of the Week Review – Rise of the Zombies

I didn’t think I’d say this but for a SyFy movie this is actually not too shabby!  Read on friendos!

Wowza!  This one starts off with a big zombie attack.  The humanoids are kicking ass and taking names!  We get to see one zombie go down and get his skull crushed open with a hammer.  There was actually quite a bit of gore, and who can complain about that?  Certainly not me.  As the few survivors jump in a Jeep I realize where we are.  They are racing down Lombard Street in San Francisco.  If you have never seen it Google it.  It is famous for having a steep one-block section that consists of eight hairpin turns.  Of course the idiot behind the wheel is doing over 50 mph.  The Jeep rolls its way down the rest of Lombard and zombies are waiting at the bottom.  Everyone gets eaten except an extremely pregnant lady.

Next we see one of our stars, Mariel Hemingway, watching a video on her laptop from a doctor, played by French Stewart, who has come up with a zombie vaccine.  He also happens to have one of his test subjects next to him, a cute little chimp!  Anyhoo Mariel and another scientist played by LeVar Burton decide they need to get to the good doctor to get the vaccine.  Only trouble is they’re at Alcatraz with many other survivors.  LeVar wants to study zombies but he needs a “live” sample.  One of my favorite bad asses is to blame for burning the zombies that they had saved for samples…Danny Trejo!

“I am the bad ass to end all bad asses!”

Mariel wants to take their only mode of transportation, a large raft, and Danny isn’t having it.  He and Mariel start bickering.  I never thought I’d see those two acting together.  She actually pulls a knife on Machete!  She’s got some balls on her!  As they continue yelling at each other zombies storm the shore and everyone runs to lock themselves into their cells.  We get some nice slo-mo shots of Danny and company shooting, smashing and punching zombies.  One of the men gets bitten and we see how this zombie virus works.  His veins start to fill up with black as it runs its way to his brain.  He’s already locked himself in a cell so LeVar…there’s a live sample for you!  Unfortunately his other sample will be his daughter that has been bitten.  LeVar puts her in a cell and watches as she quickly turns.

After losing many survivors Danny finally agrees with Mariel and wants to leave Alcatraz with everyone that is left.  He has my favorite line of the show…”We’re sittin’ here like um…sitting ducks!”  LeVar volunteers to stay behind so he can continue his experiments and Mariel gives him a present.  A gun and a grenade in case things go all wonky.  How thoughtful!  For some dumb ass reason the rest of them depart at night.  Great idea!  If the zombies are making their way to Alcatraz then they can swim but I guess they thought it might be fun to go out in pitch black so they can’t see zombies doing the breast stroke up to them.

By the time they get to shore they’ve lost a few peeps and their supplies are ruined.  The remainders decide to split into two teams.  Mariel’s team decides to head into the city to find the vaccine while Danny’s team want to go to Catalina to look for more supplies.  Back on Alcatraz LeVar tries to get his daughter and the other subject to eat…soup.  I’m sure that’s just what they’re craving genius!

Danny’s crew finds their way to a McMansion and venture inside to look for food, water and weapons.  Sadly, Danny doesn’t see the zombie girl in the corner as he is pilfering champagne from the fridge.  Whammo!  He turns into a zombie and it is hellarious!  He makes quick work of two of his crew.  The sole survivor hears their screams and runs to the rescue.  He finds Danny and lures him into the garage where he has found a pick up truck to escape in.  He grabs a chainsaw and tries to bifurcate him.  This doesn’t pan out so he grabs an ax and plants it in Danny’s head.  He then hops in his chariot and crashes through the garage door and gets the hell out of dodge.

Meanwhile Mariel’s team is on the Golden Gate Bridge searching cars for supplies.  The zombies interrupt again by climbing up to them.  Damn these zombies have some skills!  After they dispatch of the zombies, and lose one of their own, they hear cries coming from an ambulance.  They open the doors and surprise, it’s the pregnant lady from the opener.  They convince her to get out and as she does a damned sneaky zombie chomps into her calf.  She screams for them to save her baby so Mariel cuts open her very pregnant belly and removes a cute little thing.  She cuts the cord but too late, the baby’s veins begin to run black.  The other gal with Mariel grabs the babe, throws it on the ground and stomps on it.  That was a tad bit disturbing.

The scientist of Alcatraz is still performing pretty dorky experiments.  They don’t want Campbell’s soup for god’s sake!  LeVar finally decides his daughter may starve to death, which I find asinine, so he heads back to his lab.  He grabs a scalpel and cuts a huge chunk from his fore arm.  Ewwww!  I must admit I turned my head away for a second.  I hate scalpels!  Then he cauterizes the gaping wound with a Bic lighter, I think a Zippo would have worked better.  While he is taping his daughter’s reaction to the fresh meat he gets a little too close.  She grabs his arm and bites.  He looks at her one last time and drops the grenade Mariel left him.

Mariel and company see the explosion from a spot just off the bridge.  They are preoccupied just long enough for another slew of zombies to ambush them.  Just as it appears they are going to get their asses handed to them the cavalry of one comes in with his pick up truck.  Now we are left with two guys, two gals and a dog they found on the bridge.  Turns out the guy in the truck is in love with the other gal from Mariel’s team.  She’s two months pregnant with someone else’s baby but he loves her and wants to love the baby.  While the rest are collecting more supplies the depressed expectant mother sits on a trolley car.  The other three watch in horror as the trolley begins to roll down the hill and into a bus.  Kablooey!  No happily ever after here.

Mariel’s team tries to find the doctor at his research facility but it is abandoned.  After they grieve for a few seconds they head to the water treatment plant, where Mariel thinks the doc may have gone.  They are greeted by more zombies inside and are backed into a corner.  They jump onto a table and set off the sprinklers.  One dude grabs a taser from his arsenal and the first lucky zombie in line gets a zap that spreads through the whole lot of them.  That’s a great idea that I haven’t seen in a zombie movie.  Go electricity!

The final three and the dog make their way up where they hear music playing and find…the doctor!  The dog just happens to be one of his experiments that was shot up with the zombie vaccine.  How convenient!  He tells them that there is a helicopter on the roof but he doesn’t want to leave.  One of the three happens to be a pilot, another convenience!  As they try to convince doc, a few more zombies burst through the now unprotected door and bite the pilot’s arm.

Mariel screams for someone to cut it off and they do.  The doc stabs him in the arm with a needle and fills him full of a vaccine that seems to be working.  Doc and Mariel grab loads of the vaccines and they get to the copter.  The pilot tells Mariel that she will have to be his left hand and as the doc, the other dude and the dog pile in dude is scratched by a zombie.  Doc gives him the vaccine and it stops the virus from advancing.  Our last shot is of the motley crew flying into the sunset hoping to save the rest of humanity with the vaccine.

As I said at the beginning I quite liked this show.  Usually the SyFy movie of the week makes me roll my eyes so much that I feel like they might roll out of their sockets.  This was fairly entertaining and the stars of the show were fun to watch, especially Danny Trejo.  There were some good gross out scenes and I was entertained the whole time.  I would have liked to see LeVar do some more interesting experiments to try to save his daughter, but my complaints are minimal.  What did you think of the show?  Let me know kids!  Thanks for reading.


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