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Eaters: Rise of the Dead (2010)
7th Jul 11
Two hunters are sent to collect zombies for a scientist in post apocalypse Italy. Player One: PRESS START NOW!
“The Pope committed suicide this morning at 9 o’clock shooting himself in the head. He left a note saying: ‘I do not want to come back.’” As opening lines go it’s quite a belter and you’d be forgiven for getting your hopes up even if the credits began with the text Uwe Boll Presents. And for a film delivered to us from the man many call “The World’s Worst Director” Eaters is actually a pretty decent zombie actioner. It ain’t high art but Luca Boni and Marco Ristori’s first feature is lots of gory post apocalyptic fun with added Neo-Nazi nutbags for good measure.
Considering how many gaming purists have blasted Boll for supposedly ruining their favourite video games (does he come round to their house and hog the console?) it’s apt that this Italian gutfest has a plot that is incredibly gamey. Badass Igor (Lucchesi) and sensitive Alen (Favilla) eek out an existence in a military base miles away from the zombie plague that has ravaged the planet. The plague was apparently orchestrated by a religious loon known only as... wait for it... The Plague Spreader (maybe it sounds snappier in Italian). A scientist called Gyno (Marmugi) lives with them performing experiments on the undead in hope of finding a cure for the epidemic. Gyno requests that the pair go out and find him fresh specimens as he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. And that’s it really: two guys driving through the wasteland occasionally running into zombies, Neo Nazis and other colourful sorts in increasingly intense levels... I mean scenes.
It’s not the most original premise in the world; the men on a mission movie spliced with Day of the Dead, but Boni and Ristori are more interested in giving you a good time rather than challenging genre clichés. They keep things moving at a fair clip taking an almost episodic approach which is a smart move given the target audience will be pretty inebriated and their attention spans fairly short. Eaters is filmed in that grimy almost colourless style that’s become the standard for modern action movies (I call it Stathcam), it gives the film a nice bleak and dangerous feel and the set pieces are suitably hard boiled and bloody. The use of locations is impressive with abandoned churches, prisons and rustic villages providing a grand desolate feeling and considering the low budget the directors have a done a lot with very little.
The budget should also be taken into account with the effects work; sure things are a bit rubbery and cheesy in places but it truly adds to the trashy charm and god bless these boys for going the old school route with a mix of dodgy masks and really cool puppetry for the flesh eating fiends. It would bring a smile to Savini’s ‘tache, I’m sure.
The tough-guy/not-so-tough-guy double act has been seen more times than Keitel’s sausage and Lucchesi and Favilla certainly don’t deviate from the tried and tested formula. Nipping at each other and arguing about the chores of post-apoc’ life (toilet cleaning seems to be a valuable bartering tool), they make for a very entertaining duo and it’s fun to be along for the ride with them. Lucchesi is a great baldy beardy madman; the scene where he sings Wham! is priceless and one of the best unexpected laughs of the year. The rogues gallery of supporting characters are a mixed bag; a beer dealing artist called Warhol is disappointingly bereft of white hair but the Neo Nazis are a hoot (aren’t they always?) with my personal favourite being “The Man Whose Ass Is On Fire: Heinz” to give him his full title. He’s either called this because he carries a flame thrower or it’s something to do with baked beans. We may never know...
Overall the results are solid rather than spectacular. It’s unclear whether or not Boni and Ristori have a masterpiece in them, but on this evidence they obviously know how to entertain fans of trash. Nothing groundbreaking here but Eaters does have machetes, flame throwers, zombies, gore, a dwarf Hitler (yup!) and of course THAT opening line. Consume with beer, buddies and biryani for best results.