First Look Studios is one crafty little company. Attempting to piggyback on the success of Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead,” the indie label greenlit a remake of George A. Romero’s third zombie flick, “Day of the Dead,” and even went so far as to cast Ving Rhames in a supporting role. It was all done in the hope that fans would believe the film was a follow-up to the 2004 remake of “Dawn,” and since it’s a pretty shady move on their part, I have no problem spoiling the fact that Rhames (playing a completely different character) dies within the first 20 minutes. The rest of the film is spent following a group of soldiers (led by Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon) around a small Colorado town trying to escape a virus outbreak that has turned certain people into flesh-eating zombies. Passed around like a bad cold, the new virus angle may sound like an interesting twist to a familiar tale, but it’s actually much worse. Somehow, this outbreak is only affecting one city, and though some victims turn into zombies after being bitten, others don’t. WTF? As for the zombies themselves, director Steve Miner has decided to stick with the newer, faster versions, but in order to produce their superhuman speed, he resorts to amateurish tricks like speeding up the tape. It’s all pretty lame stuff, and though an action sequence midway through offers gory headshots aplenty, it’s the only shining moment in a poorly made cash grab more than deserving of the direct-to-video treatment.
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Director Stuart Gordon’s “Stuck” is a strange little film. On one hand, it’s probably the most original thriller I’ve seen in quite some time, and on the other, it’s so absurdly illogical that a majority of the movie teeters on parody. Mena Suvari stars as Brandi Boski, a hard-working nursing assistant who’s just been informed by her supervisor that she’s in contention for a big promotion. When Brandi accidentally hits a homeless man (Stephen Rea) after a night out on the town, however, she panics and drives straight home, parking the car in the garage with the man stuck in her windshield. As she soon discovers, the man is still alive, and as the hours pass without any sign of medical help, he begins to fight back against his captor. Calling “Stuck” a horror movie is a bit of a stretch, but there’s definitely something horrific about the idea that one human could be so cruel to another human because they’re afraid of the consequences. Stephen Rea’s solid performance as the down-on-his-luck victim really helps drive “Stuck” through some of the more ridiculous moments, but it’s ultimately the film’s ripped-from-the-headlines story that proves to be the most engaging element. The fact that a woman really did hit a man with her car, drove home, and then waited for him to die is just crazy enough that it needs to be seen to be believed. Granted, the film takes a few turns along the way, but it only makes the ride that much more thrilling.
Click to buy “Stuck”