Zombie films seem to be like zombies themselves. No matter how many you deal with there are always more poping up all over the place.
Today I watched Cowboys and Zombies, which has been knocking around the house for a few weeks but which I kept putting off watching because it didn’t look like it would be very good. I was right. Although watchable it was not the best zombie film I have seen. It is not even the best one I have seen this month.
Afficianados will know what I mean if I sum it up with two words: fast zombies.I am a traditionalist, and much prefer my zombies to be shuffling Romero-style zombies than hyper 28 Days Later creatures. I’m not even sure they were zombies in the normal definition. Apart from the speed, they were not re-animated corpses who look basically human but with bits hanging off and a terrible complexion; they were really mutations. So more like Resident Evil then, except not mutated as a result of human experiments but because of some alien meteorite.
Also, it didn’t seem like anyone bitten by one would turn into a zombie themselves, which rules out the exponential terror of knowing that their numbers can only increase until nobody normal is left. Finite zombies are not as scary a prospect. Having said that, considering the main action happens in a small prospecting town that appears to have no more than a dozen buildings, there were an awful lot of the buggers.
Aside from those purist quibbles, it was entertaining enough, but a bit exploitative. There were few female characters but most of them had an excuse to get their top off at some point. The zombie, or pseudo-zombie element doesn’t even kick in until about half-way through the film. Up to then it is just a straightforward western. Fortunately I like westerns, and zombies so there was enough to keep me watching.
I would take issue with the description on Amazon though. It says “Cowboys and native Indians unite to fight the undead horde” which is stretching it a bit. There was one cowboy (really a bounty hunter so not an actual cowboy) and one native American.
I notice that Amazon also has a film called Cowboys and Vampires. It is from a different company, so not part of a series. Must just be two different studios trying to cash in on Cowboys and Aliens. Surprisingly neither of them are The Asylum who specialise in such ‘mockbusters’. The vampire one is not even set in the real wild west, just in a theme park. Mind you, the third Dusk Til Down film did the whole cowboys/vampires thing already.