Zombie with a Shotgun
zombie with a shotgun | hilton ariel ruiz | braeden baade | kathryn kuhn | kyle hester | zombie | zombies | virus | secret society | action | romance | united states | emilie paap | jeremy fultz | brandi satterfield | david lee | john luke | sammy mena | ryan forsythe
Film: Zombie with a Shotgun
Director: Hilton Ariel Ruiz
Writer: Hilton Ariel Ruiz
Starring: Braeden Baade, Kathryn Kuhn and Kyle Hester
This was a movie I decided to check out when I was reached out to via Twitter that it had been added to Amazon Prime as well as Tubi. I didn’t know much about it and the title sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a go. The synopsis here is a feature adaptation of a popular web series of the same name. Aaron Walker (Braeden Baade) and Rachael Young (Kathryn Kuhn) are on the run due to him being infected with a virus. They must get to the truth of the matter before it is too late.
We start this off with a zombie who has a shotgun, like the title states. He then go into the past to the events that lead us up to that point. There’s a woman looking for her brother. She goes to the apartment of one his former girlfriends but he’s not there and she hasn’t heard from him. She then calls another woman, but armed men break in. The two of them are taken and it seems like the one looking for her brother is sexually assaulted.
Inside of a car we get to meet our two stars, Aaron and Rachael. We learn that he’s infected with something and she wants to take him to a hospital. The reason being that they won’t kill him, but he states they’re the ones that did this to him. He doesn’t trust what they’ll do if he goes in so they’re meeting his friend. She is the same on that his sister called and she puts him up in an apartment.
It is during their time there that we see Rachael might not be exactly who she says she is. Aaron is having a vivid dream that involves her, him and his friend in some wild sex acts. These also include blood. When he gets up, he’s not feeling feel and they need to go. They’re being pursued by Hank Ray (Kyle Hester) amongst others.
We’re also given flashbacks to fill in the back-story and that Aaron’s father might be involved in this as well. He’s been on the run ever since and Rachael also seems to have a dark past with this virus as well that involved her father. Who is behind this virus and what is its purpose? Can Aaron prevent himself from becoming a zombie in the process as well?
Now I wanted to go a bit lighter on the recap here, but to be honest some of it is that I’m not sure what some of the characters’ names are and on top of that, this story is a bit of a mess. I don’t want to come down hard on this though to start so I’ll begin with what I liked.
The first thing would be the title. My initial assumption was that they’re playing off of the more grindhouse title of Hobo with a Shotgun which would also be fitting that there’s a hobo in the movie played by Jeremy Fultz. The more that I’ve looked into this and as the synopsis stated, this is a web series that is the basis and I’m almost thinking it could have been originally based on that title but I cannot confirm. The title makes me think this is going to be a bit of a comedy but it’s not that at all. There are some interesting ideas and part of that is based in conspiracy theories.
It is fitting that I watched and am writing this review during the start of the Corona Virus quarantine as were dealing with a virus here in the movie. We do get some secretive, government agent aspects to the movie that is behind this. It is at first hinted at which I like as there’s always the conspiracy theory in real life. The more we learn though, the less farfetched it seems.
I also think this is an interesting time for the movie to be released. We have issues with quarantines and questioning how our medical system is working. Now Aaron doesn’t trust going to a hospital as he believes they did this to him. This isn’t that much similar to my age group. I personally don’t like going to doctor. For me it isn’t the cost, as I’m healthy so it’s just check ups. That’s not why Aaron doesn’t want to go, but it doesn’t change the fact he doesn’t trust them.
Since I’ve laid out Aaron’s belief who is behind it, this movie does some cool stuff with the zombie mythology. If you know me, this is a genre that I love the heavy hitters, but you need to do something new with it if you’re going to make one now. I like that this one, the zombies do eat flesh, but they’re not mindless. There are some slight inconstancies here though. With something revealed at the end, I think that the other zombies should just act like we expect them to, but that’s not the case.
I’m going to shift over the pacing, which I hate to say that I was bored for a good chunk of the movie. I think it’s trying too hard to present this back-story and mythology here, but it just didn’t hold my attention. There are some lulls that go on a bit too long and that could really be part of it as well. It just takes too long for us to get to the crux of the movie and it seems there are trying to build to a sequel or possible a series I think it might be too ambitious if you don’t make the original stronger.
The acting was something else that I wasn’t overly impressed with, but I don’t want to say it is bad. I thought that Baade was fine as the lead. He really comes off wooden, but I think that works as he’s infected so he’s in pain from that trying to take him over. That worked for me. Kuhn is easy on the eyes, but I don’t like that we’re presented very early on that we probably shouldn’t trust her as that really goes no where. There’s just one scene and then ignored from that point on. The rest of the cast was fine. We get a bit of nudity which was nice, but no one really stood out aside from that.
Something that was really hit or miss for me was the effects. I think that for the most part the look of the zombies was good. The only gripe I had is the one that is featured in the beginning and ending, I could see it was a mask and the teeth on it didn’t look real. It didn’t help that I could see in the mouth too. Aside from that they were good, including the blood in the movie. The only other issue was the CGI we get along with the gun flashes in the movie I did think the cinematography was well done and there are some really good establishing shots.
Last thing to cover would be the soundtrack and sound design. I did notice this one and I thought the selections were good. It fit the movie and helped to build the feel of the scene during the moments I noticed it. I did have an issue with the sound design though. They did some things were it just didn’t sound right as it felt like the sound was coming from a tunnel. It just seems that the rooms they were in were not conducive to recording and it showed. Not enough to ruin this, but it didn’t feel consistent.
Now with that said, this was a movie that I thought did some good things, but others not so much. Since this is legitimately independent cinema, I’m a little bit more forgiving as they’re not working with the same budgets. There are some good concepts and the story behind it is interesting. If I have a problem there it is just the mythology being a bit inconsistent. The acting is pretty amateur. The effects were hit or miss as was the soundtrack design. The soundtrack did work for me though. If I had to give this rating, I’d say that this is average for me. I don’t think most will like this one, but I didn’t mind it, just wanted a bit more.
My Rating: 5 out of 10