Re Kill (2015)

Your standard found footage zombie film with one intriguing twist. Most zombie stories fall into the post-apocalyptic category of things, but Re Kill bases its premise on a deceptively simple question: what if society didn’t end when the zombie virus came and conquered? And from there, the story blossoms. Sure, the zombies came and sure they wiped out 80% of the population, but life goes on – looking disturbingly similar to the way it did before calamity struck. Commercials clog the airways, selling sex, luxury homes, and anti-zombie pills that probably don’t work.

Life goes on. That might be the scariest part.

Re Kill follows a reality TV show around, centered on a team of zombie killers as they go about their business. It’s Cops with the nasty habit of showing headshots and police brutality in perfect detail, while still pausing to blur out the occasional nakedness. Reality TV has standards, after all. Re Kill is following in the grand tradition of several horror films that touched on similar themes, including Series 7: The Contenders, Battle Royale, and more recently, The Hunger Games society. However, Re Kill seems more interested in developing the world that its story inhabits rather than the characters that ought to be driving the plot. All we’re given is snippets of backstory, prepped for TV and devoid of anything real. We don’t learn enough about these people to really care one way or another when they die – and most of them do, in the end. Re Kill isn’t interested in creating deep characterization or even much in the way of character development.

All that being said, it doesn’t really need to. The conversation that Re Kill wants to have is established by the world that the characters inhabit, rather than the people themselves. In many ways, it’s about the collective instead of individuals. The characters themselves don’t matter except in how they are representative of other people; for instance, it’s important that Louis is a member of R-team, and that he joined in order to get a green card, but his internal thoughts and character arc are – perhaps conspicuously – absent from the narrative. I wouldn’t say that Re Kill is a perfect film, but it accomplishes what it set out to do. Come for the social commentary, but don’t expect to form an emotional connection with anyone who appears on screen.

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