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DVD Review: Zombie Farm (2009)

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I’m really not sure what the filmmakers behind this snoozer were reaching for with this one, but I can safely say that they were indeed “reaching.” Not only does Zombie Farm sometimes forget that it’s little more than a poorly-made political/racial commentary and occasionally behaves as if it were a bona fide horror film, but writer/director Ricardo Islas also has difficultly differentiating between two very distinct kinds of living dead folk.

Worse still, Islas seems to have not received a very important memo from industry professionals, wherein they stated: “Everybody’s getting really sick of these stupid modern direct-to-video zombie movies.”

First, a brief history lesson. OK, so there are the more common variety of zombie extends from the “George A. Romero/Lucio Fulci” inspired genre: those that are on the seemingly-satanic hunt for human flesh. They’re all dead, eat people, and infect the living with their incurable maladies. Now, I realize that a great number of you categorically fall under the “hipster” category, and feel that movies like Zombieland are of the best types of moving pictures ever created. Not only are a) you completely wrong about that, but b) you may be wholly unaware as to the existence of the older, more “classic” type of walking dead critter — that of the “Victor Halperin/Val Lewton” class. These poor souls are just that: unfortunate men and women (usually living) that have either been turned into mindless sugarcane workers and slaves via the act of voodoo.

Now then, what happens if you combine these two separate groups and try to pass them off as a whole? Well, imagine what might happen if you took several pampered Pomeranians and put them into a cage with several very fierce (not to mention hungry) wolves…

Chaos.

Carnage.

And, above all, a lot of people saying “Whose bright idea was that?”

Or: Zombie Farm.

The plot here involves several different folks, all of whom wind up inadvertently becoming pawns in some sort of “black magic” conspiracy. First, we have a phony witchdoctor (Roberto Montesinos) character who offers to help members of his Hispanic community via smoke and mirrors. Next, we have a would-be filmmaker (Adriana Catano) who has been recently spurned by a studio and focuses her camera on the witchdoctor. Lastly, there’s a battered Latina woman (Monika Munoz) who is desperate to escape the abusiveness of her hubby. All three trails lead to an evil macumba practitioner (Nadia Rowinsky) who turns the battered woman’s violent spouse into a walking corpse feller and tries to have the others rubbed out when they start sticking their noses into her business.

Clumsy and reeking of a writer/director trying too hard to make a statement nobody will really ever give a whole hell of a lot of thought to, Zombie Farm is an amateurish horror drama suffering from several identity crises.

Maya Entertainment brings us Zombie Farm in an anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. The image here is rather grainy and prominently displays the film’s low-low-budget origins, but it suffices on the whole. Accompanying the movie are two English/Spanish-language soundtracks, available in 5.1 or 2.0. Neither give you that sense of “audio purity” you might be hoping for (it’s a film called Zombie Farm, for fuck’s sake, people!). English subtitles are included for the film’s Spanish-language segments.

Extras for Zombie Farm include a behind-the-scenes featurette and several trailers for other Maya releases.

In short: you can have your zombies be graduates from the “Halperin/Lewton” school (White Zombie, I Walked With A Zombie, The Serpent And The Rainbow, et al), and you can have your reanimated departed people to retain a hankerin’ for human beings (see: Dawn Of The Dead (1978) and Zombi 2). But you can’t have your flesh and eat it, too, Ricardo!

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
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