I heard about this series from a friend at work. The word “Zombie” came up and like many of Pavlov’s dogs, I salivated. I decided to do a little research before viewing. With my newfound love of Twitter, I found people saying that this show is what “Fear the Walking Dead” should be. Considering that I only watched the first few episodes of “Fear” and haven’t watched “The Walking Dead” for the last two seasons and “iZombie” is in its final year, I could probably use some new flesh eaters in my life.
The episode starts with an air raid siren. A married couple, their daughter, and their backpacks, dash out of the house and begin to run down the street. Each house they pass, each side street they go by, they are joined by other people, with other backpacks. Never has the image of “herd mentality” been so well shown.
The scenes were filmed using drones and are spectacular!
At no time do we see any danger, which made me wonder if the sirens were used the same way that fireworks were used in “Land of the Dead,” as a distraction to the zombies. There are the sounds of explosions off in the distance.
I still don’t know what this means. It could be the military bombing the undead. I’m sure I’ll find out.
When everyone arrives, they are checked by the military and put on trucks. Their destination is the stadium. Here, we have our first and, likely, most important character, Rose. A wife and a mother, whose husband has been hurt and whose frightened daughter gets loaded onto a truck and is driven away without either parent. Rose’s focus, after her husband’s wounds get the better of him, is to find her daughter. She will link up with others in the story to help her get to the stadium.
Here’s the key to this episode.
Everything that happens, whether it’s in the foreground or the background is important. Each of these events will switch position. Example: in one scene, we see two people in the background talking. Suddenly a zombie attacks them, killing one of them while the other runs away. Later, the camera will follow that zombie and show the attack up close and personal. This happens throughout the episode. Paying attention is a must. I think the story deserves your attention.
Many of the themes that run usually through a Zombie Apocalypse story will be shown here: man’s inhumanity to man, bad luck, government’s lack of control, crime and sacrifice. Add to that a character who is deaf and one who only speaks Chinese, which is unusual wrinkles to the norm, and the cast is set. I don’t really want to go into the spoilers that are out there. It would be an injustice to a rather engaging start to the series.
I should warn you: you will be seeing “fast” zombies, much like in the remake of “Dawn of the Dead.” Several years ago, I would have turned the show off right then and there. But I think I have mellowed a bit. The concept works well with the story and, currently, the characters are not dealing with hordes, only one or two zombies at a time.
I would also like to point out that it takes almost no time between death and turning. One second the eyes close, the next the zombie is chasing people down the street.
The ensemble cast is excellent. Everyone puts on their best hard edge. Nothing they do seems out of the realm of possibility. And, there is no comic relief. I would be prepared though. I get the feeling that the “GoT” dictum will hold. Don’t love your characters too much.
Now, let’s address the living dead elephant in the room. Black Summer is put together by The Asylum. That should ring a bell with every monster movie fan. The Asylum is single-handedly keeping the tradition of B-Movies alive. If it still doesn’t make a connection with you, think SYFY, think “Sharknado.” I see that smile. The immediate thought is that this is going to be the caliber of films like “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.” Well, drive that out of your mind. If the first episode is any indication of just what The Asylum can do, I can’t wait to see what is next.
And don’t worry, you fine folks at The Asylum. I still look forward to the next Werewhale movie!