For some time now we have known that the likes of Japan and South Korea are adept at producing some of the best and most significant movies in the horror genre.
For some time now we have
known that the likes of Japan and South Korea are adept at producing some of
the best and most significant movies in the horror genre. Nearby Taiwan have decided to
tackle the zombie side of the genre with Joe Chein’s Zombie 108 – the first
ever Taiwanese zombie movie and assisted in funding by nearly 900 people.
Drug and violence-ridden District 108 in downtown Taipai,
described as ‘a city even abandoned by God’ is attacked by a viral epidemic
that has turned most of the residents in to flesh-craving zombies. The film starts out with a lot of
promise, with beautiful protagonist Linda (Yvonne
Yao) trawling the deserted city with her young daughter and unwittingly
discovering what has become of other civilians. But it is then that the plot becomes uneven and descends in
to confusion. Taipei is currently
under evacuation but one underworld drug gang resists the police SWAT teams as
they wish to remain in the city, continuing their corrupt lifestyles of gorging
on cocaine, women and power.
However, as the virus spreads and the zombies increase in numbers, the
police and gangs must unite to survive in a manner akin to French zombie hit La Horde but they continue to fight
amongst themselves. Aside from this
plotline, much of the film is bizarrely absorbed with a disfigured, sickly
lunatic (Chien Jen Hao), who turns
society’s predicament to his own depraved advantage, keeping women as pets and
zombies as slaves. He hobbles
around his darkened home as he tortures his captives and replaces his own decaying
skin with raw meat. And even after
this, it gets more sick and incoherent with other strange occurrences.
Discerning zombie fans should not be too disappointed as
there is no shortage of flesh eating, limb-ripping gore and token horror genre
scantily-clad beautiful gals. The
zombies are true to form with the shuffling walk and emaciated bodies of George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead and the green
ooze-drooling of Dario Argento’s
monstrous creatures in Demons. There are also some select amusing
scenes, such as one where a survivor spells out S.O.S. with ‘dead’ zombie
bodies to attract the attention of a helicopter. With all this, the film is passable as a semi-decent horror
and not bad as a first attempt.
However, it is too random plot-wise and too lacking in atmosphere and
suspense to ever fully compete with its predecessors in the genre. Sticking with the traditional
zombie/social turmoil plot would have been best in this instance.
Zombie movies are renowned for being low-budget, a bit
laughable and downright gross but then, is this not why we love them? Zombie 108 may not be the best zombie
movie we have seen, but with Cuba’s first zombie film, Juan of the Dead and War of
the Dead having shuffled through the box office this year and World War Z with Brad Pitt still on the horizon, it looks like zombies are at large
in the cinema world more than ever.
These monsters ain’t going anywhere yet.