Day of the Dead: Bloodline – review (Netflix)

     So it was about time for me to watch another horror effort on Netflix. Even though there are well-known horror films on there, I tend to watch the lesser-known films, of all genres, and in various languages. Today, I decided to watch an English speaking effort called Day of the Dead: Bloodline, a remake, a homage to George A. Romero’s original 1985 film, Day of the Dead.  

    Let me just begin with: you are welcome. Day of the Dead: Bloodline is utter shite and I have watched it so that you will not have to. So, once again, you are welcome. I suppose I should recount the story, lame as it is. Deep breath and here goes.

    Zoe (Sophie Skelton) is a final year junior doctor at Whittendale medical research centre and a bit of a dullard. She fastidiously studies, even though she is clearly the best doctor amongst her peers. As a final year junior doctor, she regularly draws blood from volunteers to aid with research.

    One of the volunteers, Max (Johnathon Schaech) is obsessed with her and regularly comes to donate blood. Whilst giving blood, Max refers to a previous conversation, when he obviously asked her out. Zoe tells him she is not interested. He shows her his other arm. He has carved her name into it. 

    Zoe freaks out and is rescued by Abby (Lorina Kamburova), a colleague, who tells Max to leave. Abby insists Zoe comes and join the party that all the final year juniors are having. Zoe joins her. At the party, Abby’s boyfriend, Peter (Luke Cousins) says they have more beer in kegs, down in the morgue. Zoe says she will help him get them. 

    After Peter plays a prank on the uptight Zoe, pretending to be a corpse, they grab the kegs. Peter leaves ahead of Zoe, and she is alone in the morgue. Max sneaks in and tries to rape her. He is interrupted by one of the corpses coming to life and attacking him. Zoe escapes.

    She runs back to the party and screams, warning them of the incoming zombie attack but the zombies, or Rotters as they are called, attack and kill everybody. Zoe escapes. Five years later, Zoe is living in a compound with a community of others who have survived the Rotters.

    The compound is a military stronghold, run by Miguel Salazar – he is the only person who gets a second name. Maybe it was in his contract – a stern and gruff military man, who sees his only mission as keeping the base safe. He does not care if people are happy. 

    Zoe and Elyse (Shari Watson) are trying to find a cure for the bites that turn people into Rotters whenever they get bitten – of course, they bite people, they’re zombies. sorry, Rotters. They are interrupted by Wendy (Teodora Duhovnikova), whose daughter, Lily (Lillian Blankenship), is sick. The antibiotics Zoe gave her are not working. 

    Zoe checks Lily. It is serious. She tells Miguel that Lily has bacterial pneumonia and that it is highly contagious. They need to get more drugs. Miguel tells her they already have raided all of the nearby areas. She tells him that her old college has a large stash of drugs that could help. He reluctantly agrees to let her and a team go for them. 

    After some engine problems, the team get to Whittendale as night falls. They find the drug supply store without incident and are on their way back to the base. Zoe decides to make a stop in her former lab to pick up some photos. The rest of the team do not notice she has disappeared until they hear shots. Max is still alive. Now a Rotter, he chases after her.

    One of the crew, Baca (Marcus Vanco) is in a relationship with her and immediately notices – well after the shots are heard – that she is missing. He is also Miguel’s brother. The team go looking for her. They find her, but the noise from her bullets have alerted other Rotters and Frank (Atanas Srebrev) gets killed. Thanks, Zoe!

   They return to the base and Miguel is furious. He and Zoe butt heads. Him insisting they should have returned when they found they had engine trouble, she believes that the risk – and Frank’s death – were worth it to get the drugs. Elle (Cristina Serafini), Frank’s wife, wants to know where he is. Zoe tells him that he died. Elle blames Zoe, as she wanted to go on the drug run. 

    Max has, meanwhile, manage to get on to the base by attaching himself to the undercarriage of one of the humvees the crew were driving. His obsession with Zoe is still as strong as ever. He gets into the air-conditioning ducts, crawling around the base from above. Steve (Terry Randall), husband of Wendy and the base maintenance man, demonstrates the worse hearing in human history when he hears Max in the air ducts and thinks it is rats. He goes into the ducts, searching for the rat. Max kills him. 

   When Miguel sends Wendy to find him, because of a faulty cooker, she finds his corpse and runs screaming through the corridors. Max grabs her. Max then confronts Zoe, who promptly hotfoots it and hits the alarm. I’ve no idea why Wendy did not sound the alarm. 

   Max catches up with Zoe but does not bite her. Baca, Alphonse (Mark Rhino Smith) and Lucy (Ulyana Chan) come to shoot Max, but Zoe stops them, saying he is the key to a cure. They capture him. In a net which was conveniently laying nearby. They chain Max, snarling and growling, to a wall in the lab where Zoe is working, because that is what you would do. 

    Zoe persuades Baca, the lovesick fool, to open the compound gates so as she can get some more samples from the Rotters to compare to Max’s. The plan is foolproof; let in one Rotter at a time whilst holding the rest at bay with the fence. Unsurprisingly, it does not go well. The Rotters burst in and kill one of the soldiers. As they fall back, Elyse is bitten. 

    Miguel, who was having an unnecessary con-flab with Max, finds out they let the Rotters in and that Elyse got bitten. He shoots her dead, even as Zoe protest. He gives her twelve hours to find a vaccine or he will kill Max. 

     Max escapes and attacks Zoe. She escapes by throwing ammonia in his face. Baca, Alphonse and Lucy come running, but Max has disappeared. Wendy reappears and tries to kill her own daughter. Max kills Wendy and grabs Lilly. He uses Lily to get to Zoe and opens the complex building to let the Rotters in.  

    Baca and Miguel go to the entrance and shut it. Baca wants to go after Zoe, but Miguel threatens to kill him. Miguel gets killed by the Rotters. Baca goes after Zoe. Zoe and Lily are running from Max and hide in a greenhouse. Zoe cuts Max’s head off. She returns to the base and creates an anti-vaccine. Everyone lives happily ever after. Unless you’ve just watched this film, in which case, may God have mercy on your soul.

   This film is bad, really bad. The acting is, across the board, terrible, the script is stupid and the story worse. At ninety minutes long, Day of the Dead: Bloodline feels about four hours long. With the lamentable acting and dumb plot, the film is just a painful watch. Why the writers, Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson, decided to call the zombies Rotters is anybody’s guess. 

    Directed by Héctor Hernández Vicens, the film lacks urgency and pace, with the early party scenes looking sparse instead of fun and all the attacks from Rotters so bloody that they are comical but not in a funny way. Blood spurts copiously everywhere and innards—intestines being the only organ anybody seems to have—come falling out of stomachs as Rotters rip them apart.

    Sophie Skelton is pretty and pointless. Her acting is so bad it almost detracts from Mark Rhino Smith’s awful, overdone American accent. Almost.  

    Scoring a paltry three point four on IMDB, that score almost flatters the film. Skelton’s Zoe is the worse heroine ever, her decisions getting at least three people unnecessarily killed. The only person who comes out of this film with any credibility is Johnathon Schaech as Max. He is genuinely creepy as the obsessive Max. Unfortunately, he is in this laborious, clunky, unimaginative pile of poo. 

    Day of the Dead: Bloodline is an abomination of a film. With an estimated budget of ten million dollars – $10,000,000! – I can only think that the money was being laundered by the Bulgarian mob – it was shot in Bulgaria – because no part of this film looks like it had an even medium-sized budget. Truly terrible, avoid. 


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