Dead Rising: Watchtower (18) | Home Ents Review

Dead Rising Watchtower

Dir. Zach Lipovsky, US, 2015, 118 mins

Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virgina Madsen, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan Connor Tracy

Director Zach Lipovsky and writer Tim Carter bring Capcom’s famous zombie-kill fest video-game Dead Rising to the screen with Dead Rising: Watchtower; set between Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 3, Jesse Metcalfe leads the cast through a brutal, violent, action-packed b-movie that hits every mark on nailing the look and feel of the series whilst including funny nods and cameos to keep the diehard fan very happy. Lipovsky, director of Tasmanian Devils (2013) and Leprechaun: Origins (2013), comes from VFX work to produce a near 2 hour, almost-episodic telling of a new storyline in the history of Dead Rising with the infestation spreading through East Mission, Oregon and following three characters as they fight the insane amounts of zombies amongst other things.

Having also written the video game Sleeping Dogs and the upcoming Dead Rising TV series, Tim Carter clearly knows his Dead Rising lore and is able to pump the script full of funny moments that feel exactly like playing the game, from the inclusion of a ServBot t-shirt, the random weapon creation and the inclusion of Frank West, hilariously played by Rob Riggle, who the fans will know from other Dead Rising games (his intercut television interview during the outbreak is one of the best features of the film). Starring Jesse Metcalfe, famous for Desperate Housewives and John Tucker Must Die, he plays the arrogant, annoying internet journalist very well, and can handle the action duties when slaying the various zombies and along with Meghan Ory, who also starred in John Tucker Must Die, True Justice and most recently Once Upon A Time as Red Riding Hood, form a good alliance to take down many more of those pesky undead along with, strangely, a distraught mourning mother.

Trapped behind infected walls of a zombie epidemic, along with various subplots involving crooked authority figures, government conspiracies, faulty vaccines and a series of TV interview segments in which reporter tries to get some worthwhile material out of a famous zombie killer Frank West, Dead Rising: Watchtower is a great addition to the series and adds more depth to the overall themes of the zombie genre, without being too serious like The Walking Dead. The history of the Dead Rising story starts with an outbreak in a mall in Colorado in 2006 which leads to a drug being created called Zombrex. It’s taken by a person daily and prevents outbreak but we all know, this isn’t a “everyone lives happily ever after”-kind of story.

The small hints and nods to the series are great for loyal fans and would be a recommendation for fans of the series who await a new entry. Including this with the next game could be a great way of gaining more exposure for future entries. Even by adding the ServBot t-shirt seen in the film and games, could be a way to go. Weapons are key in both the video games and in the film and showcase this perfectly with the array of weapons in use, even with the construction of them. It is very reminiscent of moments from the series and is great here. Similar to the games, Jordan, Chase’s friend is trying to help the group escape the infected town by leading them through safe zones using her cell phone. The length is something to question with how long the film feels in moments in-between the over-the-top graphic violent action.

Its love of the source material is clear to see with how faithful it is to its origins, something which many video game adaptations lack, but at the same time, you shouldn’t except a triple AAA picture that will cause millions of people to go see it. It’s not Jurassic World, Ant-Man or Minions, but placed in its b-movie genre, it is a strong attempt that will see a sequel in 2016.

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Dead Rising: Watchtower is out now on digital.

Author: Simon Childs

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