June 30, 2018 The Jurassic Dead (Movie Review)
On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Wild Eye Releasing unleashed The Jurassic Dead on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray. Directed by Milko Davis (Tsunambee 2015, Merwitches 2018), The Jurassic Dead is about Dr. Wojick Borge (Cooper Elliot: Justice League: Trinity Force 2015, For Granted 2016) and his new monster. After America is struck by an EMP, a top-notch militia unit end up trapped in a bunker with a bunch of students. They soon discover it is the hiding place of Dr. Borge and he sends his latest creation after them, a dinosaur brought back from the dead by his toxic zombification gas. The two groups must work together if they want to get out alive, but can they do it? After all, evil finds a way.
There is no use complaining: its sequel, Z-Rex: Dead War, is already set for release in 2019. If anyone is familiar with the Sharknado series, then they know what to expect. In fact, they probably expected that the moment this article brought up Tsunambee, a Sci-Fi flick about a threat, fictional or otherwise, combined with an animal, previously extinct or otherwise, attacking humanity. These films promise to be dumb fun, but a good chunk of them are often just plain dumb. But where does The Jurassic Dead fall? Does it manage to be as entertaining as its premise suggests, or is it more of a chore?
It certainly does not break the bank with its budget. Granted, these films began as modern-day equivalents of the 1950s B-Movies, and they were not exactly high rollers either. But they were not all equal either. One is not going to mistake the Harryhausen effects in 1953’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms with the cheap models in 1957’s The Giant Claw. Just as no one is going to mistake the green-screen backdrops in this film for real sets, as they make 2003’s The Room look like 2002’s Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in comparison.
That is not to say everything in the film is cheap CGI, as there are actual locations filmed on actual cameras. The makers just made some odd decisions. For example, they had access to a room to act as a classroom set, but in the next scene they opted to use a green-screen Hogwarts-esque hallway instead of using another room – or at least using the same room. Maybe this is where scheduling or the budget brought the film back down to Earth, but it makes for a weird production.
The acting is not all that good, though some try to work with what they have got. Elliot does okay as Dr. Borge, as does former American Ninja Warrior contestant Ruselis Aumeen Perry. But the rest of the cast? Not so much. Of course, the generic stock roles do not help them out. The students might as well be listed by their tropes- ‘Jock’, ‘Ditz’, ‘Geek #1’ and ‘Geek #2’. In turn, the militia feel like a smaller, Dollar Tree equivalent of the Colonial Marines from 1986’s Aliens, and the sole female member is already called ‘Cuchilla’ Vasquez (Raquel Pennington: The Ultimate Fighter series, ExTerminators 2009).
One prays for the Z-Rex to appear sooner than it does. Yet, aside from a quick scene at the start, it takes a while for the carnage to start. Once it arrives, it is little better than the alpha-talk and referential “banter” that preceded it. Some of the props look okay, and the CGI Z-Rex is not so bad, if a little small for a Tyrannosaur. But the actual attacks look like an oversized plastic model drooling strawberry jam on the hapless cast. Sadly, the zombies are little better; at best they are average with some okay-enough makeup, but at worst they are just the actors with some green eye after-effects.
It does occasionally stray into cheesy entertainment, such as the man-on-Tyrannosaur mano-a-garra fight. Even the naff CG, explosions and repeated exterior shots for time transitions have some charm about them. The end credits stinger is also funny- likely the funniest scene in the film. The film is relatively short at 75 minutes sans main credits, so it will not take too long to see it. The music by Alvaro Morello is okay too. But as a whole, The Jurassic Dead leaves a lot left to be desired. As a result, CrypticRock gives The Jurassic Dead gets 2 out of 5 stars.