Eaters: Rise of the Dead loosely follows the standard zombie flick formula; world wide epidemic, followed by near extinction of humanity, followed by a group of survivors battling night and day to survive in the post apocalyptic world. Presented by Uwe Boll (make what you will of his involvement) and directed by Luca Boni and Marco Ristori, Italian horror Eaters never strays too far from its predetermined path.
Initially savagely infecting women (and, consequently, childbirth), the brain-eating epidemic that ravages the world of the film (understandably) causes worldwide hysteria and the handful of survivors are left to shy away from the world outside their barricaded camp. Realist Igor (Alex Kucchesi) and dreamer Alen (Guglielmo Favilla), however, must brave the outside world in order to capture zombie guinea pigs so resident doctor Gyno can test for a cure to the debilitating disease.
Bringing them into contact with a host of unfriendly faces, the trip is marred with zombie attacks, Wham! (yes, really) as well as zombie-hating Nazis. Girls and corpses are the basis for their conversation, and, while Igor lusts after the idea of finding an uninfected woman, Alen is left to lament the fate of his girlfriend Alexis, one of the doctors involved in the genetic experiments that are featured in the repeated flashbacks. Fearing the aptly titled Plague Spreader, the man behind the disease ravaging the world, Igor and Alen must barter with both friends and enemies for the zombies they require as well as food and saught-after beer.
Although bleak, Eaters is often tongue-in-cheek, with news reporters speaking of the Pope’s suicide after the outbreak of the epidemic and Igor having a fist fight mid-wee. The line between horror and humour is often blurred, and sometimes you’re not quite sure whether you should be laughing or worried. There are several inane scenes of brutality that feature superflous idiotic characters which add nothing to the story.
The Nazis of the film make good of a bad situation and resort to pitting themselves against zombies in strange fatal battles, reciting ‘death makes you free’. Don’t worry, we’re not sure about it either. Although you may never be wholly attached to the characters, the story does evoke some interest when the now improbable state of pregnancy becomes a reality.
Despite its questionable script and some dodgy performances, Eaters does feature some fantastic low-budget effects. With nearly every kill splattering the screen with blood, the effects team do a good job in creating enjoyable fight scenes. With the zombies themselves resorting to eating their own parts, you may be forgiven for enjoying their brief moments on camera more than the developing story.
The story unfolds predictably (even the immortal words ‘it’s just a scratch’ are muttered) but, somewhere, deep amidst the ridiculous storyline and fantastically low budget effects, there’s a plea to stop dabbling with genetics… we think. Either that or a distinct warning not to survive a zombie apocalypse.