STATE OF EMERGENCY (2010)
Written and directed by Turner Clay
After a chemical factory explosion releases a virus toxin into the atmosphere, the military shut off and quarantine the small town as residents infected with the toxin transform into flesh-eating crazed mutants. The few towns folk who are immune to the toxin’s dangerous properties must fight for their lives to survive, with what little supplies they have, against the rabid mutated humans.
State of Emergency is essentially a zombie flick and during this particular movie, we follow a young man named Jim (Jay Hayden), who’s girlfriend tragically dies on the way to a safe haven away from the cannibalistic creatures. After hiding in a deserted building, he receives a phone call from a guy named Scott (Scott Lilly) who’s holed up in a warehouse with his wife, Julie (Kathryn Todd Norman) and a woman named Alex (Tori White), or Ix for short. Scott invites Jim to join them as they have a large amount of supplies and being a force in numbers is better than battling it out alone. Jim makes his way over to the warehouse where he befriends the young couple and an initially hostile Alex. In order to survive the terrifying ordeal, the group must learn to protect one another, at whatever the cost.
I’m not the biggest fan of zombie movies, mainly because there’s little that can actually be done with the genre that hasn’t been done before. So as I sat down to watch State of Emergency, I wasn’t expecting to be thrilled but I did end up being surprised.
State of Emergency is quite a slow burner. It takes a good 30 minutes to actually get going and considering that is a third of the running time, I wish it had picked up a bit sooner. However, once main character Jim joins the other group of survivors, things get interesting. We learn about his life before the blast and his worries about life now without his girlfriend in it. As he tries to befriend young woman Alex, we start to question her hostilities against a friendly person in a world that has turned destructive. Whilst it isn’t too long before we guess where the plot is leading, it’s a nice change to have character development for once in a genre that is mainly occupied by the shuffling undead. There isn’t that much excitement though, and that’s where the film loses points. It treads similar ground to what you would expect to see in a zombie movie, i.e. survivors need supplies, must go out into zombie-infested charters to retrieve said supplies else X characters will die. Though the life-or-death circumstances in State of Emergency are more relative to real-life than most I have seen.
There’s no powerhouse performances in State of Emergency, but the cast do a decent job of what is asked of them. The cast are likable and each character has their own identity within the film. As for the ‘zombies’, they’re not really portrayed as the undead, but rather the infected mutants which they are, which I was very pleaased about. Standing like statues in the fields, the infected make their presence known but stealthily creep upon the uninfected living, attacking them when they least expect it. One mutant even engages in conversation with the survivors in a bid to gain entry into their safe house, with only their blood-red eyes a tell-tale sign that they are infected.
The special FX in the film are pretty cool, with plenty of blood squirting everywhere and heads being blown off with shotguns. That’s what the genre-loving public enjoy and it satisifed my blood-lust yet wasn’t too over-the-top to be interpretated as being silly. As a matter of fact, State of Emergency is probably the most realistic of zombie-type films I have seen in a long time.
State of Emergency is a subtle thriller with a healthy dose of the red stuff to keep horror fans engaged and an interesting story to keep momentum ticking until its neatly wrapped conclusion.