Raiders of the Damned (2007) 1 brain1 brain

Alternate Titles:

I gi ton daimonismenon

Raiders of the Damned was one of those movies that I had to watch in installments, because I kept falling asleep before I could finish. My friends will tell you that falling asleep during a movie is not an uncommon thing with me, but I still feel I can place some blame on this effort from director Milko Davis. Everything felt like something I'd seen before, despite it having the relatively new kind of zombies that remember who they are but just want to eat people now. It seems that for the budget zombie film maker, original ideas for films with the classic mindless shamblers are harder to come by these days. One can question whether the smart zombies even count as zombies anymore. Yes, they're undead, and yes, they like to eat people (the eyeballs are apparently a particular treat). But cannibals aren't necessarily zombies, and if zombies retain their intelligence and their memories of their past lives, they're more like fangless vampires with bad skin.

But if you were forced to put this in a category, you would still call it a zombie film, and besides, this wouldn't be the first movie like this that I've reviewed. So I'll get on with it. The movie is set in the future after some kind of airborne toxin has turned half the world into zombies. Fortunately, the survivors have somehow managed to contain all the zombies in a large, walled-off area, removing any weapons and explosives so that they can't break through the wall. The zombies do have access to wood, hammers, and nails, but apparently it never occurs to them to build ladders, so they're stuck inside this wall, and want to get out. The humans live underground, breathing filtered air.

Led by the diabolical Colonel Crow (Thomas Martwick) and using cobbled-together catapults, the zombies manage to down a helicopter of humans that just happens to contain a scientist (Elijah Murphy) who might be able to find a way to keep their bodies from decomposing. The surviving humans want the scientist back, because he's also working on a way to keep the toxin from affecting the rest of them when they move back above ground. Scientists are in charge of the human race now, with the shots being mostly called by the nutty Dr. Lewis (Richard Grieco, who acts like he's in a better, darker movie than this is). Lewis assembles a squad of soldiers under various measures of imprisonment or punishment to go and get the scientist out of zombie land before the virus can change him as well. Why he picks rejects and insubordinates for this mission instead of elite soldiers who follow orders well is unclear. I think the idea is that the soldiers he picks have nothing to lose, but that only works when it's a suicide mission, and for this mission to succeed, at least one of them needs to surive long enough to get the scientist out.

Obviously, this movie is not one about which you should think too hard. It's all about setting up a pretext for some soldiers to enter zombie territory and shoot a lot of zombies. To give credit where credit is due, I actually thought the acting was pretty decent, given what the cast had to work with. I'd even go so far as to say that taken out of context, the dialog isn't even particularly bad. There was just something about the finished whole that didn't engage me, and the gaping plot holes didn't help. You might see some of these actors again (in addition to Richard Grieco, I mean), but otherwise this film is bound for obscurity.