The whole zombie thing is something I rarely keep up with these days. Though the genre is still shambling along, I left it after a few teen years full of Resident Evil games and splatter movies. For me it's best when they don't take it too seriously, a perfect example of which is probably Braindead, (aka Dead Alive) a film as ludicrous as the premise of the living dead. That's not so say I don't appreciate the creepy classics, after all George Romero was at least at one time king of the zombies. Despite the source material here being based on his work this adaptation takes us back to the rabid, hyperactive kind of near-dead used so well in 28 Days Later. I can't knock the idea as it's an exciting device when done right, and after all the slow movement of rigor isn't always scary as noted in the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. Unfortunately this is a relatively bloodless affair, without either the drool spewing craziness of Danny Boyle's infected or anything that resembles the madness of the best Tom Savini effects. Does it end up being an effective thriller in it's own right though? Not well enough to cover the other problems.
I didn't have a lot of expectations having heard the stories of studio interference, rewrites and worst of all - too much CGI. So surprisingly it starts well - early sequences mix chase scenes with tension building, little touches like DIY survival gear are used subtly; and it all looks good visually. Brad Pitt isn't exceptional but does a reasonable job the rest of the cast is fair, so despite the lack of explicit horror violence I was engaged at first. It doesn't last though unfortunately as it becomes apparent they have written a story reliant almost entirely on convenience rather than logic. While the set pieces are rather good in places, the globe spanning events of the story seem to service them being introduced rather the other way around. Things don't feel like they're coming together naturally. Our lead Gerry just happens to be the man for the job, he just happens to come across the right clues, and when things get messy towards the third act he naturally finds himself exactly on the right path. Some of the story doesn't even make that much sense later on and so all the tension evaporates, and I started wishing for more arterial spray and flesh tearing.
It's not all bad as I say and having a troubled development could have led to a resulting film of far worse quality... but in the end it failed to make me care enough about what was happening as it was clear that nothing that nerve wracking was going to go down. All the running and climbing the zombies do isn't as distracting as I had expected it to be, but they never feel like a real threat when everything is so neatly averted - despite one or two interesting setups along the way. They should have focused on making the script interesting instead of clunky, but end up simply funneling the audience from one country to the next and not paying enough attention to the writing where it matters.
The latest animated Disney effort has a few interesting takes on the usual plot elements they like to throw around, but I didn't think it was anything radical after a lot of hype, and it never feels that far removed from the standard formula. There are one or too catchy tunes along the way, and the snowman is a total show stealer; but this isn't really an improvement on Tangled which covered similar ground, and this even seems to use the same average style character faces. It never goes to a level beyond cute and moderately entertaining.