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Dead Rising: Watchtower (2015) Review

deadrisingwDead Rising: Watchtower (Canada, 2015)

Dir: Zach Lipovsky

Starring: Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen

Available on UK DVD & Blu-Ray from Content Media / Platform Entertainment

Plot: Dead Rising: Watchtower follows reporter Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe) who finds himself in the middle of a zombie outbreak. The outbreak starts when the Zombrex drugs used during a quarantine effort fails. Chase fights for his life along side fellow survivor Crystal (Meghan Ory) as they attempt to undercover a conspiracy and escape with their lives. With the imminent threat of bombing from the military, a vicious biker gang on the streets, and hoards of hungry zombies, Chase and Crystal’s chances look slim.

There has been a long tradition of trying to make video games into good movies and many would argue itis paired with the equally long tradition of making bad video game movies. While franchises like Resident Evil have made some fun movies, they have usually failed to capture what makes the games so great. Dead Rising: Watchtower is one of the few game adaptations that actually manages to capture the essence of it’s source material.Zombies in both film and video games have been done so often that it’s difficult to stand out. The Dead Rising games did this by focusing on the “anything is a weapon” mentality and thankfully that mentality is also prevalent in Watchtower. Duct-taped chainsaw, hammers, bomb axes, and machete halberds are all on show here.

drw2Other key features shared between the games and the movie include roaming gangs of psychos and criminals,the threat of military involvement, and an overarching mystery. The psychos and criminals in the game played the role of mini-bosses and it’s how they work in the movie too. A serious threat but not the lead villain. While the zombies are still a serious threat, it’s always the other humans in a zombie movie that are the real sadists.Virginia Madsen’s (Candyman) character balances precariously on the edge of going psycho which makes her both a looming threat and a painfully tragic character.

The military threat and the mystery are what keeps the pace of this film, Chase and Crystal have got a deadline before the bombs drop so scenes never dwell longer than they should but not at the expense of letting the story unfold naturally.The movie is supposed to act as a bridge between the storylines of the second and third games in the series and most fans of the series will probably see where the mystery plot is going way before it is actually revealed.

drw3While the story is quite predictable, it’s a fun movie that does it’s source material proud.There are loads of references to the games for fans to nerd out on as well as a number of cameos to enjoy. Cameos include appearances from Canada horror directors Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), and YouTube personalities Harley Morenstein (Epic Meal Time, Tusk) and Ryan Connolly (Film Riot, Tell). All these little details and Easter eggs make Watchtower an enjoyable film for horror nerds and video-game fans alike. It shouldn’t be too surprising that a movie adaptation of a video game series that started with a loose game adaptation of Dawn of the Dead actually works by coming full circle into being a zombie movie again. One to watch for hardcore zombie fans.

8/10

Dead Rising: Watchtower – Based on Capcom’s Video Game released in UK 27th July

drw1Dead Rising: Watchtower – Based on Capcom’s Video Game released in UK 27th July

Content Media is set to release the highly anticipated ‘Dead Rising: Watchtower’ presented by Legendary Digital, available to rent or own on all major digital platforms July 27th 2015. The UK release follows its US release through Sony’s Crackle streaming service in March.

Legendary Digital presents Dead Rising: Watchtower, a Dead Rising/Contradiction Films Production- directed by Zach Lipovsky (Leprechaun: Origins), written and produced by Tim Carter (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), and executive produced by Tomas Harlan (Mortal Kombat: Legacy) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura (the Transformers franchise). Based on the widely popular Capcom videogame franchise Dead Rising, Dead Rising: Watchtower features an all-star cast including Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas, John Tucker Must Die), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time, Intelligence), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman), Dennis Haysbert (24; Men, Women & Children) and Rob Riggle (22 Jump Street, The Hangover).

Official Dead Rising: Watchtower Trailer

Dead Rising: Watchtower follows Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe), a reporter trying to make it big – but the pursuit of his career-defining story leads him into the heart of a zombie-infested warzone. East Mission, Oregon is locked down after police find the bodies of what appear to be victims of a zombie attack. Zombies are not a new phenomenon, but outbreaks are uncommon. Past incidents were only just contained in time and the country is nervous. When two ambitious Net 2.0 reporters, Chase and his colleague Jordan, get inside the quarantine zone to report on a large group of civilians trapped in an inner city dome stadium, they realise they’re waiting for a rescue that isn’t coming.

drw2Many of those abandoned inside are survivors of past outbreaks who carry the zombie virus in their blood. They only survive by taking the antidote once every 24 hours — a drug called Zombrex. When the local drug supply mysteriously fails, a small crisis explodes into mass panic and catastrophe.

The story unfolds from two perspectives: survivors inside the city and officials and the media on the outside. Unlike virtually all other zombie narratives, the world hasn’t ended. The outbreak is a large-scale natural disaster that the rest of the world watches on TV. After Jordan manages to escape the quarantine zone, she sets out to unravel the conspiracy behind the failed Zombrex, while Chase is trapped inside with a few others like tough loner with a secret Crystal (Meghan Ory) and grief-stricken mother Maggie (Virginia Madsen), battling to survive.

drw3Their perilous, action-packed journey to escape simultaneously forces them to question what they’re willing to do to survive and, ultimately, their own sense of humanity. The Dead Rising game franchise has sold over 8.2 Million copies worldwide. Publisher Capcom has sold 200 Million game copies worldwide, including those from juggernaut series Resident Evil, Street Fighter and Mega Man.