Humans vs. Zombies (2011)

humans_vs_zombies“Humans vs. Zombies” is at the end of the day a fan film for the hardcore fans of the hit live action role playing game and really no one else. I don’t chastise it for being a product solely for them, in fact I’m glad they have something to cling to when not engaging in the game. But that’s not to say “Humans vs. Zombies” isn’t for general movie audiences either. A meta-movie in many ways, “Humans vs. Zombies” is a fun and action packed zombie movie that packs a wallop of survival horror and really nothing else. Based on the hit LARPing game played around the world, this is a movie based on the premise of the game that brings it to the forefront of the apocalypse.

Never having gone to college I’ve never taken part in the game itself, but it sounds like a blast. Basically a certain number of players run around with foam guns and marshmallows, and another number of players take the roles of zombies. Using tactics and evasion maneuvers, the survivors are able to stun and kill the zombies, but if the humans are killed by the horde they hand over their ID card for the campus and become one of the many walking dead. “Humans vs. Zombies,” of course, sets down on a college campus where in the midst of various activities including parties, and social gatherings, a full fledged campaign of humans vs. zombies is ensuing.

There are, of course, hardcore fans of the game itself and among the crowds of students we’re introduced to a small group of gamer geeks who have their own vices. One guy is an expert in the zombie game, another is an expert in role playing games, one is a genius in surviving the apocalypse, one woman is a game geek skilled in the most violent titles around, and there is of course your strong arm of the group, a security guard whose life revolves around conspiracy theories. When a secret toxin is accidentally unleashed by the government the virus spreads across America in a record number of days reducing civilization to a crumbling wasteland.

In an effort to save one of their classmates who has been bitten, the small group of geeks seek refuge in the hospital where they witness the carnage first hand and retreat back to their campus. There, they’re confronted with hordes of classmates all of whom have transformed in to the walking dead and must now find a way out of their small town to find a safe haven they can hold up in until the apocalypse blows over. Director Brian T. Jaynes really should be commended as he has his thumb on the pulse of the game and what makes it so much fun. There isn’t an attempt at social commentary nor is there a lot of harping on back story. What it does is focus on the survival on this small group of gamer geeks and we follow them through harrowing situations aplenty that will keep some viewers clutching to their seats.

Most of the film’s premise doesn’t revolve around finding a cure but instead revels in the fight against the walking dead as the group’s numbers dwindle amidst the flesh eating growing horde. There is some character focus and gradual growth and I appreciated the small moments in exposition. The final bid from RPG expert Danny to lose his virginity from the girl of his dreams as she slowly suffers the infection from a zombie bite is quite interesting, and I latched on to Dora Madison Burge as hot gamer/vlogger Tommi who goes from difficult shrew to bonafide apocalyptic warrior by the climax. And you have to appreciate the performance from Chip Joslin who is a dead ringer for Jack Black.

Nevertheless the film has its moments of pure terror and takes pride in making this fun game in to a fight for survival and I appreciated the self aware writing and nods to the fans of the game, in the end. The final scene is nothing but a pure bit of fan service allowing an entry for fans to finish the movie, get up, and begin playing their own fight for survival against the walking dead! While no masterpiece, “Humans vs. Zombies” is a down right entertaining and spooky adaptation of a popular game that pays tribute to loyal fans while also allowing an entrance for casual horror fans to begin playing the game along with them. I had a blast with the fight for survival and hope one day I can take part in the LARPing that has become a national craze in colleges across America.