STRAIN 100 (2020)

If you like your apocalyptic fiction compiled a lot of the same old tropes you’ve seen a thousand times, then “Strain 100” might be up your alley. It’s “The Walking Dead” with a convenient dash of “The Last Of Us” thrown in, and none of the real social commentary or rich character focus. For all intents and purposes, “Strain 100” has some good ideas and fun moments of zombie carnage, but it’s bogged down by so many editing and writing problems from the outset. The zombies are pretty much the best aspect of the movie, truth be told.

After surviving a terrifying car crash, young Jesse discovers that aggressive, flesh-eating zombies have overtaken the entire area. She must now figure out what is happening and why, in hopes of escaping her horrifying circumstances. With fellow survivors and dwindling resources, she ventures to find her mother, who is holed up in a fortified lab and might be able to save them before they become infected. Much of the exposition relies on the classic trope of news footage with CDC officials and government officers frantically explaining to reporters about the rampant disease.

The Covid-like disease is never quite clarified, only that it’s like a cold, but makes its victims sick. It kills them and turns them in to flesh eating zombies. There’s no real vaccine, save for a few recipients, and our main character Jesse (Jemma Dallender is fine in her role) might also have antibodies in her blood that could create a potential vaccine to cure victims. But since the victims are all walking dead there’s no indication on how they’d distribute them, or if Jesse is aware she might be the key to ending this apocalypse. Either way, she has magic blood, so we follow her for the whole film as she travels to make it to her mother.

Along the way Jesse meets a slew of characters that fit pegs for this kind of zombie movie. There’s even a loony survivalist, to boot. Much of “Strain 100” chugs along trying to create motivations for the characters, but so much of it feel forced (There’s the characters’ mission to keep the only child alive for—reasons?). I have to admit that I laughed when Jesse asks “Do you have an armored tank?” to which an officer replies “I have one better.” only for the pair to come out straddling what looks like a Kawasaki motorcycle. That’s better?! Even weirder, nearing the finale there’s a detour with some gun toting survivors that feel like someone’s cousins came on set and finagled some roles, in order to pad the film’s run time.

“Strain 100” isn’t awful, but you could seriously do so much better in the realm of zombie survival films.

Will be available on digital April 11th from Uncork’d Entertainment.