TADFF 2016: The Rezort

the rezort

“The undead had their fun, now it is our turn” states Wilton (Clarie Goose), an entrepreneur who is as cold as the icy blue dress she wears, in her welcoming speech to the newcomers to her paradise of revenge. Figuring out how to capitalize on events of the past, Wilton has managed to turn the horrible zombie outbreak from a few years ago into a financial windfall. Humanity may have recovered from the virus caused the death of millions at the hands of the undead, but their anger, thirst for retribution, and overall emotional scars have yet to heal.

Creating a state of the art therapeutic amusement park of sorts, where the last remaining zombies in the world have been rounded up and contained in a secure environment, Wilton’s resort provides a safe space for tourists to work out their survivor issues while gunning down zombies in a tropical setting. Tourists like Melanie (Jessica De Gouw) who, along with her boyfriend Lewis (Martin McCann), has come to the island to resolve past traumas related to her father’s death during the outbreak. When an underground activist group supporting zombie rights infiltrates the resort’s security, Melanie and Lewis, along with other guest like the rugged Archer (Dougray Scott), find themselves in a fight for survival.

If you ever wondered what Jurassic Park would be like if zombies replaced dinosaurs look no further than Steve Barker’s The Rezort. A film that borrows so heavily from Steven Spielberg’s adventure classic that it neglects to leave its own unique cinematic mark. Not for lack of trying mind you. The Rezort does take an unexpected turn into the realm of political commentary towards the end. This shift would have been more impactful had it been a prevalent running theme throughout the film.

In attempting to echo the beats of the Jurassic Park franchise, Barker’s film forgets one of the key elements that made those films a hit, the feeling of childlike wonderment. The Rezort lacks the sense of awe that comes with seeing a T-Rex or Indominus Rex, through a child’s eyes. In The Rezort, the undead look similar to every other zombie film and the action sequences offer nothing new. Sure the mixing of fast and slow zombies is nice, but there use feels more like plot contrivances than anything else. Though kudos to Barker for not placing Melanie in high heels as she attempts to outrun hordes of zombies.

While Barker’s film shows glimpses of having some deep and rich things to say, it ultimately gets bogged down by its own desire to mimic the tunes of others, rather than swaying to its own unique beat.

Screens:
Saturday, October 15, 6:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

Tickets can be purchased at the Toronto After Dark website.