The Demented (2013) poster

The Demented (2013)

Rating:


USA. 2013.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Christopher Roosevelt, Producers – Shirley Craig, Phillip B. Goldfine, Christine Holder, Mark Holder, Steven R. Monroe, Danny Roth & Damiano Tuci, Photography – Scott Galinsky, Music – Greg deIulio, Visual Effects Supervisor – Morgan Krutz, Special Effects Supervisor – Ken Speed, Makeup Effects – Lauren Thomas, Production Design – Robert W. Savina. Production Company – Hollywood Media Bridge/Creamovies/Picture Perfect Corporation.

Cast

Kayla Noelle Ewell (Taylor), Richard Kohnke (David), Ashlee Brian (Brice), Sarah Butler (Sharley), Britney Alger (Naomi), Michael Welch (Howard Newbrook)


Plot

A group of friends, three couples, come together to spend a weekend at the home owned by Howard’s father outside Baton Rouge. The next morning they receive a call from Howard’s father warning them that a terrorist missile strike is on its way. As they debate whether to stay or go, they see the missile strike New Orleans. They next hear on the news that the area has been turned into a quarantine zone. At first they are attacked by a rabid dog and then the house is surrounded by zombified people, frenzied and on the attack.


The zombie film underwent a major revival in the mid-2000s with efforts like Resident Evil (2002), 28 Days Later (2002), the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Shaun of the Dead (2004). Numerous filmmakers, principally of the low-budget variety, climbed aboard the zombie film bandwagon and churned out a vast shuffling mass of imitators, while the zombie apocalypse even became the subject of a weekly tv series with the popular, long-running The Walking Dead (2010- ). These became so prolific that the genre began to suffer creative exhaustion. Somewhere in the early 2010s, the zombie film began to turn to comedy and deliberately ridiculous title mash-ups. (See Zombie Films for a more detailed listing).

The theme of the release of a biowarfare agent turning people into crazed zombies made one immediately think of George Romero’s muchly underrated The Crazies (1973) and in particular its lesser remake The Crazies (2010), which tried to sway the outbreak more towards a standard zombie film. There have been a whole body of films influenced by The Crazies depicting madness outbreaks – see Films About Mass Insanity. In truth though, The Demented has no interest in those affected and they are no different from standard zombies.

Ashlee Brian vs zombie girl in The Demented (2013)
Ashlee Brian vs zombie girl

This is a film where you switch off as soon as we are introduced to the characters – a group of entitled preppie students partying at a palatial big house owned by the absent father of one of the group. The scenes where they receive a phone call from the father who is away with the military giving warning of the missile strike and their subsequent panic about whether to flee the scene or not gave brief vibes of Miracle Mile (1988) but Christopher Roosevelt doesn’t seem interested in exploring this side of things. The latter half of the film consists of nothing more than the characters running around being killed, or trying to avoid being killed by the zombies.

By 2013, when The Demented was made, the zombie film well and truly had most of its original moves played out to the point that it was starting into a phase of gonzo conceptual and title mash-ups. The Demented enters the game with a thorough lack of originality in all departments. Even the title is one that is shared by at least five other films entitled ‘Demented/The Demented. In a field as creatively exhausted as the zombie film, I am always looking in for something original, something that hasn’t been done before – even if it is a tiny nugget or a single scene – but I can report there is nothing here whatsoever.

The Demented was the sole film directed by Christopher Roosevelt. It is produced by Steven R. Monroe, better known as a director of assorted films including the remake of I Spit on Your Grave (2010), which also starred Sarah Butler.


Trailer here


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