Director – Steve Barker, Screenplay – Paul Gerstennberger, Producers – Nick Gillott, Karl Richards & Charlotte Walls, Photography – Roman Osin, Music – Zacarias M. de la Riva, Visual Effects – Umedia Visual Effects Belgium (Supervisor – Dominique Fiore), Special Effects – Real SFX (Supervisor – Danny Hargreaves), Prosthetic Design – Paul Hyett, Production Design – James Lapsley. Production Company – LWH Entertainment/The Captain Starlight Company/The Kraken Films/Gloucester Place Films/Creative Scotland/Black Camel Pictures.
Jessica De Gouw (Melanie Gibbs), Dougray Scott (Archer), Martin McCann (Lewis Evans), Ellen Rhys (Sadie), Jassa Ahluwalia (Jack), Lawrence Walker (Alfie), Claire Goose (Valerie Wilton), Kevin Shen (Nevins), Sean Power (Spencer), Jamie Ward (Mike), Dave Wong (Ken Lee), Shane Zaza (Salva), Stefan Pejic (Tate), Andie Betti Welsh (Izzy)
It is several years after a zombie outbreak has been vanquished. The Rezort is a game reserve run by Valerie Wilton on a private island off the northwest coast of Africa where paying customers can hunt zombies for sport. Melanie Gibbs and her boyfriend Lewis Evans travel to The Rezort and join a party. Melanie is hoping this will help get over psychological issues she had as a result of the zombie outbreak. However, one of the party, Sadie, has been covertly sent in by zombie rights activists. She sneaks away to access the computer system and unwittingly enters a virus into the mainframe. This shuts down the security system and soon zombies overrun the control room. Out in the field without the security system in place, the party find themselves hunted by the zombies. They flee across the island in an effort to get to safety. However, the Brimstone Protocols have been activated and the island will be razed by a military strike in a matter of hours to stop the spread of infection.
British director Steve Barker first appeared with the enjoyable Nazi zombie film Outpost (2007), which proved a modest success. Barker went on to make a sequel with Outpost: Black Sun (2012), as well as producing a prequel Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013) that was handled by another director.
The Rezort is the third zombie film in a row for Barker. You get the impression during the screenplay stage that writer Paul Gerstennberger sat down and thought “What if we were to do Jurassic Park (1993) but with zombies instead of dinosaurs?” The result is essentially that, albeit with Barker lacking the bigger budget that Steven Spielberg had to hand. The plots of either film follow essentially the same arc – the arrival of a group of visitors at the island where the creatures are penned for the enjoyment of visitors; the security grid going down due to industrial sabotage; the group then caught out in the open and having to fight off zombies/dinosaurs to get to safety.
I didn’t engage with The Rezort for much of its first half. The ‘Jurassic Park with zombies’ thing didn’t seem to offer anything particularly new on the same old same old that has ground the zombie film down into stale repetition ever since its revival in the mid-2000s. The one amusing idea we do get is a group of zombie rights activists – an idea that I am sure George Romero would have had a field day with during his second trilogy – in particular, Land of the Dead (2005) and Survival of the Dead (2009), which swayed towards sympathy for the zombies and their having an equal right to inherit the Earth with humanity.
On the other hand, the film did start to engage with modest effect during the second half and the party’s journey across the island, which comes with a number of scenes where Steve Barker generates a reasonable tension. It also must be said that Dougray Scott establishes himself fairly well in one of the grizzled reluctant man of action roles that used to be handed to Harrison Ford.