It’s an imaginative title, I know. On August 1, 2011, the UK will see the DVD release of Cowboys & Zombies, previously released here in the States under the title of The Dead and the Damned.
I was excited about this. The combination of zombies and the Western genre has been pretty successful, with games like Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare and books like Eric S. Brown’s How the West Went to Hell. I had high hopes for this independent effort, written and directed by Rene Perez and starring David Lockhart, Camille Montgomery, Rick Mora, and Robert Amstler.
The movie opens with a pretty decent gunfight, but really drops off from there. A bounty hunter is strapped for cash, and goes after a notorious Indian who is wanted for rape and murder. The citizens of the old Western town find a strange glowing-green meteorite and open it up, releasing CG radiation and turning them all into angry, fast zombies. And you can pretty much figure out where it goes from there.
My two biggest problems with this were the lack of originality — there’s really no guesswork here — and the dragging plot. I thought of Creepshow as soon as I saw the meteorite sequence — the Stephen King meteorite segment. And there are just so many traveling sequences. You see a lot of walking around. I almost fell asleep during the drawn-out, actionless dialogue scene between the bounty hunter and the Indian.
Not to mention the blatant CG that plagues the film. I already mentioned the radiation being computer-generated, but a lot of the blood is unquestionably CG and sticks out badly.
I might as well add that I had a problem with the lead actor as well — David Lockhart has the bounty hunter. He comes across as neither rugged nor tough, and his soft, high-pitched voice doesn’t help.
But I will say that I enjoyed the look of the zombies. I loved the sequence inside the house when the blind zombie is stalking the girl. The makeup was done very well, and the scene was pretty well done, even if there were some things about it that didn’t make much sense.
Yeah, I was disappointed by this one. Lots of promise, with little delivery. I give it a 3/10.