Army of the Dead Review: Zombie Movies are Cool Again

Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead hit Netflix over the weekend a week after its theatrical release in select theaters. Netflix tap director Zack Snyder on this one, so the question is: Should you skip it or watch it?

Read on this review to find out.

Smarter, Faster, Organized

Cue Zombie by The Cranberries as Dave Bautista headlines this zombie heist movie from visionary director Zack Snyder. Army of the Dead marks the filmmaker’s debut on the streaming giant, Netflix. Originally written by Snyder himself after the success of his remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in 2004, the zombie heist film finally got the greenlight in 2019 with Netflix backing it up.

A decade and a half later, the undead are back. This time, they are faster, smarter, and organized and yeah, there’s a zombie tiger too. And oh, let’s not forget, there’s a 200-million dollar locked in a vault surrounded by Vegas zombies at stake here.

The Zack Snyder Style

So taking all of those wild plotlines in, there is really no other director that could possibly tackle all of those in one movie than the master himself, Zack Snyder. The legendary director of the recently released Zack Snyder’s Justice League aka the #SnyderCut is in full control this time around. As he should be.

Snyder’s inimitable filmmaking style is on full display here with those distinct slow-motion sequences that look effortlessly cool. The flawless integration of computer-generated effects, the effectiveness of those green screens. This really feels like a Zack Snyder movie. Army of the Dead is a great combo of great action sequences and impeccable sense of humor.

Actors Dave Bautista (Scott Ward) and Ella Purnell (Kate Ward) feels like a great father-daughter tandem. Omari Hardwick (Vanderohe) and Ana de la Reguera (Maria Cruz) are great supporting actors. Matthias Schweighöfer (Ludwig Dieter) and Tig Notaro (Marianne Peters) are show-stealers. Nora Arnezeder (Lily/The Coyote) and Samantha Win (Chambers) are real butt-kickers. The cast and the characters they play are neither shallow nor that deep but layered enough to be memorable.

Maybe Too Long?

Snyder’s Army of the Dead is 2 hours and 28 minutes long. Highly unusual for the zombie genre to have this long of a runtime. Some would even say it may be too long. And indeed, it is. Still, from a storytelling standpoint, I feel the runtime is just right. I don’t believe the movie would feel complete otherwise. We’ll just have to survive some of the boring parts, though.

This, for me, is where Zack Snyder needs to find the balance. Most of his films always feels like it’s never going to end. Sure, it makes for a more compelling story, but it also starts to become like a trip to SnoozeVille at some point. 2.5 hours is still a long runtime for a movie even more so for a zombie movie.

Balance, dude. Balance.

Skip or Watch?

Army of the Dead is definitely a highlight of Zack Snyder’s filmmaking career. The action sequences are always fun, and the humor is on point. Packed with an awesome cast headed by Dave Bautista and Ella Purnell, the movie is a sure-fire way to spice up your weekend movie nights.

Army of the Dead makes zombie movies cool again.


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