Film Review: Zombie Tidal Wave

zombie tidal wave index

With a title like Zombie Tidal Wave anyone expecting a potential Palme D’Or winner was always going to be in need of severe psychiatric help, but I had vague hopes it was going to be a daft, fun ride as it’s from the director of the Sharknado series Anthony C. Ferrante who once again has teamed up with Ian Ziering for another SyFy flick, with them still messing about in the water but this time turning their attentions to zombies.

The Sharknado films are a guilty pleasure of mine (well, 1, 2, 5 and 6 at least) and somewhat surprisingly they managed to make four enjoyable films out of such a ridiculous concept which became crazier and crazier as the series went along, I mean by the end there was an army of robotic Tara Reid’s and they travelled through time all over the place which led to one scene featuring a gigantic shark eating a Tyrannosaurus Rex, so despite the dodgy dialogue and weak acting from some of the cast it was all but impossible not to enjoy aspects of them.

Unfortunately Zombie Tidal Wave lacks the best elements of those films and is a rather bland effort. In it Hunter Shaw (Ziering) and his two pals Ray (Shelton Jolivette) and Jada (Eliza D’Souza) are patrolling the ocean (though aren’t cops or coastguards for some unknown reason) when they discover a dead body that hey, unsurprisingly is an undead body, and soon Jada’s gushing blood all over the boat. Hunter meets up with the Sheriff (Erich Chikashi Linzbichler) to investigate the matter while Ray takes Jada to the hospital to be seen by Hunter’s doctor friend Kenzie (Cheree Cassidy), and for the kids there’s a bunch of teens including singer Dag (Will Jay) and Kenzie’s daughter Sam (Tatum Chiniquy) who are running about, though by the hour point the survivors have all met up together.

There are some amusing moments, Hunter kills some zombies using the propeller from a boat at one point and blows up a sod load of them with a rocket launcher the sheriff had confiscated from drug dealers, Dag sings a fun little ditty about the zombie uprising to distract the undead from munching on Sam, his drummer pal tries to fight zombies with his sticks, while a taser is used in quite a unique manner and a bit with a wood chipper made me chuckle, but most of the time there’s not much you won’t have seen many a time before in countless other zombie flicks.

Ferrante co-wrote the film with Darby Parker and Josh LeBlanc, from a story by Ian Ziering and Thunder Levin, but even with so many contributing to the script there’s very little that’s even close to being original here. As with the Sharknado films the dialogue’s dodgy – at one point a character says “Duty calls” and another responds with “More like Booty Calls” – but then anyone expecting Oscar Wilde-esque wit from this nonsense was always going to come away disappointed, this sort of idiocy is always about the big set pieces, ridiculous action scenes and campy silliness that made the Sharknado films so far.

Alas it’s also lacking on those fronts rather severely, and it’s clearly a very low budget affair too so while there are three zombie tidal waves we don’t get to see any of them hit the small town the action takes place in, just the after effects with the zombies stumbling around the place which is disappointing. A small budget should never have meant the zombie killing side of thing needed to be so average though, SyFy’s Z-Nation did that so much better and far more inventively while clearly not having much money behind it, so there’s no excuse for that part being poor.

While the cast in general are pretty decent I can’t understand how no one noticed that Erich Chikashi Linzbichler was such a terrible actor, at one point he says “You don’t know how glad I am to hear his voice” while sounding like he couldn’t be more bored by the news that his daughter’s still alive, if it were an independent film I’d presume he’d financed the majority of it but as it’s a SyFy effort I doubt that’s the case. Still, even if Anthony Hopkins was in the role it wouldn’t make it any more watchable, so perhaps it’s churlish to complain.

Given SyFy’s love for sequel after sequel and that not everyone dies by the time the end credits roll there could well be another outing, if not four or five. But if there is it really needs even more writers behind the script, or perhaps completely different ones, as it needs to be funnier and sillier and quite possibly stupider if it’s not to be yet another zombie film which is vaguely watchable but not anything more than that.

Alex Finch.
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