Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Jonathon Straiton.
Starring MIchael Merchant, Felix Cortes, Jason Delgado.
Horror, US, 94 minutes, certificate 15.


Available on digital from 14th August



Humans are in danger of being wiped out in a world ravaged by a zombie plague. Escaping into this barren wasteland, plagued by copious amounts of digital plug-in fire effects and obvious green screen backgrounds as well as the pale-faced undead, is a mute human/zombie hybrid evading the staff of the medical facility who have been looking for a cure to the zombie outbreak. Captured by the ruthless bounty hunter Jonray, the mismatched pair soon develop a relationship as the malevolent and ruthless corporation comes looking for their property.


So once again, we are back in a zombie-ridden dystopian future where society seems to have broken down and taken off for the season. Well-trodden ground for sure, so when yet another low-budget effort like this turns up, it better be doing something different to justify its viewing time. Sadly, this low-grade effort does next to nothing to justify its existence. Low in ambition as it is in budget, the film offers no worthwhile reason to invest the ninety minutes of your time it takes to watch it.


If my synopsis of the plot sounds muddled and slight, that is because it is muddled and slight, like everything else in the film. To go along with the near non-existent plot are a brace of characters who all have to suffer through interminable dialogue, either delivered very loudly or quietly and sometimes, to add a bit of spice, very slowly and repetitively. The titular character, however, gets to avoid such indignities as he is mute and keeps his face hidden behind a ski mask for the entirety of the film, therefore making no impression on the viewer or next to none on the film’s storyline itself.


The only spark of life in the film comes from Felix Cortes as Jonray, a real-life martial artist who displays some real skill that comes across in the well-choreographed fight scenes. Director Jonathon Straiton knows how to let these combat scenes unfold by keeping the camera at the right distance and not taking any short cuts that many films with much bigger budgets often feel compelled to take. Such a shame, then, that this same sense of skill is not applied to the rest of the film with its all too noticeable cheap digital effects.


Zombie films on a low budget can achieve something different and compelling with a low budget, Jeremy Gardner’s THE BATTERY or Marc Price’s COLIN being two prime examples. Sadly, JOHNNY Z is far from either of these films with its lacklustre attempts to tell its own anaemic story. By the time you get to the ending of this film, however, you can only feel that the threat of the open ending promising a sequel is a bit too much, adding one more needless zombie film to a severely overpopulated field.


Iain MacLeod.




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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans