Video game movies. Let’s be honest with ourselves: even if we love them, we can admit that most of them are…bad. Some are so bad they are good, but almost universally, they are poor adaptations of the games we love. So when I heard about the production of “Dead Rising: Watchtower” I marked it as another adaptation, and promptly forgot about it. However, as Wondercon rolled around, I received an email to let me know that the movie had debuted, and the cast would be at the con to promote it. Curious, I decided to watch it, and see how it stood up to other adaptations. The film is exclusively on Crackle.com, a free tv/movie services that pays for itself via advertisements.
I will say this with all honesty: “Dead Rising: Watchtower” is good. And good in a good way, not in a ‘so bad it’s good,’ way. From a pure production standpoint, the special effects (practical ones!!), the sound design, sets, and cinematography are great. There is in particular one ‘single shot’ scene that is definitely worth the watch, alone. It’s clear that the producers and directors worked hard to make best of their budget, and wanted to make a high quality, glossy film.
Plot wise, the movie takes place between games 2 and 3. Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe) is a reporter who becomes trapped in the city when zombrex (a drug that keeps zombies human for 24 hours), starts to fail. He runs into Crystal O’Rourke (Meghan Ory), and Maggie (Virginia Madsen), and they have one simple goal: survive and get out. Along the way, of course, there are run ins with gangs, zombies, and the over hanging question–why did the zombrex fail, and did the government have something to do with it? On the outside, fellow reporter Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) tries her best to get Chase out, and unravel the mystery that General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) seems so intent on keeping quiet. Interspersed within the main story line are reports from a tv channel where Frank West (A hilarious turn by Rob Riggle) gives advice to those stuck in quarantine, and serves as way to get the watcher back into the plot after commercial breaks.
The plot itself is solid, and the cast does a great job with the script–they all clearly are having a blast with it, and their enthusiasm shows. And of course, as it is a Dead Rising adaptation, there are combo-weapons. Both old ones, and some new inventions–so zombies are killed in new and fun ways. And really, isn’t that what we all want from a zombie film? In a market that is saturated with zombie media right now, this movie stood out to me, in all the right ways.
Interested? Watch the movie for free on CRACKLE.COM Direct Link right here!
Watch the movie first, if you care for spoilers! For the interviews definitely have some!
Interview with Jesse Metcalfe:
Interview with Dennis Haysbert & Zach Lipovsky:
Interview with Tim Carter & Tomas Harlan:
Pictures from the panel, here: