Being a native New Yorker and knowing people who lost loved ones on September 11, one would think I could be somewhat offended by a movie that resurrects Osama bin Laden as a zombie. However, I can’t blame direct-to-DVD filmmakers from utilizing the most vilified terrorist of the twenty-first century as the center of an action-horror film that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. After all, the company who is distributing the movie, Entertainment One, also put out Iron Sky on DVD (i.e. the Nazis on the moon movie), so one could say using real-life evils as the basis for movie bad guys is right up their alley.
Anyway, Osombie opens with the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, but where it strays from the version you’ll likely see in Zero Dark Thirty is that Seal Team Six finds themselves face to face with a horde of zombies. Though they manage to get by them and kill bin Laden (Walter A. Carmona), he manages to have enough time to inject himself with a compound that reanimates him after he is killed. Though bin Laden’s body does end in the ocean, as it did in real life, this Osama bin Laden is not quite dead… well, actually, he is undead. He soon emerges from the Arabian Sea as a mindless killer.
But soon it is clear that bin Laden is not the only Taliban zombie. The main storyline follows Dusty (Eve Mauro), who is searching for her brother, Derek (Jasen Wade), in Afghanistan, a conspiracy theorist who believes that bin Laden is still alive and won’t believe otherwise unless he kills bin Laden himself. She is rescued from a zombie attack by a multinational Special Forces team who have been fighting against the terrorist zombies. One of the team members is Chip (Corey Sevier), a hotheaded soldier who finds any excuse to take his shirt off (this counts as “character development,” I think).
The multinational Special Forces team crack jokes as they kill endless amounts of zombies. Most of the joking is done by the aptly-codenamed Joker (Paul D. Hunt). Surprisingly, they are quite chatty for a movie about a sneaky, secret mission to find the source of the zombie outbreak. The team’s numbers dwindle as more and more of them are killed by the zombies as they search for the source of the zombies and bin Laden’s reanimated corpse himself.
The best and the worst thing I can say about Osombie is that it’s the exact movie you’d expect it be. It’s a movie about undead Taliban zombies. If you read that line and say “AWESOME!” you’ll love this film, but if you read that line and roll your eyes you should probably skip it. The action scenes are done well — though you’ll have to ignore the digital blood/gunshots that have become a standard of direct-to-DVD action movies — and the acting is above-average for a movie with this kind of budget. Director John Lyde, a direct-to-DVD veteran, has done an admirable job of making a decent action-horror film out of an inherently silly concept without too much cheese. On the other hand, writer Kurt Hale has written a script that really could have used a lot less talking and attempts at “character development” and a lot more splattering. Perhaps the special effects budget was limited, but I don’t think anyone is seeing a movie like this for discussions about government defense spending. All that dialogue doesn’t make the simplistic plot any better, so why not stick to the zombie-killing action?
Features? None of those here unless you count the trailer. That’s really disappointing, because I would’ve loved to have seen a feature with the filmmakers talking about how this project came about.
Movie Rating: An action-horror film that’s solid enough for late night viewing (4.5/10).
Disc Rating: With no special features, you’re better off renting Osombie rather than buying it (1.5/10).
Osombie will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 11 from Entertainment One.