Although done on a very tight budget, THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED at moments is a successful fun film combining elements of a classic Western with a zombie movie. That's quite a strange combination. Yet, some good casting and acting make this movie about as effective at some moments as it could possibly be. While the film opens with a gunfight in a laughably cheap looking Western town, the film ends strongly with a brave stand against the zombie hoard, backed up by a soundtrack that seems a little like a moment from a classic Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western.
Makeup artist Ed Martinez deserves some special praise here for some very effective looking zombie makeup. He is a very talented movie specialist, creating some unique and memorable zombie characters, which added to some very frightening moments in the film. The scene where Camille Montgomery's character Rhiannon is being tracked down by a crawling, but very dangerous female zombie is an especially great scene, and the fantastic makeup by Ed Martinez for this scene was a large reason for the success of this scene. This was the best zombie character of the entire movie.
Actor David A. Lockhart did a fine job playing the lead character, Mortimer. And Rick Mora looked especially strong and handsome as Native American character Brother Wolf. Rick Mora was also a very effective actor as well. These are two fine actors who helped to carry this film on their shoulders who deserve to be in many more film projects.
For what writer/director Rene Perez had to work with here in the way of a budget, this film was about as effective as it could be. I only wish that they could have afforded to borrow a better looking Western town set. The buildings looked like part of some tourist trap, about big enough to qualify as made for kids, and only about six feet deep or something. The opening scene with the gunfight among these cheap looking buildings had me rolling with laughter, but as the film progressed, I found myself enjoying this movie enough to be satisfied.
It wasn't an entirely bad story either. David A. Lockhart's character was on a bounty hunt for Brother Wolf, who had to eventually form a partnership to survive the zombie plague. It seems that some gold miners found a strange green glowing meteorite, bringing it back to town, only to have it kill everyone, turning them into horrible undead mutants because of a space plague the meteorite carried.
Unlike some slow moving zombies in many films, these fast moving zombies seem especially dangerous and difficult to survive. And they like to eat on anything, not just necessarily brains. So, if you're a fast zombie fan, then this is your type of zombie film.
The Bottom Line: Not really a bad effort at once you get past the laughable cheap looking Western town set where the buildings look made for kids. I've seen kids playhouses nearly as good as these buildings. Some fine acting, effective casting, and great makeup saves this movie making it nearly good at moments. **1/2(Two and a half stars. What started out as yet another awful poor one star cheap independent horror flick, redeemed itself into a nearly three star movie at moments with a few good scenes as well as great acting and casting. Not half bad at all. Enjoyable enough to satisfy. I left this movie happy enough).