Cut loose from its Grindhouse packaging Robert Sin City Rodriguez’s freaky, apocalyptic horror film is undoubtedly the baddest, nastiest and least well behaved child to come out of that divorce. But in this case that’s a very good thing.
When an experimental chemical weapon is accidentally released at a Texan military unit, the locals start turning into flesh eating zombies. When the survivors start holing up in the local hospital, a bloody siege begins with only moody mechanic Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), stripper Cherry (Rose McGowan) and dysfunctional doctors William and Dakota Block (Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton) holding fort until the military can get there.
By tailoring this gloriously wild and unhinged high-octane horror to half-remembered B movies and straight to video horror tripe from the 1970s and 80s Rodriguez has produced a gruesome hybrid of cinematic quotations, messy pastiche and pure meltdown. With references made to works as diverse as Philippine horror maestro Gerardo de Leon’s 1971 prison flick Women in Cages, Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 (1979), George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981) and even long forgotten 70s drifter motorcycle hero TV series Along Came Bronson starring young Mr B Movie himself, Michael Parks, this is a joy for strong-stomached cineastes. With great cameos from Bruce Willis, old pal Tarantino and Parks himself this is more fun than you can point a prosthetic leg machine gun at. Arguably the best horror film of the year.
Out now on general release.