Army of the Dead Theatrical Poster / Netflix
The latest Zack Snyder film Army of the Dead was released on Netflix on May 14, 2021. This movie is undistilled “Snyder Cut” energy as Zack Snyder produced, wrote, directed, and was the cinematographer. The latter job put him in charge of the artistic and technical aspects of each shot. This movie is a zombie heist film set in Las Vegas that was isolated and left to rot following a zombie outbreak.
In the film Scott Ward played by incomparable Dave Bautista is tasked together with a crew to sneak into the quarantine zone, break into a casino vault, and steal 200 million dollars, all before a tactical nuclear strike is launched to obliterate the city. He enlists the aid of remaining members of his team from the evacuation of Las Vegas, Maria Cruz played by Ana de la Reguera, Vanderohe played by Omari Hardwick and Marianne Peters played by Tig Notaro. The team is supplemented by a safecracker Ludwig Dieter played by Matthias Schweighöfer and a pair of zombie-hunting gangbangers Mikey Guzman and Chambers portrayed by Raúl Castillo and Samantha Win respectively. With the addition of Garret Dillahunt as Martin, an agent of the casino owner who set up this mission this team set out to conduct the mission. Using the connections of Scott’s daughter Kate Ward as played by Ella Purnell the team gains her and Nora Arnezeder as Lily and Theo Rossi as Burt Cummings as they enter the quarantine zone. The action of the film goes from there but I will stop here to keep from spoiling the movie for you.
There is plenty that works in this film. The cast of the film is great, and we could have used more time with them. Despite only being seamlessly digitally inserted into the film after the removal of an actor that shall not be named, Tig Notaro steals every scene she is in. Along with delightfully quirky Matthias Schweighöfer’s interactions with Omari Hardwick, the cast lighten up what could be a dark film. The pacing of the film works as the run time is 2 hours 28 minutes was not evident when watching the movie. Additionally, the music selection and its use are excellent, which is to be expected from Snyder’s experience making music videos. The film is a showcase of what it takes to make a good fun film.
What does not work in the film is some of the plot and cinematography. Without getting into spoiler territory, the subplot with Scott’s Daughter Kate Ward could have been removed to make a much more concise film. Also, the opening montage setting up Scott’s team set the bar high for the action of the film, and it would have been nice to see the team do more throughout the film. Zack Snyder chose to use a deliberately shallow depth of field in the shots, which left much of the film out of focus. This choice was very distracting and would have better been served by delegating this role in production.
Overall, this film is enjoyable, and a fresh take on the zombie genre. I would avoid it if you are of a more squeamish ilk as this movie is quite enthusiastically gory. If you enjoy the film, a prequel is in the works directed by Matthias Schweighöfer set during the early stages of the outbreak. Additionally, an anime-style series following Scott Ward’s team during the zombie outbreak is coming too, with the cast providing the voice work for this effort. It looks like Zack Snyder’s return to the genre is going to keep going for a while.
To celebrate this film we at the AFK tavern have put together a small theme menu.
Zombie Tiger (Martini Glass)
1.5 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Orange Juice
½ oz Lemon Juice
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
Gratuitous Gore (Highball Glass w/ Ice)
1 oz Vodka
0.5 oz Passion Fruit Liqueur
5 oz Lemonade
Add alcohols and lemonade to the highball glass with ice. Pour a heavy float of grenadine until you have many streaks in the drink.
A Zombie in a Goddamn Cape (Drop shot, Pint Glass and Large Shot Glass)
0.25 oz Gold Rum
0.25 oz White Rum
0.25 oz Apricot Brandy
0.25 oz Pineapple Juice
0.25 oz Passion Fruit Juice
Splash 151 Rum
0.5 oz Vodka
3.5 oz Cranberry Juice
Add the rums and pineapple and passion fruit juices to the shot glass. Splash 151 rum and Grenadine to the shot glass. Add vodka and cranberry juice to a pint glass. Drop the shot into a pint glass and chug.