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DVD Review

DVD cover

Army of the Dead


Starring: Ross Kelly, Stefani Marchesi and Miguel Martinez
Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 13 September 2010

An archaeology professor and a small group of his students are taking an exploratory trip across Mexico's Baja Peninsula. They have VW Bugs specially adapted for the desert terrain. At a camp fire, he tells a ghost story about a Conquistador called Coranado who in 1590 ordered a thousand soldiers to find El Dorado, the city of gold. They never returned. The professor has his own motives for being in this part of the desert; he has found the location from the story, but Coranado's undead skeleton army protects the gold. The students soon find themselves drawn into a desperate battle of wits for their own survival...

Hmm. The moment I noticed Indiana Jones, Mars Attacks and Jason & the Argonauts invoked on the promotional blurb I suspected Army of the Dead would be severely lacking. I didn't know the half of it! I was expecting a humorous piece, and that format might have helped this film succeed. However, there isn't anywhere near enough meat on the bones to sustain it (no pun intended). The movie relies almost totally on the presence of the skeletons, and make no bones about it (Sorry! Perhaps the puns are intended), the effects are so cheap and nasty they look for all the world like they've been crayoned on by a hyperactive toddler. In truth, although many years have passed between the stop motions effects of the original Jason & the Argonauts and the recent Army of the Dead, I can say in all confidence that the former still stands out as being much more eerie and spectacular.

There is an attempt to produce a teen horror into the mix here. Having a couple accompanied by friends, one particular girl of which is his ex who wants him back, doesn't really produce the required conflict. It's simply the means to an end to get them into the cave with the skeletons. So, basically it's a case of... Moving along please, there's nothing to see here! As a consolation, I do like the film tag line: Never trust a skeleton with a machine gun...


Ty Power

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