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  • Rev Horror

Zombie Chronicles: Infection Zone

Dir. Joe Sherlock (2023)

A coroner watches horror movies on the overnight shift in this anthology film from Skullface Astronaut.

Filmmaking is often like the old adage for restaurant quality: good, fast, and cheap... pick two. Of course there is a third element to the quality of a film, and that's the talent of the person behind the camera and the cast in front of it. Indie filmmaker extraordinaire Joe Sherlock has a tremendous gift in these two areas, being able to put things on camera that appeal directly to his chosen audience and utilizing a rotating cast and crew filled with locals that are willing to do what needs to be done to deliver a quality product. He and his crew manage to put together all three of those descriptors above, making good quality indie horror incredibly quickly, and using just a little bit more than pocket change to do so.

A coroner is working the overnight shift and is entertaining himself with random horror videos left behind by a coworker. Each video tells a different story in this anthology film, filled with zombie goodness and a ton of terrible storytelling and disgusting gore. There is a story about a zombie nudist camp (that never actually makes it all the way to the camp due to the quality of the VHS), a short about a surgeon who is buying black market organs for his daughter, and an emotionally wrought film about a couple who loses a baby in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. All three stories combine very well into the wraparound and create an indie anthology with a lot of heart... and guts.

The best thing about Sherlock's films is that you always know what you're going to get going in: disgusting gore, ridiculous and over-the-top plots, and lots and lots (and lots) of body-positive nudity. It's exactly the type of indie production that you like to see, a movie that knows exactly what it is and is satisfied with that. It's ok with bad acting, because it doesn't need anything more than that. And the acting is terrible at times, make no mistake. It's also hilarious, each part of the cast committing fully to a movie that's going to make you laugh a lot more than it's going to make you afraid. Zombie Chronicles fits well into Sherlock's filmography, and its anthology-style storytelling is a lot like several of his other films that we've covered (Odd Noggins, Channel 99, Beyond the Wall of Fear).

Zombie Chronicles utilizes a stellar throwback score, straight out of the 50's sci-fi classics, to build the mood, a mainstay of Sherlock's repertoire. The sound design is also fantastic, knowing when to be loud, when to be quiet, and making sure the audience can always hear the dialogue. That doesn't seem like a whole lot to ask, but if you've seen as many indie flicks as I have, you know that it absolutely is. The gore, likewise, is excellent, with missing faces and ripped off body parts out the wazoo. It's not realistic, not by any stretch, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. The cast is filled with Skullface Astronaut players, almost all of whom have been in multiple Sherlock films in the past, and all of whom have a blast in their roles. Thankfully, the fun translates to the audience as well, and this one is a greatly enjoyable experience.

Sherlock's films don't translate to every audience. If you're looking for artistic indie horror that are gonna be up for a Spirit award (which I don't even think exists anymore), you're not gonna find it here. If you're a fan of dumb schlock that's particularly well done, Joe's your man, and Zombie Chronicles: Infection Zone will be right up your alley. I'm a fan of the type of films he makes, and I will never hesitate to throw him some love anytime I come across more of his films. You shouldn't either, and if you like this type of film, I highly recommend giving this one a look.

Who this movie is for: Indie anthology lovers, Zombie movie buffs, Unprofessional autopsy workers

Bottom line: Zombie Chronicles: Infection Zone is a hell of a lot of fun and very well done for the type of film that it is. The actors do a great job in their roles, except for when they aren't supposed to, and the gore is pretty stellar for a cheapie indie flick. This one is streaming on Tubi, and I definitely recommend checking it out. I will support pretty much anything Joe Sherlock does: he's a super nice dude and a helluvan indie filmmaker. If you get the chance, give it a watch, and grab a few of his movies at Skullface Astronaut's webstore. And as always, stick around in the credits for some gag reels!

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