Billed as the first Taiwanese zombie movie and coming to DVD this month is Zombie 108, a typical biohazard turned deadly affair with plenty of gore, undead, and definitely too much torture-porn style violence. Directed by Joe Chein this movie is a wildly meandering affair whose incoherence is matched only by it’s level of insanity.
The story, such as it is, follows the release of a virus in Taipei that (as is almost always the way) just happens to create a hoard of undead, flesh craving zombies. Opening to a desaturated and desolate city scene with cars crashed or left in reckless abandon we meet one of the many many characters that pop up throughout (to the degree that it’s difficult to keep track of them) and soon we realise the zombie peril that has befallen the city. Add to this Triad gangsters, strippers, CIA agents, a misogynistic rapist/pervert, a plethora of ancillary characters, and a SWAT team sent in to presumably try and evacuate any unharmed civilians and we have a fairly big cast of largely throwaway characters most of which are interchangeable and not even remotely compelling.
Zombie 108 features the fast running type of undead rather than the shambling, slow, walk of terror kind, and that works well when there are large groups of them attacking en masse. The make-up and effects are passable to good, especially considering the presumably sparse production budget. Unfortunately the action sequences, rather like the story, are completely unintelligible because of the stylistic decision to use shaky camera shots and fast quick jump cuts that rather than adding to the tension or upping the pace create confusions as to what is on screen.
As the situation degrades and the zombies take out more and more of the cast the few that are left somehow all end up in the home of a bizarre sadistic creep who kidnaps women and keeps them in his torture-rape basement. At this point the story has become so muddled and confusing, not to mention the frequent scenes of very difficult to watch violent-torture-porn exploitation, that Zombie 108 becomes almost entirely unwatchable. Perhaps if you are a hardcore zombie fan (I count myself as a zombie fan, but perhaps I’m not hardcore enough) this will be of interest as yet another example of flesh eating monsters, this time of a largle asian variety, but overall between the muddled story, the bad acting, and the less than stellar storyline Zombie 108 falls a bit short of being a decent genre depiction.
Zombie 108 is out on DVD July 30.