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Awaken the Dead

USA 2007
produced by
Michelle Brookshire, Jennifer Kilpatrick, Peter Elliott (executive), George J. Elliott (executive), Jon Kilpatrick (executive) for Silver Storm Productions
directed by Jeff Brookshire
starring Gary Kohn, Lindsey Morris, Nate Witty, Michael Robert Nyman, Paul Dion Monte, Will Harris, Aurora Corcuera, Dominiqua Alexis, Jeremy Jones, Sharon Senina, Krissy Sugatan, Robert Milo Andrus, Jane Lee, Liz Bauer, Mikki Mendoza, Matthew Bicera
written by Jeff Brookshire, music by Nathan Bonell, Ashkon Stone, special makeup effects by Michael Dinetz

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Priest Christopher (Gary Kohn), who will soon turn out to be a former state-funded assassin, breaks into the house of Jeremiah (Michael Robert Nyman) - to find not him but his estranged daughter Mary (Lindsey Morris), who blames her father for everything including her descent into prostitution. Christopher and Mary. The two of them soon get into argument after argument, but somehow they also feel drawn to each other (and will eventually have sex). Then though, it turns out that the whole village is under a sudden zombie siege, and there are many out there who need help - or at least need to be let into the house to evade zombies. Mary doesn't want any of this, figuring her chances better if she fends for herself and for herself alone, but Christopher is a priest and has to show mercy, professionally, so he lets in asshole after asshole, and somehow they all blow it, only a Jehova's witness, Stanley (Nate Witty), a complete klutz and coward, proves to have unexpected staying power.

Eventually, Christopher, Mary and Stanley find out a church not far away is a safe haven Jeremiah has provided for them, and they try to make it there - with Stanley being allowed to die a hero's death before the day's over.

Mary and Christopher meet Jeremiah, also a gouvernment assassin, in the church, to find out that the zombie siege was actually an army experiment in low budget/high efficiency warfare, and Mary and Christopher were the control group. That said though, Jeremiah's employers seem to have turned against him, and now they release the zombies on him before bombing the zombie-infested city to Kingdom Come.

Christopher and Mary make it out alive, but unbeknowest to them, they are still under the watchful eye of gouvernment agents.


Awaken the Dead starts out as yet another Night of the Living Dead-rehash, but after a while manages to break away from the formula, that had by 2007 grown all to rigid, to explore new directions - to at best mixed results: Basically, the film takes itself too seriously for its plot that can't deny its pulp roots, and there are a few too many gaping plotholes to rate the story as really well-told. Likewise, too much care is put into making the characters look "strong" while at the same time it's ignored that they are still just clichées. And their conversation about profound topics that are supposed to give the film depth come off as ... well, a bit corny. On the other hand, the film scores high when it comes to atmosphere, due to its very reduced colour scale (almost black and white actually), its nice use of sets and locations, and its pacing that understands to use the more quiet scenes fo full effect.

In all, not the best zombie movie by a longshot, but a valiant effort at least ... that could have done with a better script.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD