Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix project Army of the Dead, a zombie heist film set in Las Vegas, will feature 90% practical zombies effects.
Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix zombie film Army of the Dead will feature zombies done with mostly practical effects. This film plays a significant role in Snyder’s filmography, as it will be his first return to the zombie genre after his directorial debut with 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake. It will also be the first non-superhero movie he directed since 2011’s Sucker Punch. While little is known about the plot of Army of the Dead, the film is being marketed as a “zombie heist” flick – with the core story surrounding a group of mercenaries who plan a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak.
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The continuous reliance on CGI and abandonment of practical, on set effects has been a topic of discussion among movie fans for the past couple of decades. In particular, horror fans have been clamoring for a return to the style of effects that were seen in classics from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. As computer technology continues to be more accessible and streamlined, it has simply become more cost-effective for many productions to use CGI in place of what would have been a practical effect several decades ago. While good CGI can be effective and is appropriate to use in certain cases, many horror fans argue that the tactile feeling you get from a practical creature or effect is necessary to create compelling horror.
In an interview with TheFilmJunkee, Snyder mentioned that the zombies in Army of the Dead will be “90% practical.” On top of featuring practical zombies, Snyder also mentioned that he worked hard to make the action sequences as compelling and fun as possible. Snyder worked with his longtime collaborator and stunt coordinator Damon Caro, who worked on 300, Justice League, Sucker Punch, and many other films, to create fun and interesting “zombie war” fight scenes. Check out his full quote below:
“90% of our zombies are completely practical. The zombie war, the action sequences and the fighting, my longtime collaborator Damon Caro and I worked hard to create some insane zombie mayhem. The thing about the movie that I think will be really exciting for people is the tone. That kind of tone where the movie has fun but doesn’t make fun. I really wanted to make a no holds barred, zombie genre insanity.”
Practical zombies aren’t the only thing horror junkies have to look forward to. According to Army of the Dead actor Garret Dillahunt, Snyder aims to “reinvent” the zombie genre. While specific details are not known, Dillahunt says that the film disregards certain parts of the historic “zombie canon,” and purposefully attempts to bring the genre into new places. This could speak to Snyder’s claim about “having fun without making fun” – a conscious disregard for zombie tradition, while also honoring a time where most creatures were brought to life practically.
While no definitive statement can be made one way or the other about the film so far – what we have seen looks promising. Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is generally considered to be his most critically successful film, so a return to the zombie genre is exciting news regardless. The idea that the film will explore the well-worn zombie trope in new ways and feature mostly practical zombie effects seems like the best of both worlds. While it remains to be seen if Army of the Dead will be a good film – horror fans should be excited for a fresh take on the genre.
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