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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

February 28, 2008
RATING: 3.5/10
Automaton Transfusion is an embarrassment to the entire zombie movie genre. Before you start rolling your eyes, let's recognize that the body of films centered on the brainless resurrected constitutes a valid and noteworthy genre, made famous by the granddaddy of the undead flick, George Romero, with his ongoing and succinctly-titled Dead series. As has been noted time and time again by critics around the world, stories of the walking dead offer ample opportunity to showcase society's racial and socio-economic disputes at a shocking yet decidedly removed distance. From the original Night of the Living Dead to Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead to the hilarious Shaun of the Dead, filmmakers have shown that zombie movies can be funny, scary, and, um, well, biting. Automaton Transfusion, however, isn't any of these things. It is an amateurish effort full of bad acting and crappy visual effects, but a classic, it ain't.

The most noticeable and odd thing about the film is the poor video quality. Each frame stutters along in a very disconcerting manner, and while I'm not exactly sure what the reason for this is, I suspect it was shot on low-budget digital video or poorly transferred to film. Visual quality aside, Automaton Transfusion is still a terrible film. The plot revolves around a zombie attack on a group of high school students who fight back with shotguns, chainsaws, and axes. The zombies are a fast-moving breed, more like the raging virus-infected British citizenry of 28 Days Later than the loping moaners of Romero's legacy. There's really not much else to be said about the story, aside from the fact that it randomly draws on elements from other films: the teen movie's bully, the haunted house movie's creaky stairs, and the disaster movie's realization moment of military conspiracy. There are also gaping holes in the proceedings, which might be considered nitpicking in a film with more to comment on, but in the barrenness of Automaton Transfusion are quite noticeable. Several kids blockade themselves in an empty bar, retreating from a zombie onslaught, only to find a survivor hidden within. If he survived the attack on the bar, why the hell was he sitting in there with the door wide open? At least the squabbling band of nitwits in Shaun of the Dead had the sense to barricade the entrance to the pub they holed up in. Also, if the zombies are whipped into a frenzy at the smell of human flesh - a fact noted by characters in the film - why would they stop pounding on the doors once a flimsy stick is used to secure the handles? Near the beginning of the film, a student-turned-zombie attacks his professor; paramedics wheel the assaulted educator out the door, but apparently no one thought to deal with the zombie kid still roaming about. On cue the undead pupil bursts out of classroom and is promptly clunked on the head, but with nary a thought as to the strange nature of the attack. The film's moronic half-assedness is just flabbergasting.

OK, I'm gonna stop nerding out now, but not before flatly stating that Steven C. Miller's project, "indie" or not, is a pall upon this revered genre, and I, for one, am not having it. I'm all for low-budget filmmaking, especially in the horror genre. Classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween were leaders in independent filmmaking, made on shoestring budgets but without sacrificing their great focus on scares and plot. To paraphrase the illuminating Jules Winnfield, Automaton Transfusion is not only not in the same ballpark as the masterpieces of the zombie genre, it's not even the same sport. Do yourselves a favor and skip this one.

SEE ALSO: www.myspace.com/atransfusion

--
Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.

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