Gothenburg is being over run with zombies and to help regain control of the city a special forces unit is brought it; three men who are professional zombie hunters. Seems like any other day for our zombie killers but something evil is behind the resurrection of the dead, something that might be too great of a match for the zombie hunters.
I've been meaning to watch and review "Die Zombiejäger" for awhile now because it has apparently garnered quite a bit of attention among the Swedish horror crowd. The Swedish distro company Sick Films (now Dark Entertainment) was pushing "Die Zombiejäger" like hell. So there had to be something to it, right? I mean, it's considered to be a "smash it" and a "cult title" so it should be worthwhile. No, it's not at all actually. In fact, out of all of the Swedish movies I have watched, this has been without question the most frustrating and infuriating one that I've seen.
Now, what "Die Zombiejäger" is suppose to be about is a zombie invasion that takes place in Gothenburg and three "professional" zombie killers are brought in to resolve the situation. These three men walk through the abandoned city killing all zombies they come across in order to find the source of the infestation (a supernatural source). Their journey comes to ahead when they run into Dragonetti; a notorious assassin who's been turned into a monster by the same people who are responsible for the zombie outbreak. Can the zombie hunters finish their mission and stop the undead from talking over the world? I don't know! The movie does dick to make coherent story with sensible solution.
That's why I have such an issue with this movie: I have no idea what Jonas Wolcher or anybody involved were trying to accomplish with "Die Zombiejäger". Not even getting into the story aspect; I have no idea if this was suppose to be a serious movie, if it was suppose to be an ironic bad movie, or if it was suppose to be a horror-comedy. "Die Zombiejäger" never seems to have a grasp on what kind of tone it wants to have. If it’s supposed to be serious, then it did a terrible job as the movie is so bad in every way that it is impossible to take seriously. If it was suppose to be one of those intentionally bad movies, it failed there as well because it's never one of those "bad in a good way", it's just bad. It's never entertaining or funny; rather it’s just frustrating as hell. I don't even want to hear about it relating to budgetary issues because that doesn't have anything to do with it.
"Die Zombiejäger" is an awful movie because it's a total mess - every aspect of the movie failed. I will allow the movie to have the excuse of inexperience since a lot of the problems are because the movie is an amateur product. Though, that excuse only works so well because the "lack of experience" wouldn't be an issue if people would first make short films and understand the concept of movie making, story telling, and to find their "voice". You don't do that with a feature length, because if you do, you end up with a movie like "Die Zombiejäger" - a fucking disaster.
One of the big reasons it's such a frustrating watch, because as I said, the people behind the camera can't seem to ever decide on what they want to do with the movie or what they want it to be. The other reason is that it failed on a technical level as well. The plot is incoherent and like the tone, doesn't seem to know what it wants to do. It doesn't know what kind of story it wants to tell, it doesn't know what to do with the characters, and there never felt like there was any sort of real resolution to it. The beginning goes no where other then setting up the bit with the character Dragonetti and it tries to also setup the zombie hunter characters, but once again, ultimately goes nowhere and does little more than waste time. Not to mention the zombie hunters do not fit with the movie and feel more like caricatures rather than characters. A great deal of the movie is spent with the zombie hunters walking around the city killing zombies (Trust me, this isn't as good as you may think.) having banal conversations until the movie ultimately ends with their confrontation with zombie-Dragonetti. Nothing is ever done with the "Evil" that is responsible for the zombies and monsters - something that just seemed thrown in to give sort of a reason but without explanation.
Tone. Story. These are crucial things needed to make a successful horror movie and it felt like they were handled very lazily and poorly, which could have been because of a lack of experience and knowledge, but I honestly don't think so. When things like the acting, editing, camera work, sound, music, also being handled with the same poor execution as the main ingredients for a movie, there are no excuses anymore. All of the failed elements seem to come together to become the cherry on top of a shit sundae, and goddammit, I don't want to eat any of it.
I guess why I'm so frustrated and so angry with "Die Zombiejäger" is because they seemed to have the resources and the ideas to make something good, but they didn't. A lot of potential was pissed away, and for what? Because someone didn't want to take the time to hone and craft a skill with short films and practice? They wanted to jump in feet first with a feature length movie? Why? Honestly, I can't for the life of me understand why this movie has received any sort of attention. It should have been left to fall into the sea of obscurity and let Jonas Wolcher chalk it up to practice and experience, and moved onto the next project, hopefully learning from the mistakes. Instead it was given an overpriced "ultimate DVD" treatment and now people are being charged to be taken on a tour of filming locations. Again, why? What has this movie accomplished to justify things like things of that nature? What part of it was good enough that even the most deranged mind would consider this a cult movie? This movie is so far gone from real cult first features like "The Evil Dead" or "Bad Taste" and is more relatable to movies like "Black Devil Doll from Hell" or "Sledgehammer". "Die Zombiejäger" is a terrible movie that is nothing more than a glorified backyard production and would probably only be enjoyed by those who like those types of movies.