The first 20 minutes of Army of the Dead are an absolute joy to watch. After an efficient, no-nonsense explanation of how the zombie apocalypse came to pass, we’re treated to a bombastic montage showing the fall of Sin City, all set to the dulcet tones of Richard Cheese crooning (what else?) ‘Viva Las Vegas’. As a self-contained short film, it’s almost perfect. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make up for the slog of watching the two hours that come after.

It’s been nearly two decades since Zack Snyder’s last zombie film, and in fairness he has tried to breathe new life into the undead. The idea of ‘Alphas’ – a new caste of brain-eater that are smarter than the average zombie – is a fun wrinkle, as is the instantly iconic zombified white tiger.

But the best zombies are never just zombies. They represent the things we fear the most: rampant capitalism, the encroaching Other, the ravages of disease. In Army of the Dead, the zombies seem to exist only so our group of grizzled thieves have something to shoot at. It’s a particularly egregious cop-out considering Snyder’s decision to cast former Trump press secretary and fascism-enabler Sean Spicer in a bizarre cameo.

Nor does the film work particularly well as a heist movie. That genre relies on having characters that are interesting and memorable, but ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ this lot certainly ain’t. Only Tig Notaro and Matthias Schweighöfer stand out, as a chopper pilot and safe-cracker respectively.

This is the second time this year that Zack Snyder has been given carte blanche and the GDP of a small nation to make a movie with. But while his cut of Justice League was positively groaning under the weight of all its themes and ideas, Army of the Dead has absolutely no substance beneath all of its opulence. 



CAST: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro 

DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder

WRITERS: Zack Snyder (story by), Shay Hatten and Jay Harold (screenplay by)

SYNOPSIS: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

About The Author


Phil is a copywriter from Sheffield with an unhealthy addiction to Lotus Biscoff cookies and Henderson's Relish (though not at the same time, that would be weird). When he's not writing, he spends his time fruitlessly trying to convince people that The World's End is the best movie in Edgar Wright's 'Cornetto Trilogy'.