Director – Steven C. Miller
Cast – Garret Jones, Juliet Reeves, William Howard Bowman, Rowan Bousaid, Ashley Elizabeth Pierce, Kendra Farner, Joel Hebner, Kevin J. O’Neill
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Automation Transfusion is a film I had been avoiding for quite some time, mostly because I just did not want to watch it, and partly because of the constant negative buzz I had read regarding it. My buds over at www.bloody-disgusting.com(whom I contribute reviews to) had some positive remarks regarding the flick, and based on that I figured I’d just give it a watch and see what happened. Well, the film was not great, but it was not nearly as bad as I figured it would be, resulting in some of the best zombie action I have seen in recent time.
Three friends on their way to a big rock concert find themselves in the middle of a sudden zombie onslaught of unknown origin. They run at first, but when faced with near-certainty of death they are forced to join forces with whoever comes their way and fight back against the zombies, resulting in non-stop gore and zombie mayhem.
Filmed in 9 days for $30,000 by a director fresh out of Full Sail University’s film school, this film is not supposed to be good, it just isn’t. However, just because it isn’t supposed to be good doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable, which it is for the most part thanks to the film’s diabolical zombies.
The storyline is far from original, but for me it works because I enjoy the idea of a group of friends leaving for what is supposed to be a fun night, and instead coming across truly utter chaos. Not only are they running for their lives from a hoard of the undead, but the mental anguish involved with knowing that their family and friends have most likely fallen victim to the undead adds to the horror felt. Watching our protagonists run from one setting to another was a very enjoyable plot idea, and one that I love to see in every horror film, especially those involving an apocalypse of some sort. It helps the film “move”, and keeps the viewer engaged during the slow or lesser quality scenes(if applicable). It seems so far that all I have is praise for this story, but it comes with its own faults in the form of dialogue and character use, but the fun elements thrown into the overall story make up for them.
Director Steven C. Miller was hit and miss for me, with the hit being his amazing usage and execution of the insane zombie carnage we get, and the miss being that fact that I HATED how it was shot. We get way too many uses of close-up shaky cam that I found to be pretty darn annoying and had me hating the film at first. Sadly, Miller keeps up his unfavorable filming style throughout the rest of the film, and while I found it unfavorable 90% of the time I felt that it worked positively during the scenes with the giant hoard of zombies attacking the unlucky soon-to-be-undead victims. Thankfully, as I have mentioned numerous times, the zombie action in this film is top-notch, and as Brad Miska of B-D put it, came off very much like the “infected” carnage we get in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. I admit that I am still not a fan of running ZOMBIES, but the runners we get in this watch did great in providing high intensity horror, so I can live with it. Now to the film’s biggest selling point, the gore. I was very impressed with the insane amount of live-action gore thrown into this film, as well as the creative and zany kill sequences we get that just bleed cheeziness. While I loved all of the gore, given that this watch only required a mere $30,000 to deliver insane live-action gore, why can’t Romero give us live-action gore with a much bigger budget? I know a lot more factors weigh into his films, but still.
Overall, Automation Transfusion is a truly insane zombie film that while coming horribly shot as far as cinematography goes, comes with lots of awesome zombie action and insane gore sequences that turn what should have been a horrible watch into a borderline positive effort.