“Wasting away” is also available under the alternate title “Aaah! Zombies!!” and takes a page from “return of the living dead”, scripted and directed by Dan O’Bannon whose prolific career includes collaboration with John Carpenter on “Dark Star”, Ronald Shusett on “Alien”, adapting and scripting “total recall” and another obscure little film titled “screamers” based on a Philip K. Dick story “second variety”. “Wasting away”, then, begins with a military transport dumping its load of chemical containers filled with failed research fluids, originally intended to create super-soldiers, but really turning them into raving zombies.
The dumping, by the way, happens as a result of deluded Nick Steele (Colby French), a former soldier turned kind of vigilante, determined to blow the lid on the Army’s evil research. Blocking the Army truck’s path, he gets hit by it since the two doofuses in the cab kept arguing and failed to see him.
Barrels roll off the back of the truck and spill their contents onto the road, into gutters, and you have a city on the cusp of contamination.
Here’s where “wasting away” gets cute: the scenes involving the living are shot in black and white but the scenes involving the zombies as they see themselves are in color.
They a group of four friends, nice guy Tim (Michael Grant Terry) and his girlfriend Cindy (Betsy Beutler), jockish Mike (Matthew Davis) and his former girlfriend Vanessa (Julianna Robinson) who somehow manages not to “degrade” to the degree the others do as the film progresses.
Here be a trailer:
They’re undergoing the usually expected zombifying effects, in fairly humorous fashion, falling apart bit by bit, except Mike who loses a hand and duct tapes it before losing other bits. Ironically, once you reduce the man to his essentials (no… I mean his head), he becomes the leader of the growing troupe of zombies.
Strange as it seems, this happens very smoothly, considering that Mike the Army guy, started trying to run the show once he hooked up with the four buddies, originally claiming to be some super secret Special Forces type, ultimately revealing he was basically a janitor.
While his performance was wooden throughout, French did have a fun scene in which he attempts to create a diversion by distracting a group of soldiers. First we see him as he sees himself (in color), throwing some Kung Fu moves. Then we see him as the soldiers do, barely standing mooing and dragging his feet.
This is a fun movie from a first time director, not edgy or manic as “Shaun of the dead”, “Sars wars” or “Dead Snow” for that matter, but worthy of attention.
“Wasting away” gets three jellybeans.