Writer/director Brian Clement (“Meat Market”) takes a pretty puncturing stab at making a successful horror anthology film, especially with a low budget. He mixes a variety of genres here, telling three stories with a simple connection: the living dead. Who doesn’t love the living dead? “Exhumed” tells three stories to be exact, spanning about 150 years between them. Each story is stylistically different from each other but death and carnage fill all three.
The first story, and easily the best, is called “Shi No Mori” (The Forest of Death). Taking place in Japan, it follows a samurai on his journey to find both a mysterious artifact, and his brother who disappeared while looking for it. On his journey, he befriends a monk, who is also looking for the artifact but like a normal monk, he wants to keep it away from man so they don’t use it for evil. Apparently this artifact can raise the dead. Unfortunately for them both, the forest they are walking through is filled with the undead. Good thing the samurai has a sword.
“The Forest of Death” (and the entire film for that matter) was shot in Canada but Clement does his best to make it look and feel like Japan. He took his time with this piece, making it both credible (the dialogue is in Japanese) and believable (location that is). Besides, who doesn’t like samurai zombie flicks? There aren’t enough of them. It’s a shame this wasn’t a feature length.
“Shadow of Tomorrow” is up next and pays homage to classic noir pictures, mixed a little with some old school horror. The acting is just as cheesy as those old films and the direction is fiercely inspired by the genres. Here, a young female detective searches for a stuntman’s ex-wife, and somehow finds herself mixed up with a grave-robbing professor. He has found the mysterious artifact and yearns for nothing other than bringing the dead back to life. Look out for an exciting and sultry special appearance by Kitty Coquette.
The third piece, however, is the most flawed and silly of them all. It seems that less time was focused on this one and the writing starts to get a little sloppy. This is a total shame of course, because the make-up effects, violence and gore are at their best here. This piece has carnage a plenty.
“Last Rumble” takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where your musical genre preference defines you a species. Werewolf Rockers and Vampire Mods (apparently vampires can’t be Rockers and werewolves can’t be Mods) battle it out, while the humans are practically extinct. During a raid, the humans capture a werewolf and a vampire and lock them up together for experimentation. Here they learn to put their differences aside and try to come up with a way to escape their Nazi-like captures. But the humans bring them out to fight in pit matches with undead creatures – gore-a-plenty – and whoever holds the chainsaw, consider them the victor.
Thankfully, Clement made this film without trying to garner studio aid. In the commentary, he states the best advice for any filmmaker, “if you want to make a movie, just go out and make it.” All horror filmmakers everywhere should pay attention to that. There are also plenty of special features (trailers, commentary, outtakes, photo gallery and a Behind-the-Scenes special) to make this DVD worth the purchase for any do-it-yourself horror fan. Despite its flaws, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re sick of the kind of horror films that Hollywood keeps crapping out.