I’ve always wanted to watch Sharknado after its rise to fame, but never actually got to do it – mainly out of pure laziness.
But there’s something weirdly appealing about those kind of movies, not only because they’re “unintentionally” funny (I have no doubt the majority of these movies are supposed to be funny, but they’re not straight-up comedy) but also because I find it inspiring to see all the people working on these movies reject most limitations they could have and just go with what they’ve always wanted to do.
They never stop to think if what’s happening on screen really does make sense, if the tone is right, if the scenes they’re shooting have a clear purpose, or if they really do have the budget to create convincing creatures and fight scenes. They just do it, at best they can, no matter the result.
The Jurassic Dead is exactly that kind of movie, surfing on both the trends of B-movies and Jurassic Park/World by using the threat of a zombie T-Rex as its main premise.
This also isn’t the first incursion into the B-movie territory for writers-directors Milko Davis and Thomas Martwick, who previously already worked together on Tsunambee, in which, you guessed it, the threat of a bee tsunami is upon the world.
The plot of Jurassic Dead is fairly simple: four college students and five commandos find themselves in a seemingly abandoned facility in the middle of a desert where an evil scientist and his creatures live.
As the two groups try to prevent the scientist from destroying the world, he unleashes a resurrected T-Rex on them. In short, most of the movie is spent running around dark corridors and people dying left and right with not much more to it.
While the titular T-Rex makes an appearance in the introduction scene, it only appears again after 40 minutes of the movie and doesn’t actually drive the plot too much – the humans end up being more of a threat.
And while the use of practical effects over CGI for the creature is much appreciated, the T-Rex is never as scary as it is supposed to be (the zombie part of it is really not much, as he is just a regular T-Rex with dead glowing eyes) and ends up being quite forgettable in its own movie.
The characters are all stereotypes (five badass commandos with no personality besides guns and fights, and a group of students composed of a jock, his dumb girlfriend (whose actress wears a blonde wig just to accentuate that trope), the girlfriend’s tech-savvy little sister and the little sister’s cynical and weed-smoking boyfriend) and their introduction run for far too long when there’s really nothing to say.
On the contrary, the evil scientist is the first character to be introduced and one we think will be the protagonist as his background and motivations are shown first and in a fairly sympathetic light, until the movie changes track and makes him an almost invisible puppeteer behind the scene and a waste of an interesting character. (It obviously also goes without saying that the acting is bad.)
While the effects for the creatures are practical (besides the T-Rex, there is a small glimpse of a resurrected feline from the Ice Age), there are still a lot of CGI, notably green screens that are very visible and make the scenes they’re used in look completely ridiculous – but after all bad CGI is what makes these kinds of movies charming in the first place.
Although viewers will be disappointed by the dinosaur, the movie will still probably please amateurs of B-movies to some extent – at least as a fun, forgettable time to spend with friends laughing at the few meta jokes and terrible green screens. The rest – people who don’t care about B-movies or haven’t seen any – should definitely look somewhere else.