Yay, another zombie movie that I happened to stumble upon by blind random luck. And with it being a zombie movie, of course I had to sit down and watch it. Granted, I had heard nothing about "Empire State of the Dead" prior to finding it. And it was the movie's coverposter that instantly caught my attention, because it has that classic 1980's zombie feel to it.
The music score to the movie was quite interesting, and it was rather fitting to the movie and to the genre.
"Empire State of the Dead" is a low budget zombie movie, no doubt about it. Especially when you take a look at the zombie make-up, the props, the scenery, the camera work and such. But being a low budget zombie movie is not necessarily a death sentence, especially not if the heart and spirit is in the right place.
The story told in the movie was adequate, but it wasn't really a story that draws in the audience. Nor was it a story that was particularly outstanding or captivating.
I wasn't familiar with anyone on the cast list, which is usually a good thing, because I find it nice to have new talents in a movie, so you don't associate them with other played characters in other movies. But of course, the acting performers need to be up to the part and have some acting skill. The level of performance in "Empire State of the Dead" was adequate; I have seen worse in other zombie movies, but I have most definitely also seen much better.
As for the special effects, well the effects were there, and they worked well enough to their purpose. However, it wasn't the best of effects, but again do take into consideration the production level and the budget of the movie.
Zombie movies need to have proper zombie make-up in order to be fully convincing. And while there were indeed zombies in "Empire State of the Dead", then the zombie make-up wasn't particularly outstanding. It was a shame though, because more funding to the make-up and props department would definitely have boosted this movie. They tried though, and I do believe that they made the best of what they had to work with. But of course, since this movie was set in the initial stages of a zombie outbreak, the bodies of the reanimated dead would not be decayed and decomposed. So in that sense, it was alright. But still, more adequate make-up and prostethics would have been preferable.
Most of the characters in the movie were rigid and wooden, which reflected onto the rest of the movie. Especially because they also lacked background story, and you had no reason to Invest any kind of attachment or feeling into most of the characters. So the character gallery in the movie was a bit weak.
"Empire State of the Dead" is not in the top league of zombie movies, nor is it in the lower end. It was actually a mediocre attempt and foray into the zombie genre. If you are a hardcore zombie aficionado you will find a little bit enjoyment in "Empire State of the Dead", however, don't get your hopes up for something impressive.
Review by Paul Magne Haakonsen from the Internet Movie Database.