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Hood of the Living Dead

Hood of the Living Dead (2005) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  86m  •    •  Directed by: Eduardo Quiroz, Jose Quiroz.  •  Starring: Chris Angelo, Jaysun Barr, Johanna Christensen, Al Daniels, Brandon Daniels, Ben Juhl, Daniel Landeros, James M. Logan, Raul Martinez, Rachel Petersen, Eduardo Quiroz, Raymond Rodriguez, Jose Rosete..
     Ricky is a promising young scientist whose experimental formula regenerates dying cells. Ever since his parents died, Ricky's been trying hard to balance work while taking care of his younger brother Jermaine. When Jermaine is killed in a violent drive-by shooting, Ricky does the unthinkable to bring him back to life. His brother is now a blood-thirsty zombie wreaking carnage all over the hood. Now it's up to Ricky's colleague Scott and the boys in the hood to stop Jermaine from killing and turning the entire hood into zombies.

Review:

Welcome to Oakland, where the dead come out to play and even the boys in DA hood can't stop them. This low-budget, direct-to-video production seems timed to coincide with the release of Land of the Dead, the latest installment of George A. Romero's famed zombie series. The ghetto setting and hip-hop soundtrack may provide additional appeal for inner- city gore hounds. Ricky (Carl Washington) works at a medical research facility while raising his kid brother, Jermaine (Brandon Daniels). But the teenager, bored by macaroni-and-cheese dinners in their tract house, would rather spend his time hanging with street friends Marco and Kev. Apparently there is not a lot for African-American high-school dropouts to do on this side of the bay except deal drugs and scuffle with the homeys, including rival Latino gang bangers. Ricky plans to sell their late parents' house and move inland to the Castro Valley, a more middle-class and presumably safer environment. Unfortunately, before this can happen, a drive-by shooting leaves Jermaine dead on the porch. Grief-stricken Ricky tries a last desperate ploy. He tells Scotty, his lab assistant, to steal some of the experimental cell regeneration formula they have been testing on rats. When a double dose fails to revive Jermaine, there is no choice except to call 911. But a funny thing happens on the way to the morgue. The boy is reanimated as a sputtering, growling zombie, chews the ambulance drivers and staggers off into the night, bent on revenge and hungry for fresh meat. The feeding frenzy infects more victims, and before the night is over the East Bay is a battleground between the living and the blood-spattered undead. The horror genre has seen more than its share of cheap movie makers, from Ed Wood to Herschel Gordon Lewis to Charles Band. But low budgets do not necessarily mean bad films. Consider Val Lewton's programmers (Cat People, The Leopard Man, Isle of the Dead), Roger Corman's Poe quickies, Romero's Night of the Living Dead and John Carpenter's Halloween. The difference between memorable and awful has more to do with talent and ambition than money. Hood Of The Living Dead is more fun than several hundred million dollars' worth of recent high-priced horrors. Cheapness has its charms. In truly cheap films actors wear their own clothes amid real settings. Here the tract houses have freshly painted walls in neutral matte tones, lending a bleakness as oppressive as Douglas Sirk's bourgeois melodramas of the '50s. Lines seem more improvised than scripted. "So what the hell are we gonna do now?" "Just keep your eyes open for any F N' thing that looks out of the ordinary." Ricky and Scotty call their boss, who calls an ex-military man named Romero. "I have a huge bitch of a problem that we have to take care of fast." "Not a problem," says the merc, closing his phone and grabbing his guns. Everybody has guns, and even when fighting zombies they're on their cell phones, as who isn't nowadays? Information is exchanged with naturalistic understatement. "What happened?" "We got into it with some crazy motherfockers." "Deja F N' vu. It's that park zombie again. ..." Ricky even has to blow his twitching girlfriend away, saying only, "She's gotten out of hand." Unlike most zombie movies, this one provides a motive for mayhem. Jermaine takes revenge on the gang bangers who shot him, who in turn continue the rumble. This is urban film-making that implies its own social commentary, a near-guerrilla production suggesting a future for low-budget horror that reflects real life instead of supernatural clichés. The brothers Quiroz, who have trademarked their name as if in anticipation of a new movement, may inspire others to tell stories arising from personal experience rather than imitating tired Hollywood product. Considering their limited resources, Jose and Eduardo Quiroz have made a cheap but technically acceptable feature about people they know. Photographer Rocky Robinson gets the job done, music by Eduardo Quiroz is no simpler than Carpenter's haunting Halloween theme, and hip-hop songs by The Darkroom Familia and others add atmosphere. The result is promising if not exactly exhilarating. They are learning their craft and, unlike Lewis and Wood, who never got any better, their next may be one to watch.

Review by woodbridgevaplaya from the Internet Movie Database.