Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review: High School of the Dead

Dir. Tetsuro Araki, 2010, Madman (Australian DVD release).

A deadly new disease is ravaging the world, turning the populace into mindless zombies, and the number of infected is skyrocketing by the second. As their fellow classmates and teachers succumb to the infection around them, a small group of students at Fujimi High School are fighting for their lives after surviving the initial outbreak. It is up to Takashi Komuro to unite the group of weary survivors and try to escape the horrors that surround them. In this new world of the living dead…will they escape?

Adapted from the popular Manga series of the same title, High School of the Dead is a rather brilliant little excursion into animated zombie mayhem that should prove a hit with fans of both zombies and anime. All the usual trappings of Japanese animation are here; heavily stylised characters, moments of bizarre humour (plus, of course, plenty of focus on short skirts and busty schoolteachers), as well as some absolutely stunning visuals and sound work - all of which serve to underscore the bleak, apocalyptic horror of the piece. Throw in a good dose of extreme violence and on-screen gore, as well as some genuinely interesting and often emotional character development, and the result is one of the best televisual zombie outings I've had the pleasure to watch.

The DVD of the currently-screening TV series will soon be available in Australia through Madman, with episodes of the series (and others) now available for free viewing at the Madman Screening Room.

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