top of page

Penn-ing Puns

Condemned Review

Not to be confused with The Condemned (starring Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones in a bloodbath to the death), this film was a low budget horror flick about a zombie virus released in a broken down apartment complex. Think REC/Quarantine, but without the first-person perspective and you've pretty much nailed the plot of this film. As such, don't expect much outside of the realm of originality.

Horror tends to find little nooks and latch onto them like leeches on the skin of impressionable youths looking to get a good scare. Zombie films are an example of this, and this film is a symptom. However, what this film lacks in creativity in story, it makes up for with nearly everything else.

It has a cheeky humor to it that is sickly dark. It blends well with the over-the-top gore effects and chaotic cinematography. There are definitely moments in which this cinematography butchers the viewer's experience more so than the zombie killing machines on screen, and there are times where it epitomizes the "what not to do" of film class with its distortion of time and character location in space by lack of directing and editing prowess. This problem, however severe at times, seems to smooth itself out as the director warms up.

Our star is none other than Dylan Penn, daughter of the "Bono of Acting" Sean Penn. She does a decent job of holding her own throughout, with the most egregious of errors having as much to do with a poor script failing to develop motive. I rarely say this, but the moments of humor (though I'm not entirely convinced that some were purposeful) and the grotesquely creative special effects make this film more of a win than a loss. I'd like to emphasize that this film is incredibly flawed, but it's flawed in such a way and in the right places that you can still enjoy it.

"Enjoy" may not be the best word to describe it. Only three movies have ever made me lose my appetite; The Thing, Ticks, and this film. I will admit that in all three cases, the food I was consuming did not help at all in quelling nausea. The conditions were perfect for the classic "chew slowly to a gradual stop, then swallow, then look down at your food, back up at the film, and push the plate/bowl away." But I will give credit to a film that was able to take advantage of this opportunity.

The characters are a smorgasbord of disgusting and vile behavior, hence them taking up residence in a condemned building. The "zombie virus" of this film seems more like a manifestation of the evil of the inhabitants combined into an amalgamation of filth that consumes the body and brain. This particular virus seems to be a blend of the Cabin Fever strain, the rage virus of 28 Days Later, and the sanity-stealing disease of The Crazies. Very little evidence of actual zombification occurs, but the over-arching concept is all the same. There was definitely a bit too much of the film devoted to the story of these characters. We get it. They're gross and crazy. To continue to elaborate, prolonging the film's progression, seemed a bit excessive at times and killed the momentum and interest in the story, or I suppose, lack thereof.

Horror Qualifier: 10/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 3/10

bottom of page