TADFF 2016 Review: The Rezort
Humans often have the inherent need to be in control and to make sense of their surroundings. A sense of arrogance can come from this behaviour that can lead to disaster. When you combine those elements while living in a world of a zombie outbreak, you end up with an idea like Steve Barker’s The Rezort. The smugness of the world’s population has lead to herding the last remaining zombies to enclosures on a secluded island where people can pay to hunt them down. People come for a variety of reasons — power, aggression, anger, entertainment — but the audacity they have believing everything is completely under their control of course leads to mayhem.
It’s almost impossible not to compare this film with Steven Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park. A secluded island, dangerous tourist attractions, failed security systems unleashing deadly chaos, it’s all heavily borrowed. In an effort to improve their relationship and cope with her troubled past, Melanie (Jessica De Gouw) and Lewis (Martin McCann) have spent a lot of money on a trip to The Rezort. Here they hope they can work out some of the strain between them and bond over their shared experience. The tourists are divided into groups, given gun training, and given a guide that will shuttle them around the park so they can kill zombies. Early into the excursion, the computer security system malfunctions, causing the security fencing to go down. Melanie, Lewis, and their group must find a way to make it back to base camp and catch the boat to safety. They must work to survive against the free-roaming zombies and the incoming fire bombing of the island designed to stop any further outbreaks. On their journey they discover the culprit behind the disaster and the ultimate capitalistic motivations of the company running the island.
The film has a strong, interesting idea but it lacks in the execution. The story needs to be given a re-write, expanded, and given a polish in order to truly capitalize on the themes being presented. It is unfortunately bogged down by budget constraints and acting limitations of the cast. It did have some exciting action sequences and several of the characters had memorable moments but it otherwise falls short.
The story falls into typical survival horror tropes. One by one each character meets their demise until we are left only with the heroine who survives through outrageous situations and is the one who exposes the truth that resolves the story. Several of the character deaths are lazy, in which a momentary act of stupidity costs them their lives. There’s also plenty self-sacrifices for the good of the group. The film would be stronger if the characters were smarter.
The film does raise a lot of interesting questions about human nature and our shared need to make sense of the world. It explores many different types of motivations behind our individual beliefs and actions and that adds a layer of depth to the film that is certainly needed. The film has a solid core concept and strong ideas in theory but it unfortunately fails to fully realize its ambitions.