“But Code Red ends in such a choppy, disjointed fashion, that one wonders just why a director who is so concerned with style would choose to just slap a couple scenes together just before the credit scroll.”

Yet another entry in the undying trend of zombie flicks (see what I did there?), “Code Red” adds nothing to the medium, boasts some competent lens work, but is anchored by its stars limited range and plunged by an ending that looks as though the filmmakers either ran out of storage space for their film, or just said “F*ck it … I’m tired and it’s cold. Let’s just call it a wrap.”

Set in World War II, we are situated in a thrillingly filmed (though very shaky) gunfight between the Germans and Russians over Stalingrad. We learn that the Russkies are tinkering with a chemical that reanimates the dead, turning them into zombie soldiers.

Code Red
Directed by
Valeri Milev
Cast
Paul Logan, Borislav Iliev, Velizar Binev
Release Date
24 September 2013
Rob’s Grade: D+

Flash forward seven decades later, and signs of the secret gas start popping up in Bulgaria. US Special Forces Captain John McGahey (Paul Logan, whose jaw does most of the acting) is called to the scene when a NATO doc (played by Manal El-Feitury) has a patient decide to spring back to life after being dead on the slab. It seems the chemical that was thought to be destroyed years ago is still bubbling with the toxic agent like a West Virginian stream.

The doc brings her young daughter along for the mission (family getaway, I presume?), and they all now have 24 hours to get out of the infected military base before it is leveled.

Director Valeri Milev is no stranger to zombies, having re-animated them for his first effort Re-Kill for After Dark Films (though it was shelved and yet to find a release date, but leaked footage can be found online). He certainly seems competent enough here, with some exciting — albeit occasionally overly stylized — action.


Its premise is nothing novel. We’ve seen Nazi zombies as far back as Zombie Lake in the 80s, and have witnessed a number of more recent efforts, including Dead Snow and the Outpost trilogy. But what really stiffens the film is its leads, who cannot seem to be as lively as the zombies they are battling.

And there is the ending… or some reasonable facsimile of an ending. I have no qualms with films that leave it to the interpretation of the viewer, or even endings that are weaker than the film that preceded it. But Code Red ends in such a choppy, disjointed fashion, that one wonders just why a director who is so concerned with style would choose to just slap a couple scenes together just before the credit scroll. It truly does bring everything to a screeching, jarring halt that leaves quite a bitter aftertaste.

Code Red could have elevated itself an entire letter grade if its ending did not feel as though it should have its own Kickstarter campaign.

Review by Rob Rector, Film Critic