REVIEW: Zombies Reborn (2012)

A mad scientist steals corpses and creates zombies in an effort to find a way to revive his dead lover.


By Raymond Arcega
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Zombies Reborn

Original title: 无间罪
Year: 2012
Country: China
Language: Mandarin
Genre: Horror
Director: Xia Yong

Enter the life of Lan (Liu Jiatong), who has constant nightmares because of watching horror films before going to bed. Watch as her nightmares contribute nothing to her story, other than one moment in which she gets a feeling that something bad has happened to her cheating boyfriend Jiang Feng (Lin Chongyan).

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Cry along with Lan as she visits the morgue to see the body of Jiang Feng, who was crushed by a basketball backboard when it fell after he slam dunked into the hoop. But then be surprised when she gets into a scuffle with medicine-stealing zombies with Terminator eyes and Dracula teeth.

Then say “What the hell?” after she gets electrocuted to death once she runs outside the morgue, by a stray electric spark that had no business being there in the first place.

She wakes up from her death coma in a strange laboratory. Lan realizes she had been revived with the power of science, by a creepy mad doctor (Liu Ximing) who is determined to find the secret of reviving his dead lover who is half his age, under the pretense that everything is for the sake of humanity. So, he steals corpses, makes zombies, and controls them to steal more corpses for more experiments.

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Other than robot vampire zombie things, Lan must battle with some of the fiercest enemies ever known to movie audiences – dramatic waiting. It’s a whole lot of fun waiting alongside Lan while she is touching and exploring everything, all while moving slower than a tortoise with its legs tied.

The cracks formed by the sloppy editing and inconsistent pacing are made even deeper by the existence of convenient coincidences. Need a reason for the heroine to be kidnapped and relevant to the mad doctor’s scheme? Have a magic electric spark from faulty power lines at the morgue kill her after she runs outside. Need a way for the cops to get closer and closer to identifying the bad guy? Have a worker at the pharmacy magically be able to identify him by only using a photo depicting him from the backside, which depict him wearing clothes any other person could wear.

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But the most convenient coincidence of all happens when the audience needed to find out more history between the mad doctor and his girlfriend – have Lan find a computer lying around with the blog of the dead lover magically open once the the machine is turned on.

Audiences will agree that the main theme of Zombies Reborn is “cop-out”. Watch, as the mad doctor spends the entirety of his screen time preaching how he is on the verge of a scientific breakthrough – being able to revive the dead with their consciousness intact – all so he can revive his girlfriend. But, laugh as he commits suicide as the police close in on his hideout, so he can be with his girlfriend in the afterlife instead.

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However, the biggest cop-outs of them all are the amount of loose ends left once the credits start rolling. There are many unanswered questions, such as: what happened to Jiang Feng, and why did Lan magically stop thinking about him? What happened to the zombies that had the police cornered after they found the mad doctor’s hideout? What happened to the couple that the mad doctor kidnapped when they were just looking for a quiet place to bang? Where did the mad doctor get funding to make Tony Stark-level machines?

And the biggest cop-out of them all is the choice to make the ending of the whole story a block of text, explaining what happened, rather than filming a satisfying ending. It may or may not be worse than an ending involving the words “It was all a dream”.


Watch this film…

…if you like horror films that aren’t horror films, especially ones involving zombies with fangs they never use.


About the Author

Raymond Arcega

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