Director – Aaron K. Carter
Starring – Erin Miracle (Perceptio), Alexandria Lightford (Hide), and Aaron Guerrero
Release Date – 2013
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Live in hell long enough…everyone turns into a demon”
Zombies are everyone right now. They have invaded film and television, comics and books, video games, and even fucking everyday items like lighters and pencils. That was something we could not say before 2010 and we have The Walking Dead to blame for that. Zombies have always been one of my favorite horror sub-genres with my love for Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead the reason behind this slight obsession.
However, the sub-genre has become stale after the release of the popular AMC show. Almost all the films follow the same story line where a group of survivors are trying to survive during the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. These films are more drama than horror and offer up nothing new.
Last summer I worked up a trade in the horror DVD and blu collecting group on Facebook and one of the films I got was an indie zombie flick called Dead Kansas. I knew nothing about the film and the guy that sent it to me said he grabbed it at a convention a few days before and didn’t care for it. I try to check out as many indie films as I can so I took the trade. I threw it on my shelf to check out when I had the time and forgot about it until director Aaron K. Carter reached out to me to review the film. I told him I already had a copy and would check it out for him.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a father/daughter duo who are fighting for their lives in their homes during the zombie apocalypse. However, a nearby group of goons, bikers, and low-lives get a plan to kidnap the man’s daughter because she is the only one still alive in these parts and having some strange is still the number 1 priority for all men during the apocalypse.
They head over to the house where the men have a standoff until the brother of the goon’s leader is killed by a zombie and they head back to their hideout. Not long after a twister hits the area and the father/daughter team seek refuge in their basement. After the storm, the father goes upstairs and is bitten by the undead and is forced to amputate his arm. His daughter goes to get help. The gang tries to capture the girl as she makes her way to find a doctor to save her dad and protect herself from the undead.**Spoiler Alert**
The zombie genre has let me down the last few years with the countless films being released trying to mimic The Walking Dead only to fall short on drama and horror. They all follow a similar formula and that follows a group of survivors fighting off the undead but encounter other humans who are far more sick and twisted than any zombie they could face. This is something The Walking Dead is known for and something almost every zombie film tries to employ. Sadly, Dead Kansas is no exception.
The acting in this film is great for an indie production. We have several cast members that give us some great performances and characters that seem real and genuine. We also get a few over the top characters that is fun in a Troma kind of way. This film has a solid cast and it shows. It also has small roles from Irwin Keyes (House Of 1000 Corpses) and Ben Woolf (American Horror Story: Freakshow) which was a very good surprise.
The story for this one is one we have seen before in so many other post-TWD zombie films. The film does not offer up anything new and different in the zombie sub-genre and has a hard time trying to determine if it is a serious horror flick or a horror comedy. Most of the cast and story is serious in tone which is fine by me but we get some over-the-top characters that are similar to those we can find in Troma or Dire Wit films. They are out of place and make the film off balanced.
Finally, the film has a few on screen kills. They are bloody and fun but nothing new. We also get some decent practical effects which go a long way in an indie film like this. However, the film was nowhere near bloody enough to be a zombie flick. Overall, Dead Kansas is a film that shows a lot of promise but has a hard time getting out of the rut caused by The Walking Dead. The film does have some great practical effects and acting but the story just doesn’t go anywhere.