There’s only so many titles you can do that reference George A. Romero’s classic zombie saga, but naming a movie Late Afternoon of the Living Dead sure succeeded in capturing my attention. Underneath the cheeky title is a revamped 2007 release that ended up being a completely different experience than what I initially expected. Shot under Ten Wing Media by writer/director Jason Huls, Late Afternoon of the Living Dead was self-distributed twelve years ago before receiving a new cut and tune-up in 2019 and uploaded to YouTube. You can watch the full feature film at the end of this review. Produced by Jason Huls, Andrew Moore, Paul Brooks and Gale Murrin, Late Afternoon of the Living Dead is a classic, old-school zombie film at its core – shot completely in black and white with traditional undead as its villains. The hero of our story starts the film as one of the few survivors in a city over-run by biters. Eventually, he ends up on the menu, but makes it through the ordeal thanks to a serum administered by a mysterious doctor. Now, he strives to find the answers behind the miracle cure while simultaneously rounding up other survivors to escape to safer places. Starring Chris Hutson, Ron Rotondo, Samantha Curtiss, Jason Huls, Travis Huls, Paul A. Brooks, Emory Davis, Ashley O’Neil and Rich DeBarba, this film takes the zombie subgenre of horror and infuses it with low doses of comedy and interesting additions of science fiction.
I know the creators of this movie are marketing it as a horror-comedy, but honestly, none of the humor ever hit me in the funny bone except for maybe two gags. It was a good attempt, but I think it fell flat, so I’m going to concentrate on other areas that are more positive. For starters, I love that Late Afternoon of the Living Dead started with old-school zombies before letting them ramp up to marathon sprinters. It did feel like something very akin to Day of the Dead, especially with the use of minimal make-up and special effects. That’s not saying that this movie isn’t gory, because it does feature a ton of blood. In regards to the look of the zombies, though, I’m happy to say that less is more and it worked here. Special props to the make-up department – Gary Thompson, Seth Carter and Erin Gavin – for their efforts here. Speaking of the zombies, I’m also happy to say that this movie features a ton of them. You can’t have a zombie movie without hordes of the living dead, and this one’s got tons of them! Late Afternoon of the Living Dead is clearly an independent production, but a lot of effort was put into principal photography and Jason Huls really broke the bank trying to make it look as good as possible. Andrew Moore served as cinematographer and Huls, Moore, Brooks and Mike J. Hayes took turns on editing. Some of the work behind the scenes is a little dicey, but for independent standards – I give it a passing grade. I’ve seen a lot worse, and any production error can be overlooked due to the tremendous heart backing this project.
Except the acting. Some of it was absolutely terrible, especially from the supporting cast members. The hierarchy of performances ranged from good to decent to down-right horrible, and I would have asked for a few more takes with a lot more effort. Still, there’s a lot here that I did enjoy. Shooting this in black and white gave it the perfect 60’s and 70’s vibe with a modern twist, and it perfectly fit the atmosphere the team at Ten Wing Media was trying to create. I thought the subplots with the specter (no spoilers) and the cure were welcomed ways of sprucing up an overdone story, and who doesn’t love a crazed zombie woman swinging around a chainsaw? I know a lot of people are going to look at Late Afternoon of the Living Dead and think that it’s rubbish because it wasn’t made with a million dollar budget. However, there is a big demographic inside the horror genre who will appreciate it for its throwback narrative and homey roots. It was a movie made on a dream and, honestly, if it were thirty years ago, I definitely could see this title sitting on the shelf at a VHS store. If you have some free time in the next few days or weeks, I’d encourage you to watch Late Afternoon of the Living Dead on YouTube if you’re a classic zombie fan, or someone who loves independent crisis films. This one isn’t a masterpiece, but its little successes are worthwhile.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.