When we say zombie, what immediately comes to mind is a reawakened corpse with a ravenous appetite for human brain or someone bitten by another zombie infected with a “zombie virus.”
Most of the times, zombies in cinema and television are presented as strong but robotic beings with rotting flesh with only one mission, which is to feed.
Why we are fascinated and terrified at the same time with these creatures, we have pop culture to blame, of course.
In the late ‘60s, specifically in 1968, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead happened and since then, our “we love them, we hate them, we are mortified by them” affair with these creatures continue to this very day.
Some of the most popular and immensely successful zombie movies this millennium are World War Z, with Hollywood superstar as its lead,Train to Busan, with Korean megastar Gong Yoo playing hero and Warm Bodies, the most unlikely romantic movie about the weirdest pairing and relationship between a zombie portrayed by Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.
Now, the biggest film production outfit in Manila, Star Cinema, presents its initial offering for 2020, Mikhail Red’s Block Z.
Headlining this genre film are Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto, who are ex-lovers turned best friends supposedly, thus I cannot help but wonder, will their past romance and their admission of “missing” each other’s company will help this Red directed motion picture opus score more chances of winning at the box-office?
During the press conference of Block Z, most media members acquiesced to the request of the Star Cinema PR team to focus on the merits and strengths of the film.
What we heard from its stars, aside from Garcia and Barretto, Mc Coy de Leon, Yves Flores, Maris Racal, Ina Raymundo, Dimples Romana, Myrtle Sarrosa, and Ian Veneracion, are ramblings that one often hears from a Hollywood film press junket.
All of them talked about how physical their roles were because it involved a lot of running, shrieking and shouting. How many repeated to perfect a sequence and the number of film shots used per scene, whether it was an intimate one or a chase part.
Director Red was elated of the fact that a major film stakeholder gambled on the zombie genre and he is most pleased with his cast, especially their level of commitment in giving life to respective characters.
What I found endearing was the manner director Red pronounced the word zombie. He said it as zam-bee, not zom-bi, som-bee, orthom-bee) and he also revealed that “My zombies here are fast and the furious movers. They are ferocious and really hungry for human flesh and brains.”
Adding more zombie dynamics to the press conference was Rayundo who portrays the mother zombie role in Block Z. She showed, to every one’s delight, her zombie moves.
Actor Ian Veneracion shared, “I am happy with the fact that in this movie, I had fun because of my many action sequences. Alam niyo, namanaction star ako dati. Si direk Mik nga, there was instance that he doubted if I can jump from one end to another end, and I told him I jump off from airplanes for real.”
Veneracion added, “My biggest thrill in doing this film is every time I say good-bye to my kids prior to reporting for the shoot, I tell them, I am going to kill zombies today.”
Dimples Romana who portrays the role of security guard quipped: “It felt very empowering to hold a shotgun tapos kinakasa ko siya at pinambabaril sa mga zombie.”
She was blushing red when she related, “When it was my first time to use the high powered shotgun, hiyang-hiya ako sa lahat kasi tumalsik at tumumba ako sa floor.” She ended her reveal with a guffaw.
In conclusion, let me answer my question if Garcia and Barretto’s feels of missing each other will be the major come on for people to be curious about this latest Mikhail Red film project.
One does not need a PhD to conclude that Block Z is going to be a fun and exhilarating movie ride with the perfect horrific elements, pinches of friendship and even budding romances and the unfolding of how all these character survive will surely be remembered for a long time.
Mikhail Red’s Block Z from Star Cinema is showing in cinemas nationwide on Jan. 29.