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David B Stewart III, USA, 2003
Rating: 1.5

Posted: October 14, 2004

Perhaps a better title for Maplewoods would be How Not To Make A Zombie Movie. I won't leave you all in suspense here, people: This is just a massacre of a fine genre. Hell, I don't even know where to begin!

The idea here is that there was a project -- the Maplewoods project, to be specific -- that was intended to resurrect the dead and unleash them on the enemies of the United States (which, by the way, is not a bad idea at all). As usual, things went horribly wrong, and the project was scrapped, or should we say, contained. Well, some of the "specimens" break free, so in an effort to destroy them, and double-cross and kill all those who know about it, an elite team of military spec-ops is called in. God, I wish there was more to it. I really do.

Not since Milton Berle and RuPaul has a more unrealistic team been assembled. These guys drive up to the site in bright white shirts that can be seen a mile away, have the coordinated movements of a one-legged chimp walking across hot coals, and deliver some of the stiffest acting this side of Jean Claude Van Damme. What happens? Other than you being robbed of time you can never get back, not a whole lot. The zombies are cool, but sadly underused. Most of the time the props don't even work. Look for the winner who has to hand-cycle his .45 automatic between shots because, apparently, there was no budget for blank firing devices for the prop weaponry. I mean, damn, people! Come on! Even Children of The Living Dead had prop weapons that worked!

As mentioned before, the zombie effects aren't bad, but we're forced to (once again) witness the "human struggle" in the midst of a crisis. Then there's the obligatory character who loses his cool, goes nuts and begins hunting his fellow soldiers during the zombie attack. Hell, they shoulda stayed with that! At least that was semi-interesting! Why make a zombie film and then not play to your only strength? You can't even make a prop gun work, and I gotta suffer through yet another film about the breakdown of the social order? Not in this lifetime, baby. These films would write themselves if you'd just let 'em -- or as Jamie Foxx says in the upcoming movie Ray: "make it do what it do."

I suspect that the only money made off this project came from me buying the DVD. I hope they wisely invest that $12.75, I really do. It's probably three times more than the film cost to make. And I hope you readers out there appreciate all the heavy lifting I'm doing in regards to the zombie genre, separating the choice torn flesh from the nasty cellulite portions. Maplewoods is beyond the B-movie realm, and slips far, far down the alphabet scale, ending up somewhere between Q and T. Can I give them points for effort? No. Simply put, what Maplewoods does to the zombie film is akin to throwing fetid pig guts onto the Mona Lisa. Got it? Good. Let us never speak of this again.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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