New on Blu-ray/DVD from the Shout Factory!
LIVE OR LET DIE (2020)
Directed by Manuel Urbaneck.
Written by Jan Bohlenschmidt, Manuel Urbaneck.
Starring Jan Bohlenschmidt, Manuel Urbaneck, Steven Mooers, Alona Hertha
Find out more about this film here!
Two loners, Nick (Jan Bohlenschmidt) and John (Manuel Urbaneck), try to make their way across a zombie infested landscape in hopes to find sanctuary somewhere.
Remember when every other movie released On Demand and DVD were zombie movies? Such a stagnant time for horror. Thankfully that zombie fever has died down. Sure, we still somehow have THE WALKING DEAD, but for the last few years, it’s been nice not having to deal with zombies. I don’t know if it’s been quite long enough for zombies to feel fresh again, but at the same time, I can still enjoy a shambling undead every now and again.
LIVE OR LET DIE is a low budget zombie flick made in Germany where maybe they didn’t get the memo yet that zombie movies are out of style. And while you definitely won’t find anything new with this one, at least it’s a capably made low budget zombie flick. Filmmaker Manuel Urbaneck, who is also one of the stars of the film, knows how to up the slo-mo, amp the music, and center in on zombie attacks dramatically. He also takes time to show us somber shots of a vacant and destroyed, post-apocalyptic landscape. These are tried and true techniques highlighting the drama of the peril the survivors are in, and they work here. Still, LIVE OR LET DIE is not going to be blazing any new trails for the genre.
The effects are decent. Specifically, the zombie appliances. They’re practical, which I miss, though this one isn’t afraid to use CG when necessary. There’s decent carnage as the survivors attempt to continue to be that way, thinning the zombie herd with knives and guns. You also don’t get a lot of time wasted sitting around and talking as, for the most part, this is an on the road movie, kept spicy by constant zombie attacks and the occasional, horrible, living people enjoying the lack of societal rules a bit too much.
LIVE OR LET DIE is edited crisply. Occasionally, it’s quite amusing in the way it incorporates its zombie tropes in ways that might have been creative in the nineties. It knows what it is and not trying to be anything other than that. The dialog is less than inspired, but it’s refreshing to get a discourse-free zombie film that isn’t trying to pulpit its message into your brainpan. LIVE OR LET DIE is simply zombie horror at its most basic. And sometimes that’s exactly what I need.