Dead Rising: Watchtower DVD review

Dead Rising: Watchtower cover art
Dead Rising: Watchtower cover art /

Going into Dead Rising: Watchtower, I was very excited to see what Sony could do with the source material.  As a gamer, I’ve enjoyed the Dead Rising video games on Xbox and it always struck me as a game that could easily be made into a full length motion picture.  Luckily for me, the game was made into a pretty decent movie.

The movie features Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die, Dallas, Desperate Housewives), Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time, Vampire High), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, The Number 23) and Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street, The Hangover).  It tells the story of a group of survivors that are attempting to survive a zombie outbreak.  A drug named Zombrex has been invented that helps keep people from turning into undead flesh-eating monsters.  Meanwhile, the military wants to bomb the site of the outbreak because they don’t believe that Zombrex works anymore.

Dead Rising: Watchtower is much different from other zombie movies.  The undead can use weapons and although they move slowly, they don’t have the loss of muscle that prevents them from normally swinging things like an ax or a bat or firing a gun.  Just those facts alone could turn off some fans of the zombie genre, but folks who enjoy the Dead Rising video games would expect these things from the movie.

Dead Rising: Watchtower cover art
Dead Rising: Watchtower cover art /

Perhaps the most interesting character is Chase Carter (played by Jesse Metcalfe) who is following in the footsteps of Frank West as a reporter during the outbreak in East Mission, Oregon.  West got too close to the outbreak and ended up having to fight his way out of an ocean of zombies, which is exactly what ends up happening to Chase.

The zombies look good enough for a zombie movie.  While Dead Rising: Watchtower‘s monsters aren’t on par with the ones in The Walking Dead, they make up that in sheer tenacity.  On AMC’s zombie survival drama, one zombie seems like a very easily managed situation.  However, this film establishes that one zombie can easily overtake a human in a one-on-one situation.

One of the most fun cameos in the movie is Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time fame.  He’s a biker that has a flamethrower that puts Chase in a sticky situation involving a forklift and zombies.

Although Chase and the flamethrower biker are great characters, the film really benefits from switching back and forth between the horror of the containment zone and the television studio where Frank West is.  Rob Riggle steals the show by being an obnoxious womanizer who the host of the news show absolutely hates.

The outtake and special features are pretty bare bones.  There is commentary, as well as a funny deleted scene with Rob Riggle and a feature on Bonzo the Clown as well as one on the creation of weapons.  None of them are really that compelling other than the suggestive Riggle scene, but it’s nice they included some extras for those that purchase the DVD.  For those who are impatient, here is an EXCLUSIVE look at that suggestive outtake with Rob Riggle as Frank West:

Overall, fans of the zombie genre and the popular video games will enjoy Dead Rising: Watchtower.  It’s a nice mix of comedy and zombies that should keep most fans interested.  I will advise that the first five minutes or so are the weakest part of the film, in my opinion.  So, if you can make it past that sequence, I think you’ll enjoy the rest of the film.

You can pick up Dead Rising: Watchtower on DVD and Digital HD on October 6, 2015 from Sony Pictures Entertainment.  It is rated R and contains some bad language, violence, and gore.  This film is definitely worth a watch for fans of horror comedies.

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