“Fire up the wood chipper! It’s feeding time!”
So announces Hunter Shaw (Ian Ziering) towards the end of Zombie Tidal Wave, proving once again that any film, regardless of genre or tone, is automatically made a hundred times better by stuffing someone in a wood chipper. Or, in this case, several zombies. Needless to say, there’s soon blood and chunks of blue skin flying everywhere. It’s messy but, when you’re being attacked by zombies, you do what you have to do.
SyFy advertised Zombie Tidal Wave as being from “some of the people behind Sharknado” and this film definitely shares the same sensibility as the first Sharknado film. What’s often forgotten is that the first Sharknado film was not quite the all-out parody that the later films in the series eventually became. It was definitely a comedy but, at the same time, there weren’t any celebrity cameos and David Hasselhoff didn’t end up in space. Instead, it took a ludicrous idea — sharks in a tornado — and then presented it with just a hint of self-awareness.
Zombie Tidal Wave does the same thing. As a result, you do get Ian Ziering delivering one-liners, like the one at the start of this review. And the entire film is full of references to other zombie films. For instance, there’s a band called The Fulcis and the first zombie to appears bears a distinct resemblance to the boat zombie from Zombi 2. The many scenes of zombies rising from the ocean will remind veteran zombie fans of Shock Waves. When the zombies invade a hospital, I was reminded of the infamous Hell of the Living Dead. But, at the same time, Zombie Tidal Wave plays things relatively straight. Zombies invade. People get bitten. Some people sacrifice themselves for the good of the other survivors. Zombie Tidal Wave has its moments of humor but it never becomes an out-and-out parody.
Why are zombies washing up on the shores of an island community? Well, it’s because of an earthquake, one that’s unleashed a horde of the undead. Hunter Shaw is a fisherman and perhaps the most respected citizen of the besieged community. Naturally, it falls upon him to not only bring everyone together but also to figure out how to defeat the zombies. To be honest, it really is a typical SyFy movie, which a handful of characters spending most of the film looking for each other while trying to stay alive and then eventually banding together to battle the threat. Some people, like Hunter and his wife (Cheree Cassidy) rise to the challenge. Others, like the rich white guy in the pink shirt, don’t. Personally, my favorite character was Taani (Angie Teodora Dick) because she grabbed a pointed stick as soon as the invasion began and spent the entire movie kicking zombie ass. GO TAANI!
Anyway, as a lifelong fan of zombie movies, I enjoyed Zombie Tidal Wave. It didn’t waste any time getting to the zombie action and really, that’s the important thing isn’t it? The pace was quick and, as he did in Sharknado, Ian Ziering played the grim hero with the right mix of sincerity and horror. I don’t know if Zombie Tidal Wave is going to launch a Sharknado-style franchise or not but it was still an entertaining SyFy film.