Director: Joseph Conti
Starring: Ross Kelly, Stefani Marchesi, Miguel Martinez, Mike Hatfield, Malcolm Madera
A lost treasure. An epic adventure. Unspeakable terror.
A long time ago, the Anasazi tribe was wiped out by the Spanish conquistador Coronado’s army when they were searching for the lost golden city of El Dorado. One of the high priests of the tribe did manage to put a curse on the gold, making skeleton warriors come to life and destroy whoever steals it from the burial ground.
In the present day, John is being surprised by his girlfriend Amy on his birthday with a desert racing excursion trip out to the Baja desert. They are joined by a few other young couples and a professor who is out to find the lost treasure of the Anasazi tribe. When he comes across it, he also unleashes the skeleton warriors and now everyone in the desert is in great danger.
As soon as I saw the kickass skeletons in this film, I wanted to like it. They actually look pretty cool for a low budget film such as this and every minute of the movie that has them in it is fun to watch. They can remind you of the ones from Army of Darkness or a more polished version of skeletons used in 60’s adventure films. The problem with the film is that nothing else even come close to being solid executed.
I guess the little budget they had went to the making of these skeletons, cause the rest of the effects are dreadful. We get some very crappy computer generated blood and gore which is worse than what I have seen in Syfy films. And comparing the film to a Syfy effort would not be that far-fetched when it comes to the rest of the film either. The plot is dull and predictable, none of the characters are interesting and the dialogue can’t have taken more than a few hours to write. I was surprised to see that two guys are credited with writing it, at least one of them should be able to say that this wouldn’t work on the big (or small screen).
This is the second film that Joseph Conti has directed and the first one was Bugs from 2003 and that was actually made for the Syfy channel. I haven’t seen it, although I do have it in my DVD shelf somewhere. He has mostly worked with visual effects on films and television shows, even including Men in Black, and that surprises me when I see how poorly the CGI gore is done here.
The actors all show that they are probably inexperienced and none of them makes any lasting impression. But to be fair to them, there is probably not that much that they could have done with this material either.
Army of the Dead has one thing going for them and that is the excellent skeleton warriors. Nothing else is worth watching here and while it truly is a terrible film, I had too much fun watching these skeletons on the screen to give it a poorer rating than I did. If it’s possible to recommend this to anyone then I would suggest it to fans of Syfy and Asylum films only.