Directed by J.R. Bookwalter
Written by Matthew Jason Walsh
Produced by Scott Plummer
Dr. Death - James R. Black Jr.
Zombie Cop - Michael Kemper
Stevens - Ken Jarosz
Buddy - Bill Morrison
After J.R. Bookwalter enjoyed the success of THE DEAD NEXT DOOR, he partnered with David DeCoteau to make a line of Shot on Video quickies for release straight to video, one of which was ZOMBIE COP. The point wasn't to make a great film, or even great entertainment, the bottom line was to make a buck. J.R. has gone on to disown many of his early SoV features. If he hasn't disowned ZOMBIE COP, maybe he should.
With the exception of BLOODLETTING, I haven't liked any film Matthew Jason Walsh has written. I suppose he's more to blame for this dud than J.R. As a screenwriter, you need to give your director something to work with and Walsh gives very little. The plot of ZOMBIE COP revolves around a police officer killed in the line of duty by Dr. Death, a voodoo witch doctor based on northeastern Ohio. Before the cop dies he gets off one last shot, killing Dr. Death. Both are resurrected, but only the Zombie Cop rots away as time passes. Zombie shakes down the local hoods for 10 minutes then we get a 30-minute shoot out and chase scene. Including opening and ending credits, this one clocks in at 69 minutes. For those that can't do the math, this gives up less than 25 minutes of set up and story.
This film needs editing. It's a very professional looking piece that runs far to long. The heavily padding in the action sequences take away any punch the scenes might have possessed. There is absolutely no character development whatsoever. All we know is that the hero has been on the force for 15 years, while looking barely 20.
James R. Black Jr., who plays Dr. Death, has gone onto minor Hollywood success. He's had featured supporting roles in STOP IT, YOU'RE KILLING ME and the Kurt Russell action feature SOLDIER. He possesses a real screen presence absent from the rest of the cast, it's just too bad he can't act. He can barely sustain his (possibly) Jamaican accent. But what do you expect when you don't pay your actors.
J.R.'s first feature, THE DEAD NEXT DOOR, was such a promising film that it's sad to see what he followed it up with. I'll never condemn a film on the sole purpose that it was made for a buck, but I'm convinced you can make more money off a good quality project people will want to see. I wan understand why J.R. has let this film fall by the wayside, it isn't any good. I give J.R. credit for being humble enough to realize this. At any rate, at least it's better than KINGDOM OF THE VAMPIRE….