Automaton Transfusion (2007) dir. Steven C. Miller
Starring: Garrett Jones, Juliet Reeves, William Howard Bowman, Rowan Bousaid
“Automaton Transfusion” is guilty of false advertising. From “Dimension Extreme” division of Miramax’s Dimension films is this low budget horror film with one of the slickest DVD packaging I’ve seen. It’s designed to look like “Turistas” or “Haute Tension”, including a gory image of a half torn torso on the cover. After watching the film I’m convinced the graphic art for the DVD cost more than the film.
But of course a low budget has never stood in front of the making a good horror film. And so there’s no excuse for “Automaton Transfusion” to suck, which it does.
Randomly and with no rhyme or reason ordinary citizens start zombieing-out, spewing blood from their mouths and eating other people. A group of high school teenagers hold a party at a remote cottage in the woods. The zombies find the teens and proceed to tear them to shreds. The end.
The film is a series of horror movie cliché strung together with very little holding it all together. Director Steven C. Miller has clearly seen lots of horror movies, and for the most part finds the right camera angle to frame the scene to make it look passably professional. But he relies too much on the clichés instead of finding his own voice in the horror genre. There isn’t an ounce of originality, and I suspect the film got made because the director had some access to some blood and special gore effects.
The story is so simple it’s an insult to its ultimate inspiration “Night of the Living Dead”. George Romero didn’t have to explain why the world turned into zombies because the film wasn’t about zombies, it was about the relationship of four characters in a room under duress. Miller takes this as precedent which allows his film to do the same. And to top it all off, the sound is so bad, and poorly looped it’s quite laughable and the lighting is overly contrasty and distracting.
Yet despite all this the film managed to get a North American DVD release (with an expensive box) from Dimension and the Weinsteins solely on the amount of blood in the film. I guess there’s an audience for a film like this, since horror film junkies are the most rabid genre fans out there. Many of them will get suckered into buying or renting the film solely on the cover.
And any hope of some genre T & A are dashed when we get our obligatory boob shot early on, never to be seen again. Can I have my money back?
“Automaton Transfusion” is available on DVD from Dimension Films in the U.S. and Alliance Films in Canada April 1.