Indie Beat: Dead Squad: Temple of The Undead Review (2018)

by "Penguin" Pete Trbovich on October 23rd, 2018 | | ,

Dead Squad: Temple of The Undead was directed by Dominik Hauser and stars Erika Ervin, Conan Stevens and Carma Sharon. It’s about a group of teenagers on vacation encountering a Balinese temple that’s a front for Nazi medical experiments gone awry and the mutant zombies they’re unleashed.

AKA: Dead Squad

ALL YOU NEED IS DEAD.

Dead Squad: Temple of The Undead Review

Welcome to another “Indie Beat” review, where we check out the cutting edge of new independent horror. This time we have a perfect splatter-fest for Halloween in Dead Squad: Temple of the Undead, but let’s get a disclaimer out of the way:

Brains are for eating, not for thinking!

This is not the movie for deep story and philosophical reflection. This is the movie for your Halloween week party watching.

Dead Squad: Temple of the Undead is an action-survival horror that will remind you a lot of the Resident Evil series. Come to that, if at any point the Red Queen would have appeared to thank everybody for participating in this Umbrella Corp disaster test in their simulated Hive, I wouldn’t have been the least surprised.

Filmed in the lush jungles of Ubud, Bali and other Indonesian locales, Dead Squad starts with a prologue muttering about US government conspiracy theory honeypots like “Operation Paperclip” and “Project MK-ULTRA” leading to secret CIA programs. It turns out we have another one of those wacky Nazi mad scientists on our hands, doing experiments on human subjects which, no surprise, cause an outbreak of mutant zombies. Just once couldn’t they be researching new adhesives for DOW Chemical or something?

And along come a raft full of teens on vacation. Veteran horror fans, sing along with us from the Stock Horror Cast hymnal: A six-person band of young people on vacation, all of them balanced to represent a diverse proportion of races and genders, who brought plenty of booze on their rental raft trip and not much sense. They take a blocked-off fork of the river they’re paddling down, lose the raft when they all jump out to swim in a waterfall, get lost, chance upon a spooky old temple, and decide to seek shelter there while they get drunk and make out. It’s like the all-singing, all-tap-dancing revue of every bad decision made by every teenager in every horror movie ever.

Turns out the temple is a secret base where the Nazi experiments were happening. Soon the raft crew is traipsing through the bowels of a laboratory complex built under the ancient stone temple with monkey-headed gods smiling down. When the Nazi mutant zombies start appearing, it turns into exactly the movie you were expecting with just enough odd wrinkles to keep it interesting.

Action, Blood, Guts, and Gore!

If the above sounds like a fun popcorn muncher, you are correct. For an indie production, Dead Squad boasts great sets, tons of gore, lots of action, cool fight stunts, and a pace that will have your thumbs twitching as they reflexively seek controller buttons to punch.

Introducing Team Human:

  • * Blond Chick – brings her toy stuffed dog (seriously, what is she, five?) and high-heel shoes (sure, that’s practical gear for jungle rafting)
  • * Jock Dude – Blond Chick’s boyfriend
  • * Nerdy Dude – glasses, works the lab’s surveillance equipment
  • * Average Dude – packs some ammo
  • * Black Action Chick – totally reminds me of Selena from 28 Days Later; kicks lots of ass
  • * Asian Chick – stuck being third wheel behind two others most of the time, does swing an ax

And Team Nazi Zombie Mutant:

  • * Doctor Mengele stand-in – suitably deranged, second banana antagonist
  • * BIG Zombie Dude – seems to be the leader, a cross between a zombie and a bulldozer
  • * Cute Redhead Zombie Chick – no, really
  • * Cute Zombie Kid – feed me, daddy
  • * 101 Shambling Mutants – a wall of rotten flesh to slash through

…all of whom match wits and fists. Team Human scrambles for survival and a way out, Team Nazi Mutant Zombie seeks dinner.

Pros and Cons

A couple more strong points worth noting: Unlike average zombies, we get a glimpse into these zombies’ inner conflicts as they remember their former human lives, and even zombie family life as they’re shown in their hive. This comes complete with a love triangle between zombies. Don’t worry, it doesn’t turn into a zombie reality show (Eating Up the Kardashians), it’s mercifully brief. It’s an original note in an otherwise formulaic movie.

The other strong point is the action and kills level turned up to eleven. You get whole skeletons yanked out of bodies through the stomach, heads ripped off and bunted about, one memorable death involving a gun fired from point-blank at the crotch all the way out the skull, limbs whipped off and munched, and chunky salsa gore all over.

Weak points: Well, it’s a budget indie production, so they had to cut a corner or two somewhere. While the performances are good for a kickass action flick, don’t expect tearjerker acting. The script could have been a lot better – nobody has anything very memorable to say, and the plot is one big excuse for the action.

Average, But Satisfying

Dead Squad: Temple of the Undead isn’t shooting for any Oscars and doesn’t waste much time letting you know exactly what kind of movie it’s going to be. It is great cannon fodder viewing for binge watching. For a first-timer indie, that’s actually outstanding.

You know, if this were my rafting vacation, I’d totally ask for my money back. At the least I’d leave the raft rental outfit a review on Yelp: “Entry to wrong river secured only with flimsy chain, they could at least have a sign warning NAZI MUTANT ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE TEMPLE.”

The Verdict:

What do You think of Dead Squad: Temple of The Undead? (post a comment)

What do others think?

http://www.penguinpetes.com/

Writer, artist, prophet, cult leader. Take good care of my memes. I’ve raised them since they were daydreams.

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