CONTAINS SPOILERS AND INCREDULITY
In a week that's featured so many rentals that were mediocre at best and borderline unwatchable at worst - The Ganzfeld Possession, Amphibious, Bloody Homecoming, Creep Van, The Rig, 13 Eerie - the idea that a film from the Syfy Channel and The Asylum isn't the worst film of the batch is by itself enough to shake one's faith in consensus reality. Sure, occasionally they can throw up the occasional insanity like their take on Sherlock Holmes, but most of the time they're pumping out stupid mockbusters with Microsoft Paint-level effects work and/or wannabe cult trash featuring CGI sharks in increasingly unlikely situations. (A reboot of the Astaire and Rogers musicals of the 1930s featuring two hammerheads is surely only months away.) But the idea that they can actually make something that's not only hands down the best film of the week, but is a perfectly watchable and enjoyable horror movie, is the kind of life-altering perspective-changer that makes absolutely no sense at all. It's like Al Adamson winning Best Picture.
Incredibly, Zombie Night is a solid, entertaining entry in the overcrowded cinema of the undead which stays serious throughout and doens't bother with easy laughs or silliness. It doesn't do much devastatingly new - for no given reason the dead come back to life and crawl out of their graves and start biting people, and a handful of the living try and avoid being zombified - but it does it with enough grue to earn an 18 certificate, and is helped by a solid cast of 1980s stars (Anthony Michael Hall, Daryl Hannah, Alan Ruck) and occasional nods to Lucio Fulci, City Of The Living Dead in particular.
John Gulager clearly knows what he's doing with a horror B-movie, even if the Feast sequels and Piranha 3DD weren't very good. Still, it's actually nice to find a disposable zombie movie that isn't much interested in being anything more than a disposable zombie movie. The zombs don't represent anything political or social, it's not an allegory for Cuba or the rich/poor divide or Facebook; they're just flesh-eating ghouls. Taken as a collaboration between The Asylum and the Syfy Channel, it's a shocking revelation (which also shows how utterly terrible they are most of the time). Taken on the level of an unpretentious and unironic gory zombie film, it's nowhere near a masterpiece but it's certainly worth the rental outlay.