In the pantheon of zombie outbreak movies, pacing can be a sure-fire killer (no pun intended). If the movie is propelling too fast, you can feel as if it's almost passing you by without a hint as to what the heck is going on..too slow.. and you are trying to keep from getting whiplash in an attempt to prevent yourself from falling asleep....and that is where State of Emergency has us trapped.
When I first had heard about the upcoming release of this film, I immediately hunted down the trailer and honestly was really excited about what was laid out before me. Simple storyline - we follow the lead character Jim (played by Jay Hayden), who in flashbacks has the perfect happy life with his fiancee in an idyllic small town. Unfortunately, things begin to take a downward swirl when the nearby chemical facility suffers an unforseen explosion, sending mass quantities of toxic smoke pluming into the air, and poisoning the locals to the point of where they have become slow (almost still) fragments of their former selves, until they get someone in their line of sight, and then it's time to go to the races, baby !
Jim, who now finds himself alone due to the death of his not-to-be bride, is helped to safety by Scott (Andy Stahl), who with his girlfriend Julie, and another charmer of a female (Alex), are holed up in an abandoned warehouse with numbers of the recently infected outside, and a military that seems to be running in circles. The movie does have its strongpoints, don't get me wrong - the overall gloom and doom aspect is heavy in a visual sense - you can almost feel the life has been literally sucked out of the small town after the inital catastrophe, and the feeling of lonliness will envelop you, while the pseudo-zombie townsfolk are generally creepy with their dead-red eyes staring a hole into your skull, and then traveling at breakneck speed towards you with an influence of rage that hasn't been seen since the 28 Days movies. The kills, while low in quantity are impressive - head shots from a scoped rifle over hundreds of yards away still give that gorehound splatter that we all know and love, and the makeup detail of the infected, while simple in nature, isn't overdone, which adds to the realism.
NOW - the true murderer of this movie is the extremely slow pacing in which dialogue between characters, and long, drawn out gazes into open fields will make you feel as if you're running in hot asphalt. Character development is essential to any movie, but come on !, we're in a friggin zombie movie here ! If I wanted to hear someone whining about why they thought they were a lousy daughter, I'd tune into Dr. Phil ! Gimme that sweet blood and guts that I crave ! At best I can tell you that this is at least worth a cheap rental, simply due to the notion that it should be watched for its sweeping scenery and creepy denizens. Other than that, if you are planning on making this a purchase....contact your wallet and declare a State of Emergency.