Saturday 23 December 2023

Malnazidos (film review)


 First off be warned this isn`t the sort of film I write reviews about on here. Malnazidos is a Spanish zombie movie but it is set in 1938 towards the end of the Spanish Civil War, so has an historic base and people do play zombie games.

 The film opens with a group of German SS arriving at a small Spanish village where a wedding is taking place. The scar-faced officer is given a glass of the local spirit to toast the wedding but upon drinking he coughs and sputters causing the locals to laugh at him! He immediately orders his men to open fire, killing everyone! Once the massacre is complete the SS put on gas masks and open canisters releasing a strange blue gas….

 The scene shifts to Nationalist base where a young Captain Lozano is saved from execution by his uncle a senior officer, who orders him to take a message to another Nationalist unit in a dangerous sector of the front, his only companion a young deserter (also saved from the firing squad for this mission). We also see the scar-faced German officer at the base and Captain Lozano sees an injured soldado he knows being loaded aboard a train carriage – the carriage bears a strange symbol which we`ve already seen on the gas canisters earlier!

 The two men drive along the rough roads until they come to a roadblock manned by German SS, after a few minutes argument they are allowed to pass (the SS officer seems to laugh at some private joke letting them pass). Lozano notices the roadblock is flanked by new high fencing, as the truck goes out of sight we see fencing close the road behind it.

 As the two drive along aircraft engines are heard Private Decruz (Lozano`s driver) excitedly identifies an Italian aircraft and then a Republican I-16 “Rata”. They stop the truck and watch the dog-fight, the Italian gets shot down, but they see a parachute open and drift down into the trees, Lozano decides they have to try and save their Italian comrade. After a long walk they find the crash site the plane and surrounding area is covered in a blue substance (tanks under the wing have the same strange symbol we`ve seen earlier). They find the pilot hanging in a tree, but he has lost both legs and is obviously dead, suddenly they are surrounded by Republican militia/partisans and captured! Whilst they are being interrogated (during which a miliciana Matacuras finds the hidden message carried by Lozano), an American photographer with the group goes close to the Italian pilot to take a photo only to be attacked by the “dead” man and has his throat torn out. The others react, but the zombie Italian keeps on coming until shot through the head! Next the “dead” photographer gets back up and also starts attacking them, this is dealt with by the biggest and strongest of the group “Brodsky” who simply breaks its neck.

The survivors and their prisoners head for their secret camp, but before they get there, they witness aircraft sweep over and bomb the area, Private Decruz is quick to identify the aircraft as “Pedros” a nickname given by the Spanish to the Heinkel He-111. When the group arrives at the camp they find it bombed out and everyone dead, however after a few moments the bodies start to rise, one of the militia dies killed by the zombie who was once his own father! The rest of the group fire in all directions and eventually make their way to the river and get away on a boat.

At this point I`ll stop giving the plot away and just say the group have a few more close encounters with the undead, add a couple more survivors from different factions to their rag tag team and the whole thing ends with a fantastic, chaotic battle back at the base where we first met Captain Lozano.

 The plot is well thought out, the zombies are the result of a Nazi military experiment! The uniforms and equipment on the whole really good and we see silhouettes of He-111s plus some interesting steam trains (only a few picky gripes – several partisans had MP40s and the girl Matacuras had a Thompson – none of which were in Spain to my knowledge and the photographer appears to be wearing a US style late WW2 helmet). I found the acting to be good throughout, the horror combined with the need to stick together (safety in numbers) over factional/political differences during a war.

 Highly Recommended.

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