Movie Review: Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies (2014)

Synopsis: After catching his girlfriend cheating on him with his friend Billy, professional wrestler Shane Douglas gets angry and later accidentally kills Billy in the ring with a botched piledriver. Six weeks later, he is given the opportunity to make money as part of a wrestling show at a prison. However, the event is really an elaborate revenge plot by Billy's brother, Angus, who has filled the prison with zombies. Shane and his fellow wrestlers soon find themselves fighting for survival.

Who's in it? The movie stars Shane Douglas, Roddy Piper, Jim Duggan, Adrienne Fischer and Ashton Amherst.

Review: When I first heard about Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies, I thought it was some sort of internet prank and was surprised when I came across the movie on Amazon Prime. I had a ton of doubts about this film but have always loved Roddy Piper as a movie star and decided to watch it with my wife last night. 

Overall, I have to say it wasn't the worst zombie movie I've seen. However, it wasn't even close to being the best either.

The premise, while a bit farfetched, isn't a terrible one. It kind of feels like there would have been easier ways to get revenge on Douglas that didn't involve a ritualistic sacrifice and creating a horde of blood-thirsty zombies. Plus, I'm still a little confused about why there were other wrestlers involved. However, at least the villain, Angus (Amherst) had a clear motive. That's an improvement over plenty of other movies.

Ultimately, the movie had three things working against it. One of the main ones, in my opinion, was the choice to cast real professional wrestlers. Yes, there was some legit name recognition (which in itself surprised me a bit). and Piper, as always, was awesome and was clearly the star of the movie even though Douglas got top billing. However, the other wrestlers were clearly limited in their ability to make the scenes and their characters believable, which is probably the reason why the least-famous of the stars, Fischer, got a lot more screen time and actions scenes than many of them. In other words, there's a reason why only a very few professional wrestlers go on to have successful Hollywood careers. 

I also thought the story could have used a lot of editing. As I mentioned to my wife, for a movie about zombies and pro wrestling, there was surprisingly very little of each for a good chunk of this film. And then when you finally had both, it dragged on to a point where it was starting to get a bit repetitive and dull. This movie was only 91 minutes, but it felt a whole lot longer than that.

The camera work in this movie also didn't help it. My daughter, who watched about five minutes of it, described it as something she'd expect to see from a group of high school kids making a class project. Some of the scenes were a bit too dark, others had weird angles that made the action hard to follow. There were also some conversations that looked like they were filmed separately then spliced together. Overall, it was kind of amateur looking, even for a low-budget film.

Final Opinion: I think I'll focus on the positives from this movie. This, in particular, was the surprisingly incredible acting performance Piper gave given the limitations of the script and him really having ever incentive to just phone it in. I'm still a fan of the late, great, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as a result. It's just too bad the rest of the movie couldn't keep pace with his underrated acting skills because he's the sole reason it's not getting an F.

My Grade: D+


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