A half hearted look at Night of the Comet.
Plot, scenes, characters and ending thought, we all know how this goes by now.
Plot (and not a complete line by line):
Reggie is working over night in a cinema while the rest of the world is out celebrating the earth passing through the tail of a comet (a once in 65 million years event), so everyone is out in the streets partying.
Well, everyone except a group of scientists who have locked themselves away in a secret underground bunker (Why are bunkers always secret eh?) but they didn’t remember to seal the air vents.
Well, the Earth passes through the Comet’s tail and everyone dies and turns in to little piles of pink chalk but those who were not fully exposed to the Comet didn’t die, instead they degenerate into ravenous flesh eating zombies (oh my!) and the amount of exposure changes the speed at which the transformation occurs (see where I am going with this?).
Reggie leaves work in the morning (having fallen asleep in the steel lined projection office) and encounters a homeless man who promptly tries to eat her brains (or maybe just try to kill her) but she manages to escape and heads back home only to find everyone dead… Except her sister, Same, who ended up hiding out over night in order to not spend the night with her family.
Whilst enjoying the empty city the girls hear a voice over the radio, they head to the station and run into Hector (Commander Chakotay from Star Trek Voyager, but I will geek over that later) another survivor, the trio proceed to send out messages over the airwaves which attracts the attention of those scientists I mentioned.
The scientists abduct the Reggie and plan to kill Sam and Hector, but the scientist left to take care of the dirty task can’t bring herself to do it, having grown weary of what her teammates have done in the name of science.
As I previously mentioned, the bunker in which the scientists hid out was not sealed completely and the scientists have been infected with the same zombie mutation as everyone else and in an effort to not die, they begin experimenting, believing the blood of the uninfected is key to their survival and so, like their more advanced brethren the scientists turn to monstrous acts in order to carry out their objective.
Reggie manages to escape, Sam and Hector save her and they manage to liberate a couple of children too, freedom, rebuilding society and having fun.. Oh and almost getting run over too.
This movie is most definitely a B-movie, the number of actors is minimal, the effects are low key but what works in this movie is the way the sheer lack of people impact the experience, the streets feel abandoned as if mere minutes before they were bustling with the daily life of those who have now departed.
The most striking thing in this movie to me, has to be the depths to which the scientists delve in order to stave off their eventual transformation, going so far as to hunt down survivors and put them in a catatonic state so that their untainted blood can be harvested.
Now if you’re the Zombie-plan sort of fellow, the lesson learned from Night of the Comet (Valley Girls of the Dead) is simple enough, in an outbreak not every source of authority can be trusted and some are so far from friendly you’d be better out with the undead.
Character-wise, there is a distinct lack of “Conforming to Stereotypes” in NotC, for most of the movie we have just two girls, one smarter the second more of a ditz and a guy who just seems happy to find he isn’t alone, the group of scientists become an increasingly amoral bunch with only one redeeming feature, they do not win.
Ultimately, you could feel bad for the scientists if not for two facts, firstly they prepared for the likelihood of the Comet having a negative effect on life but did not take steps to warn anyone and secondly, when they’ve found they are beyond hope and that there are actual survivors, they waste their time and resources on a fruitless attempt at self preservation, lacking any real change or growth.
In the end, Night of the Comet is a low budget flick that is light on the science (and light on the zombie) but it does show a different side to the outbreak, maybe the undead are not the only bad guys in the movie of life?
Night of the Comment scores a healthy six point two pink sherbert piles of dead folks out of ten.
Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.