Movie Review: “El Muerto”

   El Muerto is a superhero film directed by Brian Cox. The film is an adaptation of the comic book series, El Muerto: The Aztec Zombie created by Javier Hernandez. It stars Wilmer Valderrama, Angie Cepeda, Joel David Moore, Billy Drago, Tony Plana, Michael Parks, Maria Conchita Alonso and Tony Amendola.

   A roll call says that there is only one really known actor appearing in this film. If you didn’t recognize his name you might know Wilmer Valderrama for his role of Fez in That 70’s Show. Joel David Moore also had some smaller roles in big movies along with his role of JP in Grandma’s Boy.

   If these credentials don’t make you want to take a look at the film, I don’t know what will.

   The film tells the tale of a 21 year old Diego that has made a home for himself in East Los Angeles. He shares an apartment with a close friend named Zak and has a lovely girlfriend named Maria. However, it all suddenly becomes strained and ripped apart. He awakens after a Dia de los Muertos festival and wanders about in his painted-face and leather ensemble. He soon finds his friends at a memorial paying respect to him. Evidently, he died in a car-crash, but that leaves the rest of the film to unravel why he was brought back.

    It has a very similar premise and structure to The Crow. This is something that I thought immediately while watching the film. I assumed that I was pulling at straws but a lot of others have also made the connection. Although, it isn’t exactly that much of a revenge story.

    None of the actors in this film really feel all too inspired with their performances, it’s all a little through the motions. None of them standout as being particularly bad, but they definitely don’t standout or draw my attention. Valderrama looked menacing and presentable in his ensemble, but the character needed more flushing out. It wasn’t that he was bad, but the script, pacing, and directing itself didn’t really allow him the means to showcase the character. It didn’t have a whole lot to work with. The plot was more difficult to follow than it should of been, especially towards the conclusion of the film. Also, the eighty-six minutes that the movie had felt like too little to bring all of the elements together. It might have been possible had the movie been paced in a different way, but it all seemed to fall apart before long.

   The movie has some visuals, for a budget that couldn’t have been very much, I didn’t think that it looked too cheap in most instances. Some instances could have been done better, but beggars can’t be choosers. As I have said, the story is similar in-structure to something like The Crow. This isn’t something to be seen taken as a complaint because I loved The Crow, and as long as it brings innovation, it has the opportunity to stand on its own. The problem is that it doesn’t bring anything to the table. It could stand on its own in the sense that it fails to succeed in a lot of levels, but that’s hardly something to be happy about.

    By the end of the movie, it really seems to fall in on itself because of how little it established. I wish they would have done it differently. I would say that if they would introduced the characters, developed something more legitimate of a rapport instead of the cookie-cutter romantic scenes than it would have had more a chance of succeeding. Other-wise, it feels generic and like I was able to watch from beginning to end without really feeling anything except for boredom. In the beginning though, I will say that it was simply nothing eventful or worth talking about. By the end of the movie it actually falls into the depths of mindlessness. In those moments, it goes from being uneventful to legitimately bad.

    In conclusion, I don’t really have that much to say about this film which should make a statement about the nothingness that it seems to provide in-retrospect. I didn’t want to slap this film away. I wanted to find entertainment in it, but I failed. There’s a certain novelty behind seeing a low-budget comic-book adaptation, especially with a lead-character that I am familiar with, but this one didn’t do it for me.

    Thanks for reading…

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0