Arriving on DVD April 17 from Tempe Video, Deadlands: The Rising, opens with a disclaimer. We are told upfront that this film is not associated with Deadlands, the Pinnacle Video Game, Role Playing Game, or any of their expansion series. It is also not associated with Brian Keene's novel The Rising. I can't speak for the games mentioned, but the Keene novel is an exciting piece of zombie fiction that brings fresh ideas into a time-worn premise, so I can safely confirm it truly has nothing in common with Deadlands: The Rising.

Two friends, played by director Gary Ugarek and producer Brian Wright (and like most of the cast, the characters have the same names as the actors who play them) head off for a white trash day of beer drinking and bottle shooting. All television and non-cell phone services are out for some reason; whether or not this has anything to do with the crisis to come is never established. During Gary and Brian's drive into the country, the film commits the sin of allowing non-actors to improvise dialogue, and as the director and producer they should really know better.

Brian's wife Michelle (played by his actual wife Michelle Wright) is left at home with their son Connor. A large explosion, presumably nuclear in scale, devastates a large portion of the city, or so we are told because large scale devastation is way out of reach for a film on this kind of budget. Michelle and Connor stay close to the radio as reports of disorder, violence and murder flood the airwaves, while Gary and Brian attempt to return to Brian's house. Gary's divorce is mentioned three times in the first ten minutes of the movie, presumably to establish why he doesn't have any loved ones of his own to be concerned about.

categories Dvds, Cinematical