MY BLACK SUMMER REVIEW 99% SPOILER FREE
Are you a Zombie fan? Do you enjoy watching shows and movies about Zombies? If your answer is “yes”, “maybe”, “sometimes” or “I am more into horror than Zombies” then Black Summer is a show that you must watch right now. I mean right after you read this review of course.
Black Summer, an original Netflix show about the Zombie Apocalypse, is now available worldwide. If you haven’t caught the virus, then you must not be hanging with the right infected undead. If you are thinking this is just another Zombie show then you are right. But you are also, so very wrong.
A highly intoxicating adrenaline rush, Black Summer rocks the Zombie apocalypse without remorse. This is my best description of the series, but I am guessing you feel I need to elaborate on this a bit. So, here we go. Hold on.
Intense. Very intense. You are in the action. You are a part of the action. While looking over the shoulder of a freshly turned Z we get a Zombie’s perspective of how it hunts and chooses its victims. It is sporadic yet the scene flows like the spurting blood from a freshly bitten victim.
I have watched numerous Zombie/infected shows and movies and I have never viewed a sequence so piercingly compelling and entertaining. I would have been happy to watch this captivating scene extended out for an additional 10-15 minutes it was so horrifyingly mesmerizing. Brains out to the actor, who I believe is Brianna Johnston, who made this segment so believably visceral.
STARLIGHT, STAR BRIGHT
Black Summer stars Jaime King, Justin Chu Gary, Christine Lee, and Sal Velez. Notable performances by Gwynyth Walsh, Mustafa Alabssi and Aidan Fink.
Jaime King was a queen as Rose. Her character arc took her from a strong woman to a nearly broken woman to a kickass leader. Justin Chu Gary plays a complex Spears who we never get the full story on. Gary’s presence fills up the screen and brings his character to life amongst the death and despair. Lee and Velez were both outstanding.
A RANCID STINKING ZOMBIE BREATH OF “FRESH” AIR
This subtitle says it all.
THIS IS THE ASYLUM
Produced by The Asylum, Black Summer is not their typical over the top Sharknadofest.
I am not saying that The Asylum is rebranding itself or anything but they have stepped out of the shadows of the mockbuster “tie-in” with this creative and highly polished, yet gritty show. Surprisingly Black Summer is not graphically shocking. Oh, there is gore for sure don’t worry about that; but it is not overly pervasive. The gore is not overdone and it does not distract from the experience.
There are some creative uses of common items as weapons. Mind you this isn’t the weapon crafting of the Dead Rising video game series. This is more to the dead tune of I am about to die what can I use to get out this tight situation. An ashtray? Great! Done.
CHEWING THE FLESH RIGHT DOWN TO THE BONES
This is an infected/Zombie show. Period. It doesn’t want to play nice. It doesn’t want to make you comfortable. It doesn’t let you go anywhere near your happy place. This is not a happy time during the Zombie Apocalypse. There is only survival. Nothing more. Nothing less. And oh, how we are smacked with that reality full force right in the face.
I don’t have any inside information, but this is how I suspect Black Summer was pitched to Netflix. “We want to show exactly what would happen near the start of the Zombie Apocalypse in the most realistic way possible.” As a viewer, you are thrown right into the story without any explanation. People panic. People run. People can’t shoot straight. People die. People become Zombies. If the Zombie Apocalypse ever occurs, this is exactly what I think it would be like.
ZOMBIES ON THE GO? YES, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Black Summer consists of 8 episodes of varying lengths. Each episode is broken down into titled segments with each segment related to the others within the episode. This is perfect for viewing on the go. If you have 3-6 minutes you can view a portion of an episode and then pick right back up later without missing a heartbeat. Unless you get bit of course.
PARKOUR TO PLEASE
While you won’t see any true parkour in Black Summer, there certainly are elements within the show that are highlighted. Some of the on foot chase sequences are outstanding and so enjoyable to experience. It appears every second might be the character’s last until they somehow slip away. But the triumph of avoiding the grasps of the ravenous Z only lasts a few seconds until the character is in peril again.
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO SURVIVE?
The Asylum uses creative ways to show what people are capable of doing in order to survive. Some of these things are atrocities but they are not shown on screen. These inhuman barbaric actions are alluded to without us having to witness the savagery implied.
Believe me, you get the idea of what is about to go down. I appreciate the fact that they chose to not go for the cheap shock value. There is enough going on in the show to make your blood run cold.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Yes, George Romero’s classic. Black Summer stirs up echoes of this Zombie masterpiece. While Romero used the perception of enclosed spaces, mainly the house and the basement, to induce fear in the viewers, Black Summer uses open areas as its playground of terror. Being out in the open just isn’t what it used to be. You know, with the whole everyone turning Zombie thing going on.
And no, I did not miss out on the fact that the characters Barbara and Ben were in the car together during the first episode Human Flow. It was a nice homage.
A HEADSHOT TO SQUELCH THE CONFUSION
Let’s clear up any misconceptions and confusion about Black Summer. Black Summer is set within the Z Nation universe. I call it a non-prequel of Z Nation because the tone, mood and focus on Black Summer is so very different from Z Nation. Black Summer is a standalone story, much like Rogue One is within the Star Wars franchise. Hopefully, Black Summer will be the first of many stories within the Z Nation Verse.
Black Summer is serious, dark and action filled. In fact, I would say the action is what it has more in common with Z Nation than anything else. Don’t hold your breath for any levity though. That doesn’t come into this vast story land until later.
A SHOUT OUT TO THOSE WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN
Thank you Karl Schaefer, Craig Engler, David Michael Latt, John Hyams, Abram Cox, Delondra Williams, Daniel Schaefer, Jennifer Derwingson, Dan Merchant, Jodi Binstock, Paul Bales, Steve Graham, Yaron Levy, Spiro Grant and the many others at The Asylum who brought life to death and death to life.
Also, a thank you to Alec Puro, who created the original music including the creepy as heck song in the first episode. It was like space and time met and did an intertwined dance of eeriness whenever a Zombie went all attack mode. It gave me the warm and fuzzies like the video game series Silent Hill still does.
THIS IS “THE ONE”
“The One” as mentioned in movies such as The Matrix is a very powerful phrase and I do not use it lightly. Black Summer is THE ONE Zombie show that Zombie fans need right now. It turns the Zombie world on its axis just enough to awaken the senses and give hope that the current craze is not over. While Z Nation, iZombie and Santa Clarita Diet all bring humor or a much lighter tone to the genre, Black Summer paves a new darker path for flesh eaters to run fast and free.
THE MIC DROP
If I have failed and have not convinced you to fire up your Netflix account or start one if you don’t have one yet, then I must “Hail to the King.”
Stephen King’s Twitter comment
My Work is Done Here
This is Brian Z, surviving the Zombie apocalypse, Black Summer Netflix style, one segment at a time. Don’t forget to ask Netflix for a Z Nation Season 6 and a Black Summer Season 2!
You can follow me on Twitter: BrianZFandom
This post originally appeared on Your Money Geek
Categories: Zombie television