Netflix’s ‘Army of the Dead’ reminds us that we’re not yet post-pandemic

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All method of weapons go off all through Military of the Lifeless, Zack Snyder’s turbo-charged sophomore zombie romp, streaming right now on Netflix. The gun that could hit viewers the hardest, nonetheless, is the one that’s least deadly: a temperature gun.

Zombies can famously solely be killed via mind trauma, so most of the movie’s weapons are geared toward once-human heads. However not like that somewhat rare-in-real-life circumstance, many viewers of this movie may have really had a temperature gun geared toward their heads sooner or later in the previous 14 months. (Some of us fairly ceaselessly!) Seeing that sadly now-common incidence depicted onscreen right here, in the first main zombie film of the COVID period (other than South Korea’s Peninsula), will deliver house the parallels of an undead plague and a garden-variety one in methods that older zombie films merely can’t.

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Military of the Lifeless is the newest chapter in the “of the Lifeless” sequence established by zombie godhead George Romero, and up to date by future DC franchise savior/saboteur Snyder with 2004 Daybreak of the Lifeless remake. The plot considerations a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, which is quashed early on in the movie in a classy and creative, all-hell-breaks-loose sequence, at the expense of the metropolis’s inhabitability. From there we lower to an unspecified quantity of years later, when the United States is all set to hit the walled-off metropolis with a low-yield tactical nuke. Earlier than that can occur, although, Dave Bautista’s character is tasked with main a ragtag group into the Z-zone for a basic Vegas heist.

Name it Oceans (of Blood) Eleven.

What’s fascinating about this setup is, not like most different zombie films, this one takes place largely after an in depth brush with the apocalypse, in a world on the brink of returning to normalcy. Positive sufficient, Military of the Lifeless is being launched simply over every week after the CDC loosened its restrictions on mask-wearing as a result of a lot of the U.S. is vaccinated and able to get again to the enterprise of regular life. Though COVID-19 didn’t appear fairly as a lot an extinction-level risk as zombies for lengthy, it nonetheless feels considerably miraculous to really feel the pandemic start to recede into the rearview, like the characters on this movie after the opening sequence.

However similar to these characters, we may additionally be getting forward of ourselves.

That temperature gun talked about up prime is a fixture in the movie’s Vegas-bordering quarantine camp, a minor burden the residents should endure that has the really feel of an pointless formality. Type of like having to put on a masks right into a restaurant earlier than taking it off at the desk, regardless of being vaccinated. In fact, simply as a zombie outbreak isn’t as contained as it could appear, America’s COVID-19 victory lap is untimely as nicely. Our nook of the world isn’t even in the clear yet, regardless of the way it could really feel on the floor generally, whereas in different areas similar to India, the pandemic continues to be rampaging. Specialists are even warning we may go proper again “to square one.”

Zombie movies have at all times been excellent trojan horses for unsubtle messages—about conformity, consumerism, the navy industrial complicated, and any quantity of different ideas over the years. This time, nonetheless, the name is coming from exterior of the home. Snyder by no means meant for his movie, which went into manufacturing in July 2019, to have a pandemic message baked into it, however alas, one exists: By no means take a reprieve from a plague as a right, however at all times keep in mind that it could solely be a brief one.