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Strain 100 Review

April 21, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Strain 100 Image Credit: MediaWay
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Strain 100 Review  

Strain 100 Review

Jemma Dallender– Jesse
Alexis Boozer Sterling– Emma
Robert Forte Shannon III– Brandon
Karina Martinez– Grace
Jack Welcher– Mark
John Manfredi– Roy Franks
Matt Carriker– Lucas
Greg Kinman– Hickok45

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Hassan Hussein
Screenplay by Hassan Hussein and Todd Klick (contributing writer)

Distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment

Rated R for bloody zombie violence and language, including a sexual reference
Runtime– 84 minutes

Buy or rent Strain 100 here

Image Credit: MediaWay

Strain 100, a new low budget zombie flick directed and co-written by Hassan Hussein and available via digital from Uncork’d Entertainment starting April 11th, 2023, isn’t very good. Outside of some decent looking zombie makeup and gore and an unhinged performance by John Manfredi as a jerkoff diner owner, Strain 100 is a muddled mess of zombie movie clichés and anti-vaccine paranoia that makes the movie seem “timely” but, in reality, it’s just so much nonsense.

Strain 100 stars Jemma Dallender as Jesse, a young woman trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. When we first meet Jesse she’s hanging out in the woods with her friends, just enjoying life and whatnot, when her campsite is attacked by a zombie. Escaping with her life after most of her friends are killed, Jesse tries to find help, only to find herself under siege by more zombies. While seeking refuge in a deserted house and then being attacked by yet another batch of zombies, Jessie is rescued by Emma (Alexis Boozer Sterling). Emma notices that Jesse has a bite mark on her hip. A bite mark? From a zombie? Why hasn’t she become a zombie as a result? It’s at this point that we find out that Jesse didn’t get the C-100 flu vaccine, the apparent catalyst of the zombie apocalypse. Emma didn’t get the vaccine, either. So then Emma takes Jesse to a diner that’s filled with unvaccinated people who haven’t become zombies. Maybe if they get to a safe place they can all come up with a plan for survival.

So then some stuff happens, diner owner Roy threatens to kill anyone who refuses his direct orders (Manfredi gives the movie’s best performance here), a bunch of people are killed by zombies, several people commit suicide because they don’t want to live in the world anymore, and Jesse leaves the diner with Emma, Brandon (Robert Forte Shannon III), and brother and sister duo Mark and Grace (Jack Welcher and Karina Martinez). Jesse’s big plan is to find her mother, who happens to be a government scientist for the CDC. While on the way to the CDC headquarters several more people die, Jesse meets up with a psychopath survivalist (John C. Forman) and a band of gun nuts who love shooting zombies (Greg Kinman, apparently known as Hickok45 on the internets, and Lucas, as played by Matt Carriker, who is also famous online for liking weapons and whatnot).

Strain 100 never tries to explain why a flu vaccine would turn people into zombies (there’s discussion of a sort of “unforeseen mutation” but why would that mutation cause people to become zombies? Why wouldn’t people just die?), nor does it ever stop to explain what the zombie rules are. How do you kill a zombie? How does someone become a zombie? If all of the zombies at the start are vaccinated people, is it possible for unvaccinated people to become zombies by a zombie bite or coming into contact with zombie blood or whatever? And why do the zombies run like maniacs as opposed to walking slowly/shambling about? It’s hard to tell if the movie just expects to people to “get” what’s going on when it comes to the zombies or if screenwriters Hussein and Todd Klick forgot about explaining it. I mean, Jesse gets bitten by a zombie but doesn’t turn, but there are other people in her group who do get bit and become zombies. The movie never explains why that is.

The movie also never knows when to slow down. Had the movie spent a majority of its time inside Roy’s diner and built suspense as the people inside try to figure out what to do and get to know one another while the zombie horde builds up outside (you know, just rip off Night of the Living Dead whole hog as opposed to just sampling it) before setting out onto the road into uncertainty, Strain 100 might have been more successful. Maybe. But the reality is Strain 100 can’t wait to get out of the diner so it can go somewhere else and do another half-assed vignette that could have been interesting if it was its own thing. And it’s like that until the movie ends. It’s all just so unsatisfying.

As for the movie’s anti-vaccine paranoia, it gives the movie a “timeliness” that it doesn’t really deserve. As far as I can tell, based on my own internets research, Strain 100 has been kicking around since at least 2018, so its anti-vaccine paranoia is not an attack on the Covid-19 vaccine but just vaccines in general. That fact doesn’t make the movie’s “message” any less ridiculous, but I’d suspect that plenty of people are going to watch this movie and assume that it’s speaking about the pandemic. It isn’t. But then maybe that’s why it’s getting a wide release right now?

Jemma Dallender tries very hard as Jesse, the movie’s protagonist, but she doesn’t have much of a character or story to work with so she basically just wanders around for most of the movie. She is pretty adept at fighting zombies and shooting a shotgun, though, so at least she gets to do that. Alexia Boozer Sterling does a nice job as Emma, but she isn’t in the movie long enough (she makes a decision that makes no sense and may just make you throw your remote across the room. It’s just mind bogglingly dumb). Robert Forte Shannon III is interesting as Brandon but, much like Emma, he isn’t in the movie long enough. And John C. Forman is creepy as a survivalist who isn’t what he appears to be but, again, he isn’t in the movie long enough for it to matter.

And then there’s John Manfredi as Roy the diner owner. Like just about everyone else who is interesting in this movie, he isn’t in it long enough, but he does manage to stand out because he’s such a rat bastard asshole jerkoff. Manfredi makes Roy so unlikeable you get antsy about when he’s going to get eaten by zombies. You just can’t wait to see him get torn apart. If only the movie strung that anticipation out.

The best thing about the movie is the zombie makeup and gore. The zombies all look gross and disgusting, and they are a legitimate threat when they arrive on screen. It would have been nice, though, if the movie bothered to explain how they were possible in the first place, not to mention how one is supposed to kill them. I know that zombie movie lore is mainstream as hell like vampires and werewolves and everyone should know how to kill a zombie, but what’s wrong with taking thirty goddamn seconds to have someone explain how the zombie apocalypse works? Nothing, especially if you’re going to do a “zombies caused by a virus” as opposed to just “the zombies just happened.” And above all else, no one making zombies now and into the future is George A. Romero, so stop assuming that you can do what he did without understanding what, exactly, he was actually doing.

Strain 100 is a complete mess from start to finish. It doesn’t know what it wants to be or what it’s doing. The only thing it’s good at really isn’t enough to make Strain 100 worth checking out, unless you’re desperate to see a new low budget zombie movie. And even then…

Strain 100 is a mess. Avoid it unless you absolutely need to see every zombie movie ever made. You know who you are.

Image Credit: MediaWay

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Like 20.

Undead bodies: Lots.

Explosions: A few (off screen)

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A news report about a news vaccine, a world infected and taken over by a zombie apocalypse, a scientist with purple hair, a woman trapped in a car, attempted tent intimacy, multiple zombie attacks, neck biting, CGI blood hooey, running zombies, a zombie head smashed into the side of a tree, a total lack of cell phones, attempted driving, gas station hooey, exploding tire, car crash hooey, license plate jammed through a zombie’s mouth with dripping blood, breaking and entering, water drinking, a seriously bloody floor, tire iron to the head, shower hooey, clean clothes, more zombie attacks, diner hooey, more news reports, booze drinking, talk about diabetes, generator hooey, shotgun blast to the chest, serious intestine eating, off screen suicide, a bloody newspaper, a lame ass religious discussion, zombie children, more gas station hooey, more talk about religion, a flat tire, two cans of soda, attempted sleep, a truck hiding place, sniper hooey, transphobia, a gigantic barrel bomb, off screen explosions, even more religion talk, multiple headshots, an old guy with a Winchester pump, off screen dead body burying, a video, and in inexplicable ending.

Kim Richards? Big time.

Gratuitous: Vaccine paranoia, a scientist with purple hair, people cooking marshmallows on sticks over an open fire, running zombies, fridge lights, police cars, a zombie child hitting a piñata with a stick, answering machine hooey, the “throwing a beer bottle to trick the zombies” trick, a guy constantly referring to himself in the third person, saltine crackers, people playing “Patty Cake,” “Miss Thang is going with Daddy Bear,” two bullets left in a handgun, a guy saying “zombie,” multiple lame ass “religion vs. science” discussions, slow motion zombie running on top of a car and then falling off of it, someone stopping to shoot at a religious sign on the side of the road, zombie just ripping a guy apart, two zombies fighting over a head, canned tuna and peanut butter, an old newspaper clipping on the wall featuring a Toyota, barrel bombs, two gun aficionado who are apparently famous on the internets in real life, pistol drawing practice, and an inexplicable ending.

Best lines: “Am I, uh, am I dying?,” “If I was dying I, uh, would tell you I slept with your boyfriend,” “I’m sorry, hoes before bros, am I right?,” “So it’s everywhere? Outside town?,” “Well, if you’re bitten and not sick then someone needs to know about this,” “Who the fuck are you?,” “Ignore him? My place, my party. You don’t like it? Find another carnival,” “You show one sign of the sickness and I will end your days. Do you hear?,” “Shut your cakehole, Emma,” “You made it this far without a fella out there?,” “Good luck going in alone. I mean, you go out there and get ourselves killed. Hey, I’d rather starve to death in here than get my jugular chomped out there,” “You’re evil,” “A sweet piece of pussy shows up and suddenly we’ve got a mutiny?,” “If you get a flu shot you are infected,” “No contact with the customers, bitch!,” “I hope he’s dead,” “I don’t believe in God. I believe in scientists. Scientists that go messing where they got no business messing,” “I am so sorry about how this all ended,” “Mi casa is your casa,” “These are hard times for little things,” “Are you ready? For what? The blessing,” “Hey, you’re gonna miss the best part!,” “That crazy bastard is not your uncle!,” “Do people get thirsty in heaven?,” “What now? Shoot stuff, blow stuff up,” and “Don’t shoot! Who the hell are you?”

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Strain 100 is a new , not very good at all low budget zombie flick directed and co-written by Hassan Hussein and available via digital from Uncork’d Entertainment starting April 11th, 2023. Outside of some decent looking zombie makeup and gore and an unhinged performance by John Manfredi as a jerkoff diner owner, Strain 100 is a muddled mess of zombie movie clichés and anti-vaccine paranoia that makes the movie seem “timely” but, in reality, it’s just so much nonsense. It’s just not satisfying. Avoid unless you absolutely need to see every low budget zombie movie ever made. You have been warned.

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Strain 100, Bryan Kristopowitz