Goal of the Dead fails to Score
When former local star Sam Lorit returns to his hometown for the first time since his departure to pursue his career in the big leagues, he expects a joyful homecoming and a routine cup-game victory, however, this is not the case.Lorit’s never been back home in all that time, and is not aware just how hard most of the townspeople took his departure. A few have genuine personal issues with him, while many of the others he left behind seventeen years earlier are filled with resentment and bitterness, feeling betrayed that he left his hometown team for the money. One unhinged individual is a local doctor who plots his revenge by injecting Caplongue’s star player with an altered steroid, and he goes on a violent rampage. The steroid of course is a contagion, and the stadium turns into a massacre as the virus spreads to both players and spectators.
Most everyone knows how fanatical and crazed soccer (football) fans can be, having recently witnessed the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Taking that concept to the next level, directors Benjamin Rocher (The Horde) and Thierry Poiraud (The Return of James Battle) imagines what happens when an entire stadium is transformed into a legion of the undead. Unfortunately the concept fails to deliver.
Great zombie films not only rely on great story telling, good visual effects–whether it be the cinematography, the makeup or both–and an underling social commentary while delivering blood-soaked, gory action So one would think the big corporate world of professional football would be ready for its comeuppance. Although, a bit of the ugly underside of football is exposed, co-directors Rocher and Poiraud falter, more interested in dragging out character definitions and narrative elements to extreme lengths and boring their audience in the process long before the undead even make an appearance–nearly an hour into the film. Part of the blame belongs to the six writers, six writers who bring little sports action and way too many subplots, one involving Sam (Alban Lenoir) and a fan girl (Tiphanie Daviot) with a hidden agenda, another involving player Idriss Diago’s (Ahmed Sylla) multi-million Euro contract and several focusing on various townspeople trying to survive.
Though there are a few nice bits of gore, such as a decapitation by car window and the inevitable head used as a soccer ball, the scares are too few, the satire too meager, and the character definitions and narrative elements too long, which makes this an unlikeable zombie comedy.
Goal of the Dead originally premiered on February 27, 2014 in France, where it was released as two separate films, the first part directed by Rocher, the latter by Poiraud. The two films were later combined for its festival screenings, meant to be like two halves of a soccer match, but you can scarcely tell the difference between the two director’s styles. It was released on DVD & Blu-ray in the UK on July 7 2014.
Goal of the Dead
Directed by Thierry Poiraud, Benjamin Rocher
Screenplay by Tristan Schulmann, Marie Garel Weiss, Quoc Dang Tran, Ismaël Sy Savané, Laetitia Trapet
Starring Alban Lenoir, Charlie Bruneau, Tiphaine Daviot, Ahmed Sylla, Alexandre Philip
Run time: 121 mins.