The Hell Patrol – DVD Review

In a world where the zom-com, or zomedy, is becoming more and more popular, director Turner Van Ryn dares to be different by looking back at the roots of what made the Zombie genre so interesting in the first place with The Hell Patrol.

Following a small squad of soldiers on their way back to San Francisco, one of the last refuges of the humans, Hell focuses on character and atmosphere over special effects. Using these elements, it is more than enough to make up for budgetary limitations.

Lt. Fletcher (Pisha Warden) is at odds with Maj. Brickhaus (James Hiser) from the moment he takes it upon himself to behead one of their own who has become infected. And what would a film be without a romantic lead: enter Sgt. Daniels (Scott Levy). If there were ever two characters you’d want to see survive a zombie attack, it’s Fletcher and Daniels. With night looming, Fletcher leads her Hell Patrollers to an abandoned house where they must hold up for the night to fight off the Zulu horde (as they call the zombies) and deal with their own inner demons as well.

Coming in at just under 30 minutes, one can tell that there is much more to the story than is presented here. Van Ryn, who also wrote the script, manages to flush out more of his characters in this short time than many feature Hollywood films. These are character you can relate to and care about which makes them fighting a crap load of zombies all the more intense.

By no means is the film perfect, but Van Ryn and crew use their talents well and do a lot with what little budget they must have had. The cinematography is really fantastic, and the zombie gore is pretty awesome, which all serves to elevate the over all enjoyment of the film.

The Hell Patrol is presented in 16×9 widescreen. Sound is in English 2.0 Stereo sound and 5.1 surround. The film doesn’t look or sound like a polished Hollywood film, but it’s not meant to. For what the film is trying to do, the look and sound is really solid.

Commentaries: You get two for the price of one here. First up is commentary with Director/Writer Turner Van Ryn and Producer Steve Romanko. This is your run of the mill commentary, though better than average. You can this is a passion project for these two and they give some interesting insight into the film They are also more than willing to point out their own flaws.

Second is a drunk commentary with the Camera Unit. This five guys having a good time reflecting on a film they worked on, riffing on the film and riffing on one another.

Gallery Here you get Production Stills, Photos and a montage of behind the scenes on set videos that are all pretty interesting. They give a good look at what making a low budget zombie film looks like.

The main Trailer and a Teaser Trailer are included.

If you’re a fan of old school zombie flicks, then it’s worth your time and cash to check this diamond in the rough out. You can’t rent it from Netflix and you can’t buy it from Amazon (though you can download the soundtrack there) so you’ll have to head over to the website, Hell Patrol Dot Net, and shell out a whopping 7 bucks to get yourself a copy. I really enjoyed watching this short and really hope it gets to be flushed out into a feature.

13th Generation Productions presents The Hell Patrol. Written and Directed by Turner Van Ryn. Starring Pisha Warden, Scott Levy and James Hiser. 31 minutes. Not Rated, has coarse language and gory violence.

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