[31 Days of Horror: Resurrection] Day 14 – Automaton Transfusion (2006)

Director: Steven C. Miller
Cast: Garrett Jones, Juliet Reeves London, William Howard
Screenplay: Steven C. Miller
75 mins.
Not Rated.

There are two reasons I have a copy of Automaton Transfusion on my DVD shelf. The first has to do with the fact that my friends and I would always come across it on the shelves of the Walmart movie section when I was a teen, some 14 years ago, and we’d laugh at the title and try to guess what it had to do with the movie itself. The second comes down to a Bloody-Disgusting quote on the front cover, calling it “One of the Best Zombie Films in Decades.” Now, I’m not here to shit on Bloody-Disgusting. I love that site. But that quote stuck out to me, and I had to have it in my collection. If only I could go back to that time and smack myself in the face…

Three teenagers living in the town of Downey are on their way to see a popular grunge band, but their plans are thrown asunder when they discover their town overrun with zombies. Now, they must fight their way through Downey in search of safe haven.

It’s unfortunate that there is so little to go on for a film here, but even at 75 minutes, there isn’t enough here to stretch to fill that time. We have three teenagers as our leads: Chris (Garrett Jones, Under the Bed), Jackie (Juliet Reeves London, The Big Short, Dallas Buyers Club), and Scott (William Howard, Dear John, El Freeman). To be honest, I don’t think there’s a single thing I could tell you about any of them. What we have are a series of scenes that feel thrown together, and none of them seek to develop the characters at all. I was desperate for the zombie massacre to begin as I just didn’t care about any of the living folk at all.

When the zombies begin their takeover of town, I was hoping at least for some interesting or exciting carnage, but that too was a disappointment. There may have been some interesting moments of zombie violence, but it was so hard to discern what was happening at all in the story because the camera was so zoomed in and shaky that I couldn’t make out anything happening in the story. The action wasn’t propelled by interesting characters and became noise, but I couldn’t even see the noise for its entertainment value, which was the death knell for this tale.

I really got excited to finally sit down and watch this movie. In the years since purchasing it, I’d become slightly more aware of director Steven C. Miller (Margaux, Line of Duty). I even really enjoyed his reboot/remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night. This first low-budget outing, however, fails the characters, the action, and especially the story, leaving us on a To Be Continued that has yet to be resolved, and I don’t really care to find out even if there was a Part 2 & 3 to close out this planned trilogy. Automaton Transfusion was found on the shelves of Walmart, but it deserved to end up in the bargain bin.

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Steven C. Miller’s Silent Night, click here.

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