RISE OF THE ZOMBIES has one of the strongest casts for an Asylum Studio movie I've seen to date. You have Danny Trejo, LeVar Burton, Ethan Suplee, French Stewart, and Mariel Hemingway who I thought was dead.
Don't quote me on this but I'm willing to bet that RISE OF THE ZOMBIES had it's debut on SyFy Channel then was realeased on video unrated with re shoots (French Stewart is not listed on IMDB but is in the movie) and given a leaner run time on video. I say this because a lot of the movie seems missing and focuses on the action. RISE OF THE ZOMBIES is directed by Nick Lyon the man behind ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE which sucked and was about a group of people dressed in cosplay lost in the city looking for comic con. I'm joking, but seriously the whole movie felt like people just walking around 2 hours. RISE OF THE ZOMBIES is a slight improvement with more focused direction.
In RISE OF THE ZOMBIES we have nothing original, just your run of the mill zombie fare. The zombie plague is because of a virus and there is rumor of a cure. Alcatraz is a safe haven that gets compromised so a team of survivors flee back to San Fransisco. The team breaks up with some looking for a cure and the others just seeking a place to fortify because they believe finding a cure is hopeless. Mariel Hemingway plays Dr. Lynn Snyder who leads the group that wants to find a cure which makes her the main character of RISE OF THE ZOMBIES. Danny Trejo plays Caspian who doesn't wanna waste time and anymore lives with searching for a cure and would rather find a safe place to bunker down. Caspian is a far more interesting character than Dr. Lynn Snyder.
At the start of the movie when Alcatraz gets over run by zombies It's Caspian who truly shines as a badass killing a lot of zombies. This is where RISE OF THE ZOMBIES was winning me over. So when the survivors split up I was really banking on Caspian doing the heroic thing and saving the group seeking the cure. Unfortunately Caspian gets bit and turns into a zombie 40 minutes in and RISE OF THE ZOMBIES then becomes boring until the last 10 minutes of the movie.
There is fun to be had watching RISE OF THE ZOMBIES with zombie dummies getting run over, bizarre use of CGI, head shots with no blood, and a baby turning into a zombie which is meant to be shocking but ends up being hilarious.
One thing about the movie that I don't think is a coincidence is the fact it's a THE WALKING DEAD cash-in. It's probably a stretch seeing that all zombie movies are about sticking together and surviving, but you really get that feeling this is The Asylum's money grab at THE WALKING DEAD popularity.
I cannot recommend RISE OF THE ZOMBIES for a bad movie night. It doesn't quite reach it's so bad it's good status. They shouldn't have killed off Danny Trejo so soon.