Directed by Wych Kaosayananda, who co-wrote the story with Steve Poirier, Paradise Z (also known as Two of Us) is a zombie-apocalyptic horror that focuses on survivors, rather than the walking dead.
Two survivors in particular, Sylvia (Milena Gorum) and Rose (Alice Tantayanon) who are spending the end of days at a deserted luxury paradise resort. It’s not the worst place to see out a zombie apocalypse, and the early portion of the movie focuses on the pair relaxing in each other’s company. Enjoying the peace and quiet, seemingly uncaring about the world outside the resort.
So idyllic is their situation, that you wouldn’t really know anything was wrong, if it wasn’t for the ominous music and lazy dream sequence. Eventually, with dwindling resources, the women have no choice but to head out to resupply. Which is where the movie finally ramps up and delivers a final 15 minutes of zombies attacking the resort.
Paradise Z is the definition of a slow-burn movie, and there’s nothing wrong with that, except it takes it way too far. It’s not that it’s boring, both characters are watchable and you do want to know more about them, it’s that nothing happens. They swim, watch movies, sunbathe, have sex, read books, and that’s about it.
When we do finally see some zombie action, it’s pretty much too late. The film is basically over and no amount of zombie chasing and fighting can rescue it out of the doldrums. The zombie assault electing little more than a half-hearted shrug. Which is a shame as the actors are nice and feral, the make-up is decent, and the two women have to really work to survive.
There’s a decent film here, it just needed a little more imagination. Take something like The Night Eats the World. A zombie horror that focuses on one man completely alone and how that affects him. Paradise Z could have gone down this route, from the perspective of two different points of view. One character happy that it’s just the two of them, the other wanting to find other survivors. It would have added layers to the characters and created tension that just doesn’t exist for most of the movie’s runtime.
Paradise Z (2020)
The Final Score - 5.5/10