Fans exhausted with big-budget zombie movies will be refreshed by “Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards,” a wonderfully ragtag affair made with scotch tape, sealing wax and digital video by director-writer-editor Neeley Lawson. Borrowing equally from George Romero and Joe Dante for its wit and politics, Lawson’s ultra-low-budgeter suggests what happens to small-town folks when a mine explosion near a military weapons facility releases a toxic liquid that, if consumed, zombifies on contact. Cult fests, send invites now.
In the little burg of Broken Springs, high chooler Ken (an effective Teaque Quillin) is a classic teen alienated from his lousy stepdad, Jimmy (Chris Cutler), and unsure how to ask out a cute girl, Jenny (Ashley B. Maupin). When local moonshine distilled from poisoned water is distributed to customers, all hell breaks loose, starting with Jimmy and on through the town cops, hotties and bingo players. Lawson particularly skewers ranting radio evangelists, who manage to make a terrible situation even worse. Ken’s resourcefulness with his buddies in shop class, plus activists in something called the Zombie Killers Network, wage bloody war against the flesh-eaters.