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Army of the Dead Teaser Promises a Return To Zack Snyder’s Zombie Roots

Reminder that Snyder's Dawn of the Dead absolutely slays.

Netflix just dropped the first teaser for Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie film Army of the Dead, and yeah, we’re excited. The film, set in a post-zombie outbreak Las Vegas, follows a team of mercenaries who enter the closed-off city to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

The film features an international cast that includes David Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Ella Purnell (Belgravia), Ana de la Reguera (Narcos), Matthias Schweighöfer (You Are Wanted), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine), Omari Hardwick (Power), Tig Notaro (Star Trek: Discovery), Raúl Castillo (Vida), Michael Cassidy (The Magicians), and Garret Dillahunt (Fear the Walking Dead).

The trailer features all sorts of funny, gory action we’d expect if a zombie outbreak tore through Vegas, including a zombie bachelorette party, zombie Elvis impersonators, and … zombie Liberace? Yes please. The film, written by Snyder, John Wick 3 writer Shay Hatten, and Joby Harold (Obi-Wan Kenobi), showcases a darkly comedic tone we haven’t seen from Snyder since his 2004 cinematic debut Dawn of the Dead.

While I am not a Snyder fan, I do unabashedly love his Dawn of the Dead remake. With a clever script by James Gunn, Dawn of the Dead follows Sarah Polley as Ana, a nurse caught in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Ana seeks refuge at the local mall along with other survivors as they fortify themselves against the zombie horde. The film is smart and stylish, and positioned Snyder to become one of Hollywood’s top action directors.

I’m hoping that Army of the Dead carries the same energy as DotD. Fingers crossed for saturated colors, less slow-motion, and no more of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Netflix has big plans for spinning AotD into a full-on franchise, ordering a prequel and an anime spinoff. Hatten will write the prequel as well as the anime series. The prequel will be directed by and star German actor Schweighöfer, and will follow his AotD Ludwig Dieter. The prequel is set to be filmed in Germany.

The anime series, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, will tell the origin story of Bautista’s character Scott Ward and his rescue crew during the initial fall of Vegas as they investigate the source of the zombie outbreak. Snyder will direct two episodes of the anime series, which will be showrun by veteran animation director Jay Oliva (Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League Dark).

Snyder said of the plan, “I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to partner with Netflix again as we expand the Army of the Dead universe with both an international prequel, as well as exploring the visually dynamic world of animation, … It’s been a great collaboration and we are thrilled that Netflix sees this as big of an IP as we do.”

After a long hiatus, it’s shaping up to be the Spring of Snyder, with his long-awaited Justice League cut hitting HBO Max on March 18.

Army of the Dead premieres on Netflix on May 21, 2021.

(via THR, featured image: CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.