When it comes to contrasting movie genres, it’s hard to think of two more disparate examples than Ocean’s Eleven and zombie films. While the first depends on an intricate set of rules in an orderly world of high-end hotels and socialites, the latter usually takes place in an apocalypse where crowds of the undead are baying for your blood. Filmmaker Zack Snyder intends to bring the two worlds together with his upcoming Netflix movie Army of the Dead. Described as a “zombie heist” film, Snyder revealed during Justice Con that his movie features a reference to Ocean’s Eleven as homage.
“The [heist movies] that have really gotten me are like Italian Job and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and of course, Ocean’s. You can’t make a zombie heist film set in Vegas or a heist film set in Vegas and not have some Ocean’s reference, especially in a movie that’s making other movie references, and it’s subtle and we try not to go completely nuts, but it is what it is.”
Army of the Dead takes place in a nightmare world where a zombie virus has turned the entire city of Las Vegas into a post-apocalyptic society, where zombies roam the streets and humanity is on its last legs. In this new world, a group of mercenaries are convinced to enter Vegas to extract a large sum of money from a secret vault, mere days before the entire city is to be blown off the face of the Earth.
That is where the “heist” nature of the film comes into play. Only difference is, instead of elegantly sipping on champagne while dressed in expensive tuxedos like Danny Ocean and his grifter pals, the main cast of Army of the Dead, led by Dave Bautista, will have to shoot and bomb their way into a zombie hive. In a previous interview, Snyder had explained that the zombies that feature in his movie are smart and fast, capable of forming a network to attack their prey.
“In this concept, it was this idea that we would evolve the zombies or there would be a hierarchy, there would be some sort of [organization]. You’ll learn in the movie the ‘why’ of it because it’s very specific about why certain zombies are ‘Shamblers,’ and certain zombies are ‘Alphas,’ it’s very particular… But the Alphas, I sort of think of them like wolves or pack animals that can work as a team. Zeus [Richard Cetrone] is their main guy, and the Zombie Queen [Athena Perample] of course, they have this kind of primitive way of communicating. I’m not even sure how it works, but it’s very much from the animal kingdom. They’re one with nature if you will.”
It will be interesting to see how Zack Snyder references the world of Ocean’s Eleven in his strange, new, zombie-infested reality. Directed and co-written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Raul Castillo, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi, and Ana de la Reguera. The film will release on Netflix on May 21.