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Posted June 8, 2010
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After falling on hard times, the Oliver family drives cross country from Philadelphia to California to relocate at Bombay Beach, a former resort community on the edge of the Salton Sea that now looks more like a desert wasteland. The oliver kids befriend an ex-gang banger who shows them around. One night they witness a bus load of military soldiers about to enter a private section of their community when green-skinned creatures rise from the sea and attack; only one soldier escapes (Metzger, a former drug addict) and befriends our protagonists who then go on to find out what's happening. The town is full of some interesting characters, including a woman pastor who used to head a nudist church (!) and a loner nick-named the Mad Scientist who eventually sheds some light on what's going on.
Ochse employs a nifty idea for his zombies: they've been spawned by a failed top-secret project to create a race of astronauts who don't need to breathe to survive. The government (then when funds were cut, the military) began training this elite group under the Salton Sea until things got out of hand (even Ronald Reagan is given part of the blame here!).
Since the zombies only number in the hundreds--and because they're man-made--EMPIRE OF SALT doesn't fall into the tired post-apocalyptic category, and by keeping the creatures in a small area, there's plenty of claustophobic scares that go down within the local trailer park as well as several suspense-filled aquatic scenes.
With its underlying message of doing what's right in the face of unusually difficult circumstances, EMPIRE OF SALT manages to keep a positive message even in-between the countless chunk-blowing head shots and disembowelments. If you're a zombie fan, you're in for a good time.