As the first local zombie film to be backed by a major producer, the hype surrounding Block Z had been mounting since the project was announced last year. Couple that with wunderkind director Mikhail Red at the helm plus a quality ensemble cast and the expectations were definitely higher than usual.
But thankfully, Block Z does not disappoint, both in creative and technical aspects. It delivers one entertaining show that takes audiences on a rollercoaster of emotions from the start until the end. The movie centers around the life of PJ (Julia Barretto), a fourth year medical student with a strained relationship with her dad (Ian Veneracion). In school, PJ and her blockmates (Maris Racal, McCoy De Leon, Yves Flores, Myrtle Sarrosa) try to enjoy life in and outside the classroom. PJ also has a longtime suitor in the captain of the basketball team (Joshua Garcia).
In a span of one day, the entire campus of San Lazaro University transforms into a war zone when a zombie epidemic breaks out and the school is shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. PJ, her friends, and other survivors band together to make it through the night in a series of exciting and scary encounters with their infected former classmates and friends.
Since the majority of the film is hinged on her story arc, much is expected from Julia Barretto and she is able to deliver a believable performance as she transforms from playing victim to true survivor over the course of the film. McCoy De Leon, Maris Racal, Yves Flores, and Joshua Garcia play stereotypes of the different kinds of students but they embraced their roles, making the viewer either root for them or hate them in the end.
The more senior members of the cast like Ian Veneracion, Dimples Romana, and Ina Raymundo may not get as much screen time as the younger cast, but they make their mark in pivotal scenes which add depth to the story and set it apart from being just another barkada horror film. Musical scoring and production design were also on point as it added to the thrill and excitement in every scene. All in all, Block Z may not have that many surprises for die hard zombie film fans, but it is entertaining enough to be worth watching as your first Star Cinema film for the year.