Director – Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Cast – Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segen, Michael Bowen, Candice Accola, Andrew DiPalma, Eric Podnar, Nolan Gerard Funk, Christina Blevins, Kelle Cantwell
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I am glad that I finally got the opportunity to see what all fuss is about with this film. Hailed as one of the best independent horror films in recent years, this film does offer a pretty interesting plot that I have yet to see in a horror film. Adding a new element to the “living dead” horror sub-genre, this flick proved to be a pretty interesting watch, and did a fair amount for an independent film.
This film follows Richie(Shiloh Fernandez) and J.T(Noah Segan), social outcasts and best friends since childhood. One day after school they break into an abandoned mental hospital to wreak some havoc and drink a few beers. After destroying what they could of the already partially destroyed building, they explore the lower depths of the hospital, which were used to transport prisoners too violent to be transported through public means. Their venture leads them to discover the body of a beautiful young girl who has been strapped to a bed and appears to be dead, although in very good condition for a place that has been closed for decades. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they get a much closer examination of the girl, which reveals that she is dead, yet very much alive.
I really liked this film’s plot, and found it to be pretty original for a horror sub-genre that I always believed did not have a lot of room left for originality. Sure we have all seen films where a group of people uncover a zombie and eventually let it loose, which causes some sort of apocalyptic matter. In this film we get some friends who uncover a zombie, but this doesn’t go in the normal direction these types of flicks tend to head. Instead of the girl biting one of them and that leading to the whole town becoming infected, this flick takes more of a dramatic turn, and I respect that. The conflict in this flick is that one of the friends wants to tell the police, fearing that maybe the young girl is a “missing person”. The other person has much different plans for the girl, ones that involve sexual pleasure with no form of “commitment” required. Heh. This dramatic element of the film did in the end cause this flick to be a bit slow, but nonetheless I enjoyed that this flick gave me something new that I had not seen before. Even if it slowed down the pacing, I respect it highly.
The direction in this film is positive, and the writing gets a bit cheezy at times with it’s dialogue, but I think that simply had to do with the fact that this film centers around high school teens. We all know high school teens are stupid, so there you go. Now one element that I did like about this film’s writing is that this defied a bit of zombie logic by having this “living dead” girl UNABLE TO DIE. Yes, that’s right. Despite severing the spinal column or plunging sharp objects into this girl’s head, she survives it all and continues her thirst for human flesh. Pretty cool if you ask me, and not nearly as blasphemous as the Twatlight(Twilight) vampires sparkling in the sunlight.
My only complaint about this film is that it does get a bit slow at times. This being a zombie-esque film I was expecting to see a bit more action and gore. We do get some satisfying gore and action during the last act of the film, but I believe that we should have had some scenes similar to that thrown into the rest of the film at certain intervals, just to keep the film fresh and pacing properly. I applaud these filmmakers for not going for the cheezy clichés of the zombie sub-genre and sticking to dramatic elements, but they still could have thrown in some nice gore and kills throughout the first two acts and still kept this film with the dramatic subject matter they wanted.
Overall, this is a positive watch that I recommend to those who would like to see an interesting zombie film that does not head in the cheezy directions most zombie films head in.