The Ancient (2005) – By Duane L. Martin

 It’s September 10, 2004. Independent film makers, actors and crew from all over the country converged on Gainesville, Texas for three days. Over the course of these three days, several units were assembled and a film was shot. Now that the final edits have all been completed, what was the result?

Well, before I get to what the final outcome was, I should tell you what the story was about. Basically, two redneck types who head up into the hills to an old indian burial ground thinking they’re going to dig up some buried treasures and get rich. Unfortunately for them, what they found wasn’t buried treasure…it was something a whole lot more deadly.

As it turns out, there was an ancient spirit sealed within an underground cavern, which they subsequently released when they dug up the "cork on the bottle" so to speak. Naturally, the spirit wasn’t over keen on the fact that he’d been trapped down there for so long, so he proceeded to kill everyone in sight. Now it’s up to an Elvis looking sheriff (one of two Elvis looking guys in this film I might add) and a young archaeologist to try to stop the evil spirit and send him back to his underground confinement. Unfortunately, before they do, he manages to kill a whole bunch of people who he then raises back up as flesh-eating, beer-drinking zombies.

Now, while all that sounds really cool, I’m really sorry to say that the final product didn’t turn out all that well. The movie itself is an hour and fourteen minutes long, but I think it would have been far better served if it had been cut down to a twenty or twenty-five minute short rather than trying to stretch it out into a full length film. There are a lot of scenes that were overly long of people just walking or doing nothing that was overly interesting that really slowed down the pacing of the film. It also felt disjointed in many ways, jumping around to people and scenes that were pointless to the plot, including a lesbian shower scene that had nothing to do with anything. Not that I have anything against lesbian shower scenes, and the girls in it were extremely hot, but they never really "got busy" or anything and the only purpose of it seemed to be to give us a shot of them naked and to give a random zombie someone to kill. There was also a semi-entertaining guy with a split-personality walking around in a minister’s robes trying to tell people that the end of the world was coming. Again, he didn’t really have anything to do with anything and just ended up getting killed by a zombie towards the end of the film.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I wouldn’t want to be standing around most of these people in this film when they’re drinking. I swear to god you could put a hose in their mouths and water the lawn. I have never in my life seen so many piercings and tattoos in one movie. It’s like half the cast was rednecks and the other half were punky types with tattoos and metal poking out in every direction. I’d hate to be behind those people in the airport trying to get through the metal detectors. Not that I have anything against piercings and tattoos, but when half the people are covered with them and the other half are a bunch of rednecks, it just doesn’t seem to fit together.

As for the acting, it wasn’t that great either, but there were a few decent performances scattered here and there throughout the film. One in particular that sticks out for me was from an older lady who’s handyman fell down her well. She stood up above talking all kinds of smack to him about what a lazy moron he was. That whole scene was really funny and probably for me, about the best part of the film. There was another kinda funny scene where zombies broke into a party and started chugging down people’s beers before they got on with the business of killing everyone.

Basically, the people involved in making this film busted ass for three days to get all the footage shot, and considering that many these people had never worked together before and that everything had to be organized and thrown together in such a short period of time, it’s pretty amazing that they managed to get it together at all. Even though as a reviewer I didn’t really care for the final product, I do have a massive amount of respect for everyone involved in getting this project together. There were a lot of talented people involved in pulling this film together and each and everyone one of them should be proud of what they accomplished. I’m sure they had a lot of fun shooting it all and hanging out together for those three days, which as a reviewer is something I unfortunately miss out on. I’d love to see these guys get together again for another project, as now that they’ve done the first one and dealt with all the problems they encountered while making it, the next one should go a lot easier for them.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the American Movie Works website at