The sub-genre of horror films, which involves zombies, has truly hit an oversaturated level, there are television shows with spin-offs to almost weekly releases of a new story involving zombies, while normally this influence seen in the genre appears positive the outcome finds too many rotting corpses of production. Many filmmakers have tried to find a more unique way of telling the story, from locations to more realistic outbreaks, stepping back to rethink the film, such as a religious comedy as in Fist of Jesus (2012) or centering it to survivors more than the frenzy feeding hordes descending faster than an all you can eat buffet for $9.99. Therefore, the British indie, Zombie Undead, presents a bit of new material to a dead species, working with elements of a claustrophobic angle to the best possible intentions with limited finances, isolated three-quarters of the movie to one location a hospital. Director Rhys Davies, his first horror film, in fact first anything, using the screenplay from Kris Tearse shows this overwhelming closing in effect extends past the zombies and into the invasion of one’s personal space with strangers, who have various levels of trust, which feed onto one’s misconceptions quickly resulting in disastrous consequences.
A simple enough opening sequence to the film, a vehicle speeding on darkened roads too fast to see if anyone or thing lurks in the shadows, inside the car, panic raging out of control, Sarah (Ruth King) holding her bloody father, the driver, Steve an off-duty EMT knows the situation. The film’s tense introduction, giving the viewer just enough information to comprehend the moments of normal life slipping away, snippets of data of a dirty bombs filtering into the lead up moments. A quick flash to the hospital, perhaps a tad too fast, chaos everywhere, screaming, crying, doctors in panic, bodies in various stages, though the camera never lingers allowing the audience to process the visual cues, likely done to lack of finances to show the extras with severe wounds. Sarah crashes backward from the panic hitting her head, falling unconscious – time elapses, and she’s groggy but back with living, though the time duration leaves everyone in a lurch. The lack of noise raises the first red flag, dark corridors, blood smeared walls, the senses dull, but flight or fight mentality running extremely high, accompanying tight shots to give a sense of closeness. She soon teams up with Jay (Kris Tearse) searching for their love ones, though strangely Jay doesn’t provide more insight to the situation, and Sarah’s lack of motivation becomes troublesome, they discover Steve (Barry Thomas) and the team grows larger in tighter spaces. The tensions rising in close proximity to others and the locations, a restroom stall, tight bathrooms, elevators, closed in maintenance rooms, cellars, courtyards, the claustrophobia used over and over, developing a psychological moving film. The best scene comes from walking over the dead in stairwells and negating long narrow halls with few zombies appearing but many doors wide open giving possible scare jumps scenes – sadly not present herein.
This film is not without drawbacks, with tough dialogue, not flowing smoothly unsure where the blame lies with actors or screenplay, though, the limited budget could factor, and long shooting days because of releasing the location dwindles down on the filmmakers. Though, everyone pulls together completing the necessary elements, with a few shocks, the dialogue seems too much, the factor of a visual film working much better, the close-in shots working to the best attributes to the movie. One of the biggest issues aside from the unfocused characters and corny lines, the title, a redundant name, Zombie meaning undead, and undead meaning just that, thankfully none utters the title, though Jay mentions zombie therefore he understands the nature of creatures attacking them. Titling a movie, perhaps a overlook chore, but a definitely necessary evil, everyone should assist and then look at what worked for the movie, claustrophobia, confinement, a dirty bomb a new wrinkle in zombie genre. A title such as The Restless Dead or Confined to the dead two titles I just now created, but the point to filmmakers have a respectful title, not one with two words meaning the same thing, it lowers the standard of both the film and audience.
Zombie raving fans will find enjoyment in the film, especially when seeing closeness to both the living and dead, leading to some quality blood spillage and gore mayhem including the mandatory intestine pulling, gut grunting gobbling feast. The film does stumble near the end just like the dead, lingering after their meals, with a delicious picnic scene involving an innocent child and a patrol from the Army.