26 February 2015

THE ZOMBIE DIARIES 1 + 2

THE ZOMBIE DIARIES

Alternate Title:
Zombie Diaries

UK, 2006
Directors: Kevin Gates
& Michael G. Bartlett

6/10







"The Zombie Diaries", the debut feature or British filmmaker duo Kevin Gates and Michael G. Bartlett, could be described as found-footage depiction of a zombie outbreak in England, divided into 4 parts [Diary 1 - 'The Outbreak'
/ Diary 2 - 'The Scavengers" / Diary 3 - 'The Survivors' / Epilogue]
,
following various groups of people in the British countryside (Hertfordshire),
hiding, searching for food, killing zombies and filming all the events.


This was shot and released before the found footage craze kicked off in 2007/2008, and yes, even before horror legend George A. Romero's "Diary of the Dead" which is rudimentarily the same thing. Unfortunately, it didn't leave a positive and/or lasting impression with horror audiences, mainly because the
shite marketing tried to convince people that it's "The best Zombie movie ever" (it's not!) and "Better than Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later'" (it's not!), although it's actually a rather calm, slow and ungory film - which led to an universally and unfairly negative reception.

Admittably, it's a rather amateurish, full of flaws and obviously made on a very low budget. Writing and direction are at times spot-on, at times just poor. Several scenes don't hit the right spot and are either pointless, needless or simply tasteless (the sex slaves in the barn). The pacing is a bit too odd, most of the acting is wooden and nearly all of the characters are one-dimensional, unsympathetic jerks.


Aside from that, I have to praise the movie's stunningly intriguing, rather realistic and super-bleak atmosphere. Even though it all looks a bit tacky, there's a certain raw and Blair-Witch-y feeling about it that makes "The Zombie Diaries" look and feel rather unique, especially compared to most other low-budget zombie flicks of the late 00s. Same goes for all the brilliant-looking old-school zombies (ace make-up!) and a couple of well-chosen eerie locations (abandoned towns and farmhouses, dark forests). Also worth mentioning: the first two diaries contain many splendid moments of utter suspense, and the music... I don't know. It's very minimalistic and far from being remarkable, but in some kinday way, it perfectly sets the dark, depressing mood. Kudos to composer Stephen Hoper!

Final verdict: it's no Romero, but IMO it's definitely worth checking out!



WORLD OF THE DEAD: THE ZOMBIE DIARIES 2

Alternate Titles:
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries / Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead / Zombie Diaries 2

UK, 2011
Directors: Kevin Gates
& Michael G. Bartlett

3/10




5 years after the first part, Gates and Bartlett returned with one of the most unexpected sequels (considering how unpopular the first was and still is),
yet also most pointless, most superfluous sequels of the last 20 years or so: "World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2", a dull and tedious piece of postapocalyptic boredom that briefly follows the events of the original, focusing on a band of soldiers and civilians searching for food and shelter, wandering through landscapes overrun by zombies.


Compared to "The Zombie Diaries" which somehow felt at least a tad innovative and original, "World of the Dead" is just bland, incredibly unimpressive and completely disappointing. It seems as if the two directors didn't actually care about the film and just made it because the Weinsteins threw a few more dollars at them. Together with "Children of the Corn: Genesis" and "Hellraiser: Revelations", this was the last flick that was released via the "Dimension Extreme" label - I think that says it all...

The storyline is pretty much non-existent, there's absolutely no character development whatsoever, all characters are either assholes or dumb jerks, and there are so many rape / attempted rape scenes here (incl. some douche raping a zombie...), "I Spit On Your Diaries" would be a much better fitting title, especially because... well, there's actually no more diary concept. It's just people wandering through forests, shooting zombies, occassionally interrupted by footage that probably took place between the first and the second film. Also gone: the gritty, raw look of the first part, here replaced with a bland and much more
polished look.


Zombie make-up and gore effects all look neat, the moody score by Pete Renton is pretty chilling and there are at least a handful of decently tense scenes, like the creepy opening or the slightly intense zombie attack in the barracks. Yet, overall, this movie is so hollow and so irrevelant and so not worth checking out.

2 comments:

  1. I just watched a Dimension: Extreme Film. 'Black Sheep' is much better than 'Children of the Corn: Genesis' was and probably better than this tripe sounds.

    It is funny to see Films that were ahead of the Found Footage Revival and consider them in context. As bad it was, 'The Chair' actually did the 'Film myself sleeping to see what happens bit' before 'PA.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Black Sheep is fun! Haven't seen COTC: Genesis & that awful lowest-budget Hellraiser crap yet.

      The Chair? *googles* Hm, never heard of that one before. Is it somewhat watchable?

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