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The Zombie Diaries (2006)

  Tags: low budget, low-budget, Michael Bartlett, pov, The Zombie Diaries, uk, Zombie Movies

Your rating: None Average: 6 (1 vote)
Reviewer Rating: 
6

zombiediaries.jpg
Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Michael Bartlett
Runtime: 
85 minutes
Cast: 
Russell Jones, Craig Stovin, Jonnie Hurn, James Fisher, Anna Blades, Imogen Church, Kyle Sparks, Alison Mollon, Victoria Nalder


There have been a thousands of zombie films since Romero started the craze in the late 60s, but none of them have really tried to tackle the sub-genre the way that this little indie flick did. There was once a time where making a movie look like it was shot on home video was frowned upon, but now, with the constant advancing technology and lack of fresh ideas in the genre, viewers like myself are more open to new things and experimentation. Thus, we have The Zombie Diaries, a low-budget UK film that takes advantage of easily-accessible camera equipment and combines it with a solid script and a clever idea. The Blair Witch Project took shot-on-home-video filmmaking to a whole new level when it made a ridiculous $200 + million on a meager $60-thousand-dollar budget and spawned a lot of lame copycats over the years. Though, the documentary-style filmmaking never really brush over the zombie genre until now. Even Romero himself is using this style of filmmaking with his upcoming Diary of the Dead.

The movie is broken up into three main stories -- the beginning is a 25-or-so-minute segment that focuses on the start of the outbreak, where a female reporter and her crew are sent to a secluded farm to investigate and question some people about a viral infection that has seemingly spread throughout the world and has yet to reach London (as far as they know anyway). Along the way they pass through a seemingly abandoned town and reach the farmhouse that also appears to be abandoned, until they find the owners upstairs and in full zombie form. We then move onto another short segment entitled "The Scavengers," following a couple and a person they picked up on their travels, as they make their way to a nearby town in an attempt to scrounge up some new food and supplies. The final segment is called "The Survivors" and follows a group of survivors that lay waste to a slew of zombies, scavenge for supplies, and deliver the usual fear, paranoia, and banter that large groups usually do in these flicks.

The first story is by far the best segment in the entire film and seemed to make most use of the home video aspect. The segment successfully delivered in realism and chills, and had one of the creepiest moments I've ever watched in a zombie movie to-date. The actors in this story were told they would encounter a zombie, but weren't told when or where, so the fear they portrayed was genuine. The second story was interesting, as it showed the trio gather supplies in a local town and narrowly escaping a swarm of zombies, while the third story was the longest installment and also the weakest. It was a given that we'd follow a larger group, but it's a shame that it fell into the usual mold and didn't really offer much of what we haven't already seen, and although interesting, I hated the "twist" ending, as it proved to be a ridiculous demise for the survivors. The third story was also a bit confusing since we had to follow so many characters, and events. I would rather have witnessed a full movie following the first group as they survived through the begining to the end of the ordeal.

As far as gore goes, there's a decent amount of it, but nothing spectacular and most goes unnoticed since it's all shown briefly considering these characters aren't going to just stand around and watch their friend get their guts eaten. Throughout the movie we're led to believe that these characters would actually film most of the events that unfold before our eyes. Obviously there will be moments were the person on camera will ask the cameraman why he's filming, which adds to the realism. The fact that all the footage is shot on video makes a lot of scenes excusable when they're cut off and we're shown another sequence. Thanks to this, the storyline can be sped up by simply turning the camera off and on after certain events -- the beauty of mockumentary style filmmaking! However, the camera work does get a bit annoying and repetitive at times, which is understandable being all hand-held.

When it's all said and done, Zombie Diaries managed to dish out an interesting and original installment in the repetitive sub-genre, and although it falls into the standard mold, it proves to be one of the most realistic takes on a zombie outbreak since the genre began. Worth a check

Posted on April 13, 2011 - 2:12am | FrighT MasteR

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