Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Okay, let's see, we've had ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE and SCOOBY-DOO ON ZOMBIE ISLAND, and now we've got plain ol' ZOMBIE ISLAND, a short from writer/director Bill Whirity. While this 2005 film isn't bad by any means--at least, not on a technical level--it's a bit too shallow and underdeveloped to be a truly satisfying experience.

On the advice of a grizzled barfly (AMERICAN MOVIE's Mark Borchardt), three American twenty-somethings embark on a zombie hunting trip in the Canadian wilderness. (Personally, I'd have rather watched a movie about the travel agency that puts together zombie-hunting packages.) Woefully lacking in supplies, the guys decide to split up--yeah, that's a good idea on an island populated with the living dead--to see who can bag the most zombies. As I'm sure you can guess, things don't turn out as planned.

Whirity has a decent directorial eye, capturing the bleakness of the surroundings (even if he ignores much of its potential). He does resort to a few visual tricks, such as a brief black-and-white sequence with highlighted colors, that aren't exactly fresh, but doesn't bog the film down with them. His greater weakness is storytelling, failing to give his story much depth; in addition to being a people-meet-zombies-and-die story, the action unfolds in an arbitrary fashion, as if it were time for zombies to attack rather than the events emerging naturally from the narrative. I know, it's a short film, but most of the zombie scenes have a gratuitous feel to them. (There's also the minor of issue of the film not being terribly funny, which shouldn't be a problem except it's described as a horror-comedy; at least it's not aggressively unfunny like so many others are.)

ZOMBIE ISLAND has little to distinguish itself from other living dead shorts (it also names its characters after cult horror directors--Sam, George, Lloyd (Kaufman), etc.; I'm all for fan-love, but it's starting to get tiresome). Zombie-film completists may feel obliged to see it, but there are more rewarding short films out there.

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