Sunday, May 18, 2008


Just what this blog needs, another shot-in-the-backyard short film. This time around, it's director Chad Koeller's 2006 presentation THE WALKING DEAD, which is a literal example of the "Hey! I've got a video camera! Let's make a movie!" school of filmmaking. I wish I could say Koeller makes up in enthusiasm what he lacks in directorial prowess, but whatever creative urge might've spurred him on never translates to the screen. Like so many of these types of "productions," it's a home movie with a liberal use of Karo syrup.

The story is simply--very simply--a young man's encounter with a handful of the living dead; the first six minutes are nothing but this guy plopping his ass in front of the TV and watching fake news footage of a zombie epidemic cribbed from the DAWN OF THE DEAD DVD Special Features (hey Chad, look up this phrase: in media res) until the undead finally lumber into his house. There's two points of contention here: the first, if somebody staggered into your home--slack-jawed, wide-eyed, moaning and covered in blood--are you really going to politely ask, "Can I help you?" Even if they weren't obviously fucked-up, would you? And second: they're dead, dude, they don't have sticks jammed up their asses.

Actually, this guy takes a spreading zombie outbreak pretty calmly (for those of you who enjoy people half-heartedly watching alarming news reports, I've found your movie); in fact, he's such a cool cucumber that when the zombies sneak into his house he casually goes upstairs, hides in a closet, and patiently waits for the danger to wander away. And if you know anything about effective horror films, you know that protagonists who act calm and collected probably aren't in a very good movie. (You know what else indicates a bad movie? Zombies that hiss like cats.) I don't care what your motivation for making a movie may be, if there isn't a sense of urgency--about anything, whatever's at the heart of your story's conflict--then nobody's going to care.

They'll laugh at it, sure, but they won't care.

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