Saturday, June 28, 2008


I'll be honest, I had a hard time figuring just what the hell this was about.

Ed Hunter's 2006 short film DISORDER posits a scenario similar to 28 DAYS LATER, in which a mind-altering virus turns those infected into zombie-like creatures--taking the premise a bit further than the Danny Boyle film and making them closer to Romero's flesh-eating ghouls--and setting up yet another "end of the world as we know it" situation. The story is relayed to us by one of the survivors, documenting recent events into a video camera, committing the short's biggest mistake; it's talking-head exposition delivered in a flat performance alternating between monotone and melodrama, with a few flashbacks of zombie-related mayhem to mix it up a little. Listening to someone tell a story in static close-up is already a questionable narrative choice, but Hunter hurts his cause even more with horribly muffled audio that makes the dialogue difficult to hear.

That's too bad, because from what I could gather Hunter was trying to advance his story beyond a mere survivor-vs.flesh-eaters level. Problem is, once the characters start talking about "the fabric of reality" and that the disorder is an idea rather than a physical or psychological affliction, we're straining so hard to listen we don't know how half-baked these story developments are (I got the impression that shitty sound quality or not, Hunter's asking us to take a pretty big leap).

Hunter shows a keen directorial style, supplying his film with plenty of distinctive visuals, but without a solid plot to anchor them to they remain isolated eye-catching moments. I would've much preferred to see Hunter use his flair for imagery to tell his story in a less passive manner.

Hopefully, Hunter can use his short to drum up a little scratch and try again with a feature (and remember, Ed, ADR is your friend!). Even if they fail--or sound like they might've failed--I'd rather see someone taking the zombie film to new directions than rehashing the same old-same old again.

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