Thursday, August 21, 2008


Most short films--at least the ones I've been viewing for this blog, anyway--reveal their hand early, letting you know upfront if you're in for a quirky treat or unbearable boredom. Cortney B. Brown's 2007 short GHOSTS OF THE DEAD isn't quite so easy to read, appearing at first to be one step above somebody's home movies, then sneaking into a more stylish mode.

Unfortunately, it shifts back to hackneyed storytelling soon thereafter.

After a "prologue" consisting of Zombie Walk footage mixed with a bloodied girl dragging on a cigarette (fortunately, this didn't turn out to be the grossly self-indulgent wank-fest I was expecting), it gets its minimalist story underway. Brown cobbles together the standard zombie-film beats, and GHOSTS is more a suggestion of a story than a full-fledged narrative, but there's a little style and an attempt at something different; granted, it's the notion of zombies having ghosts, which is as confusing as it is possibly contradictory, but give Brown points for trying.

Then subtract those points for not delving deeper into the premise. GHOSTS devolves into the same amateurish mess we've seen time and again, confusing rampant use of the word "fuck" with character development and running hopelessly off the rails. (Why would you spent a full minute in a seven-minute film in a meaningless driving montage?)

The zombies are interesting (though the noise they make, which sounds like a Sleestak getting suctioned in a dentist's chair, gets annoying quick), but ultimately GHOSTS OF THE DEAD has no real point and thus no reason to go anywhere. Perhaps Brown should consider exploring his ideas a bit further, but let's wait until the Sleestaks have their check-up, okay?

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