Tuesday, October 7, 2008


When I caught the charming British short I RAN FROM A ZOMBIE on Day 316 I felt like I'd discovered something special; at least I knew not every student zombie short was destined to be awful. My good fortune, however, was short-lived, having run smack into UNIVERSITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, a Swedish-produced short from 2008 that embraces everything that makes amateur productions so hard to sit through.

The version I watched, and available below, fails to include credits, so I'm not sure who's responsible for this thing (and I don't have the inclination to look it up--but feel free if you'd like), and it is in untranslated Swedish, but the dialogue is minimal and the simplistic story is easy to follow.

Bottom line, UNIVERSITY is boring. As boring as a ten-minute short could possibly be (perhaps if the filmmakers didn't wait until the six-minute mark to bring out the zombies it wouldn't have been so bad). Granted, the zombies' introduction was pretty well done, and almost generated the right amount of thrills, but . . . what's up with the living dead? They're not quite fast zombies, yet they don't shuffle. They kind of look like someone racing to the toilet after a long night of Corona and cheap tacos.

Getting back to the tedium, mundane action is given far too much screen time. If you or I were trapped in a public restroom, or stuck without cell phone service, we'd try to remedy the situation for more than a few seconds. But, if we were characters in a movie--especially one ten friggin' minutes long--we'd do it just long enough to establish we're stuck in the john with no bars on our phone, okay?

So UNIVERSITY ends like every other cheap student short: heroine runs from the zombies a while before falling victim. Sheesh, not exactly an M. Night Shamalyan twist, is it? It's kinda well-executed, though not well enough to overlook the "they got me and now I'm one of them!" closing.

Oh, and the zombie plumber-crack at 9:43 was totally unwarranted.

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