Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Thank God it will all be over soon.

In just a few more days I won't have to subject myself to movies like FOREST OF THE DEAD, a 2007 production from Canadian director Brian Singleton. On the surface a laudable example of the micro-budget DIY ethic--not only did he finance the project wholly out of his own pocket, but Singleton acted as a one-man crew, filming and recording sound with solely the assistance of off-screen actors--it soon buries any goodwill beneath a toppling mound of obnoxious characters, numbskull humor, and thin plotting.

Taking its cue from the "dumb teenagers dying the woods" school of '80s filmmaking, DEAD involves a carload of insufferable assholes on a road trip who make a detour into the forest. Loud, asinine, and not the least bit amusing, these so-called protagonists are the perfect target for the flesh-eating zombies that await them, which would've made for a trying, but potentially gory, teen-kill flick. But in a shocking-in-a-bad-way plot twist, Singleton quickly does away with them so he can introduce another group of characters even more noisome than the first. What did I do to deserve these people?

Singleton offers up an adequate smorgasbord of splatter towards the end--juvenile, uninventive splatter, but still--yet in order to get to it you've got to sift through a lot of talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk. Boring and uneventful barely describe it, and the screenplay--penned by Singleton and his brother Mark--helps little with the ever-present bad amateur dialogue. Trying to be edgy and hip, passing off one-dimensional stereotypes, they come off not as envelope-pushing comedians but alarmingly antisocial bastards.

Narratively weak (once Final Girl bites it, the movie's over, as there's no more plot motivation) and self-indulgent (bearing not only an unnecessary director introduction--dammit, if Kubrick and Scorcese never felt the need why do amateur filmmakers always do?--and nearly nine minutes of "wacky" outtakes), FOREST OF THE DEAD is a typical representation of the the headache-inducing dross that litters micro-budget cinema.

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