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Thread: My thoughts on The Zombie Diaries...

  1. #1
    Team Rick MinionZombie's Avatar
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    My thoughts on The Zombie Diaries...

    Well, I just finished watching the film and might I say, jolly good show.

    It's great to finally get a proper UK zombie film (28 Days/Weeks Later doesn't count - they're rage infected humans ), it makes it all the more realistic for us Brits (and will hopefully provide international audiences with another viewpoint, rather than the oft-American viewpoint in the zombie genre - not that I'm bitching about that, but you know...). I think it gets to a point whereby with zombie films almost always coming from America, they lose any sense of realism because it's kind of a "default setting", if that makes any sense...but there's so few zombie films set in the UK, and especially presented in this sort of way, that it packs much more punch and terror.

    TZD - a fresh location for a zombie film, a different society in which it all takes place, and the way in which you see mumblings of sh*t hitting the fan throughout before things get increasingly worse, make it a great flick.

    The gore on offer is rather tasty, and leads to a some rather f*cked up scenes...the sort of scenes that when you think about the surrounding intricacies or reasonings behind the actions, it just makes it all the more messed up.

     
    the point-blank shooting of a dying child, and the discovery of one of the female characters from early on, now a zombie, tied up naked in a farm building, most likely for perverse fulfillment by one of the other characters - being the two key messed up scenes for me personally


    My only real gripe with the film is the delivery of some of the dialogue, at times it didn't feel as real as it could have, or I felt there were a few moments where there were gaps between different people's lines. So at times I felt the dialogue wasn't always delivered as realistically as it could have been, as in it felt staged at these moments...but it's really only a minor gripe that isn't carried throughout the entire film, just on occasion.

    Over all the film is great, I really enjoyed it and there's some really messed up moments or even downright scary moments, made all the more powerful due to the way it was filmed.

    ...

    I've been through the deleted scenes, and I can understand why many of them were taken out, they felt a bit stagey. While there's content within those scenes that was good, I guess just the way the scenes came out it wouldn't have worked in the main film.

    Next up I'll go and check out the making of, which I rather look forward to and then in due course, the commentaries.

    I'd definitely recommend for zombie fans to pimp out the cash for a copy, it's worth it.

  2. #2
    pissing in your Kool-Aid DjfunkmasterG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinionZombie View Post
    Well, I just finished watching the film and might I say, jolly good show.

    It's great to finally get a proper UK zombie film (28 Days/Weeks Later doesn't count - they're rage infected humans ),

    ummm... What about SHAUN of the DEAD?
    Hey you woodchucks... quit chucking my wood!
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  3. #3
    Team Rick MinionZombie's Avatar
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    Well, Shaun of the Dead was a zombie comedy...so yes that's a UK zombie flick, and quite proper, but I think TZD is a more "proper" zombie flick than Shaun perhaps...if that makes any sense. Not dissing Shaun at all, but the comedy element in Shaun removes most of the drama and seriousness (although it can get serious and touching, like when he has to kill his zombified mother).

    But TZD is balls-out swinging in the wind with no jokes to ease the unsettlement...that's kinda what I'm trying to get at, if that makes sense.

  4. #4
    Being Attacked Phildogger's Avatar
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    Big thumbs up here!!!!
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  5. #5
    capncnut
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    Okay folks time for another one of Capn's reviews, this time it's Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett's The Zombie Diaries. Released via Revolver Entertainment, a company primarily known for Arthouse horror flicks and foreign titles, TZD (as it shall now be known) is making small waves in the UK. In fact, when a friend of mine went to purchase a copy in Blockbuster's today, he was swiftly told that they had no more left and was promptly directed to Woolworth's. Almost everybody that is coming into contact with a TZD trailer or review is (becoming infected?) walking away with a certain degree of expectation. Well take it from me, a zombie fan of the highest calibre, I have just finished this movie, blown away and with the feeling that I have just been on the recieving end of Mike Tyson's fist after telling him that Cus D'amato is a 'wrinkled old c**t.'


    Story:
    TZD is not your standard zombie flick and draws upon three video diaries that document the epidemic from beginning to end. It's a unique way of telling the story, especially when all three tales merge towards the end of the movie. Again, like all of my reviews, I will go into great detail with the film's content while trying my best not to reveal the outcomes of each episode. That said, this review is still not entirely spoiler free so I suggest to all of you that intend to see TZD in the near future to put off reading this review until you have done so.

    Immediately throwing us into the thick of a military sweep up before the titles have even begun, we are introduced to the first diary, The Outbreak, which sets the scene quite nicely. London is in the grip of a quarantine as a strange and wholly inexplicable virus has taken over the capital. Things are not quite out of control yet and a camera crew are assigned by their boss to cover a story about a farmer who has slaughtered all of his livestock due to the powerful epidemic. They are also informed that something 'big' has happened in New York and that the whole area has had to be sealed off. The crew drive out to the sticks, excited by the scoop, and eventually arrive at the farm which is seemingly abandoned. As usual with horror films, the car breaks down , so they call the office for advice and are told that London has become a war zone in their absence, with it's transportation system in chaos. With daylight fading fast, the crew return to the farm with the hopes of getting their heads down for the night. They find some temporary shelter at the farm's cottage but after a well-placed power cut, a series of dull thuds alert them to the upstairs area. In an almost silent scene, they bravely investigate the area (pushing the viewers' bravery too in some respects) and they eventually stumble upon the disembowelled remains of their interview subject along with a female zombie with terrifying glowing eyes. The crew naturally scream their lungs out and flee the cottage only to find that the living dead have now taken over the streets...

    The second and shortest of the diaries, The Scavengers, takes place a month after the events of the first piece and follows three friends on the road. The beautiful scenery looks completely out of place in such a nightmare but I guess that's just one of life's ironies. Following a brief character introduction (and a decent headshot) they pull up at a parade of shops in a deserted country town, hoping to plunder some supplies. After a dark and claustophobic Supermarket Sweep, they head back to the car with a full shopping cart to realise that they have inadvertantly attracted the local zombie community with their noise-making. Guns drawn, the living dead encircle the three scavengers...

    The final diary, The Survivors, begins in the forest with a bang as a number of zombies drop in mass of sticky headshots. We then meet a group of rag-tag survivors living at a nearby base they have created in Hertfordshire. This tale seems a lot more loosely scripted with various members making their own video diaries. One survivor emotionally compares the situation to that of 9/11; 'They were just going about their lives, their biggest worry of the day being "where am I gonna go for lunch?" And then suddenly...' The bleakness of the situation hits home with a lead survivor announcing that they only have enough food for a few days, coupled with footage of bodies being burned in the fields, it's incredibly hard-hitting stuff! In a bid to add to their numbers, they set up a radio broadcast to entice other survivors to their base. It's not looking good and when the survivors are not bitterly arguing, they are defending themselves against endless zombie ambushes. Dick Van Dyke certainly doesn't make an appearance and from here on in the situation gets increasingly darker, often spiralling into madness (notably the shooting of a young child, one survivor going psychotic, even the restraining and raping of a female zombie is disturbingly hinted at). I will not reveal how the three stories merge together but it's one of those things that'll leave you muttering over and over, 'that's f**king genius'...


    Filmmaking:
    First off, hats off to Gates and Bartlett. I was expecting a new spin on the whole 28 Days Later thing and was greeted with something much better. It's more realistic and the creatures ARE zombies! The Blair Witch Project is another movie TZD is being constantly compared to. Aside from the fact that both were shot on handhelds and that night vision is used to similar effect, they have nothing else in common. In fact, I would even go as far to say that TZD is a lot more suspenseful and uses the 'darker spaces' in a much scarier way. There were times when I was clinging to the edge of my seat, especially when Andy and co were investigating the cottage in darkness - it almost made me want to fast-forward for a sec and get the scare over with 'cause the tension was like standing blindfold on the edge of a cliff!

    Acting:
    As with all independent movies, you would be foolish to expect Oscar winning performances but I feel the acting was above par for a project of this kind. In fact, some of the stutters and pauses in the dialogue add to the overall paranoia of the piece. I'm hard pressed to think of a fluffed quote in the whole movie and if I had any in mind previously, I've certainly forgotten them now.

    Music:
    Erm, there isn't any techically but the ambience works to full effect. Kinda like standing outside the Knowby Cabin in The Evil Dead, it's either the wind or a solo key on a synthesizer droning in the background. It's pretty creepy and this reviewer is thankful that no composed themes of such were used. And ultra-thankful that the filmmakers steered well clear of the heavy metal route, which appears to be the norm with zombie movies nowdays.

    Gore:
    This movie has some delightful effects and the zombie's faces are suitably mashed up and hanging off. There are plenty of headshots also and it's not uncommon for the viewer to be face to face with a zombie with it's guts protruding through it ribcage or ripped out entirely. However, the off-camera violence outweighs the special effects in many ways.

    Overall:
    I have seen a lot of independent zombie films (be it on DVD or the internet) in the last couple of years and I am pleased to report that TZD is better than the whole lot put together! I'm not surprised in the slightest that it is recieving high ratings in magazines and websites because it's such a thrilling ride. It's not enjoyable in an 'adventure' sense because it's so very depressing at times but it's nice to see the shambler make a comeback in such a way that it constantly gives you new reasons to be totally afraid of them. You touch a cadaver and you better get that bottle of Dettol out and wash your hands otherwise it might just mean your life! It's pushing the envelope and doesn't rip anyone off and for that reason alone, I now have a new zombie movie in my top ten. Thanks guys!


    9/10
    Last edited by capncnut; 02-Sep-2007 at 01:55 AM.

  6. #6
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    It was great seeing letchworth, i live 10 minutes away from where they shot the abandoned, i also go cycling in chicksands woods where the woodland scenes were shot.
    It was easy for me to knit pick at the film, not by any fault of their own, the viewers arent meant to really know the layout of letchworth. But to me i kept asking why the characters went to a closed happy shopper when theres a morrisons supermarket 5 minutes walk away, or better yet, the restaurant i took my girlfriend to the other day is just two doors down! Also i wondered how someone could get lost in chicksands woods when theres a million fire roads to lead back out onto the main roads! Still thumbs up, i enjoyed it, if they make another one im volunteering for a zombie job.

  7. #7
    Being Attacked
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    Glad you guys liked the movie.

    Kona - the woods scenes weren't shot in Chicksands. They were filmed in a Wain Wood, near Preston village (scenes with the documentary crew). The scenes where the car crashes and they head into the woods is near a place called Tewin, east of Welwyn Garden City.

    Also the scene where they're looking over the town is in fact looking over Hitchin, which we then swap to Letchworth when they actually get into the town.
    Kevin Gates: Writer & Director - The Zombie Diaries

  8. #8
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    o i kinda saw the woods and thought chicksands due to its hilly landscape, i thought the road where they crash is that small road which cuts chicksands in two aswel, oh well. Ive been cycling around preston also so chances are ive been in those woods, i might take a ride over there next weekend and see if i can find the fake graves! lol i guess if they had shot in chicksands they might get some north shore or cyclist zombies

    and wow - looks over hitchin, my house is probably in the film then!! ill have to watch more closely!
    Last edited by kona843; 02-Sep-2007 at 06:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Walking Dead kidgloves's Avatar
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    I've been following this since it first landed at HPOTD and, while i dont normally go for low budget flicks, i was keen to see how this would turn out. After watching it the other day i've gotta say it is suprisingly good. The mood/tone was spot on and i was seriously nervous when they were looking around the farm at the beginning. As mentioned above some lines delivered do seem a bit wooden but overall the acting is way above par for such a low budget movie.
    I judge a movies quality by how much im drawn into it and to a certain extent the effects become secondary. That is very much the case with this and for me some of the headshots seemed totally believable with a nice "pop" from the back of the head although i don't recommend standing in front of zombies like some of the the actors do.

    I must admit im totally perplexed at the vitriol directed at this project from the fools on the IMDB forums regarding the cover. Surely it should go down as a great piece of marketing from the distributors. Oh well this IS IMDB so i don't know why im suprised.

    Anyway. Great work lads. A genuinely good independent low budget zombie movie.

    4/5
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  10. #10
    Walking Dead coma's Avatar
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    I liked it. The shakey cam wasnt overbearing at all. The acting was fine. It moved well and was never boring (big plus). I wish there were more sharply filmed effects but that didnt affect the actual film at all. There was a bit of confusion with the Goke character )and the reactions to him) at the end and sp,e of the the flashback left me a bit confused also.
    Not a super in depth review but I enjoyed the film and thats a lot more than many of the other low budget zombie films of the last couple years.
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  11. #11
    Chasing Prey clanglee's Avatar
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    Yeah, great movie. I was also a bit confused by the Goke character. Was the guy behind the camera his cohort from the flashback? If not, what happened to him I wonder. The scene in the first diary when the guys check out the upstairs was awsome!! My only real beef with the movie were the zombies themselves. There were a few makeup jobs that could have been done a bit better, even on a low budget. But for the most part the zombies were ok. No real focus on them, which added beliveability. All in all, a great movie. One of my favorites for sure.
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  12. #12
    Walking Dead Legion2213's Avatar
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    Not seen this yet, I shall wait for Amazon to drop the price from a tenner to a fiver (cheap-ass mofo that I am). Looks decent though - I also agree with Minion Zombie, nice to see a zombie film that us Brits can relate to (location wise).

  13. #13
    Team Rick MinionZombie's Avatar
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    *high five* for UK zombie outbreaks! (fictional ones, of course )

  14. #14
    Walking Dead Legion2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinionZombie View Post
    *high five* for UK zombie outbreaks! (fictional ones, of course )
    I dunno...a little tiny, small, real one wouldn't hurt.

  15. #15
    Team Rick MinionZombie's Avatar
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    If the gubment can't contain Blue Tongue disease, I wouldn't give them much hope of stopping a zombie outbreak.

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