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Movies Kelly Parks

Review by
Kelly Parks

The Zombie Diaries
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THE ZOMBIE DIARIES - 2006
Bleeding Edge Films / Off World Films
Rated: Australia: MA / Netherlands: 16 / UK: 18 / USA: R

Ah, the story of the Zombie Apocalypse. What better way to tell it than handheld video?

The low budget indie horror film THE ZOMBIE DIARIES was written and directed by the team of Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates. It opens with British troops closing in on a farm somewhere outside London. Everything we see, here and later in the film, is from someone’s handheld video camera.

Jump back to a few weeks before in London itself. We follow a news crew (with a camera man who likes to keep the camera going all the time) doing a story on a strange bird-flu-related outbreak of disease spreading across the world. Authorities have quarantined many areas and lots of people are leaving the city.

They go out to an isolated farm to do an interview but no one seems to be home. They investigate and find something quite horrible in an upstairs bedroom. It’s too late to run because they’re out there now: zombies.

The “infection” is a zombie plague and the world falls apart pretty fast. The “Zombie Diaries” involve three eventually intertwining stories told because in each group there’s someone who decides to videotape everything.

Group number two consists of two men and a woman out searching for food. They’re reluctant to go into town, knowing what’s probably there, but needs must and they are armed. An interesting moment comes when the Brit holding the camera sarcastically remarks to the only American character that, “I guess it’s too bad we’re not a more gun friendly society.”

Well, duh. Zombie outbreaks in Texas are contained in short order.

Group number three are a hardy, well armed bunch based in an isolated house in the countryside. They’re waiting for a scouting party to return with supplies and they’re trying to integrate some recently arrived survivors into their little settlement. One of the recently arrived is a young man named Goke (Russell Jones) and he turns out to be the most memorable character in the movie, although his reason for being memorable made me like the movie less.

That’s not a crack about his acting – he’s actually quite talented – but the character he turns out to be belongs in a different movie. A thriller built around him would have been pretty cool, I’m sure, but choosing to make him the person he was rather than concentrate on the zombie situation was an odd choice I just don’t understand.

The quality of the acting varies quite a bit in this low budget feature and often the “reality” of someone recording their predicament on handheld video seems violated when things are obviously being filmed for effect. If one of your friends was being eaten by zombies close by, would you stay and record it (frequently zooming in) or would you get the hell out of there?

There are some excellent creepy scenes. The discovery that you’re in a field of shallow graves at night during a zombie outbreak was awesome and the first actual zombie sighting in the old farmhouse was cool too. But the uneven quality and odd story choices result in THE ZOMBIE DIARIES getting just two shriek girls.

ShriekGirlShriekGirl
This review copyright 2008 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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Feo Amante's Horror Home Page and feoamante.com are owned and copyright 1997 - 2008 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
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