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  Colin Better Off Dead
Year: 2008
Director: Marc Price
Stars: Alastair Kirton, Daisy Aitkens, Kate Alderman, Leanne Pammen, Tat Whalley, Kerry Owen, Leigh Crocombe, Justin Mitchell-Davey, Dan Weekes, Dominic Burgess
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Colin (Alastair Kirton) bursts through his front door and into the hall, slamming it behind him and calling out to Damien, his housemate. When he receives no reply he goes into the kitchen to wash the bloody hammer he has been carrying and then to see about the wound he has on his arm, running it under the tap to clean it. Just as he is lost in thought Damien enters the room and grabs him, taking a bite out of his neck as Colin does his best to fend him off. Scrabbling around in the cutlery drawer he manages to grab a carving knife for a weapon...

In case you hadn't realised, this was part of the rash of zombie movies which arrived at the turn of the milllennium and continued with no sign of stopping well after it, except this had a gimmick well-publicised in the advertising. That was not so much the plot, though it did offer a fresh-ish twist on a genre fast becoming hackneyed, but the budget, as this was made for forty five pounds in total, rendering it one of the cheapest horror films ever, which considering how bereft of funds so many of them have been down the years, was quite an achievement. But all that would count for little if it looked like someone's back garden home movie.

To be fair, this was shot on video and looked it, with occasional scenes too dark and some too bright, but director Marc Price did what he could with his resources at hand and the results, far from being something you'd sit through admiring the effort but being fairly bored otherwise, were actually impressive, even down to the gore effects (much of it borrowed makeup) which could have been fashioned through someone off camera splashing the contents of a ketchup bottle around, but were more convincing than that. Price was lucky to have access to so many friends who could appear as zombies and the humans trying to escape them, as there was a genuine sense of a city under siege.

This in spite of no shots of hundreds, nay thousands, of the undead shuffling their way through the streets, but the camerawork was so up close, even intimate, that you didn't miss the bigger picture, which fitfully came into sharper relief. As for that storyline, we can tell Colin is doomed from the start as everyone knows the moment a zombie sinks its teeth into you it's only a matter of time before you join their flesh-eating ranks. So soon he is looking a bit pasty and after falling out of a ground floor window is outside to wander the community and try to find someone to munch on, which given there are loads of others with the same idea, offers him surprisingly little opportunity to do so.

But there is more drama going on around Colin as his sister Linda (Daisy Aitkens) recognises him and tries to help her brother, getting bitten herself in the process. So much for good intentions, but the film itself had a strange move towards that direction as it attempted to find some dignity in life's last great indignity, death. Colin may be dead, but his adventures lend him a perversely heroic standing, as he shows some dim awareness of his condition which echoes from the time he was alive; sure he does his share of biting, but by following his progress, one in millions of reported undead, he gains a form of immortality which has shadows of his nobility in life. The final act is a flashback to what happened just before he barged into his house at the beginning, and closes the narrative on a poignant note, so that while the outlook remains bleak, as being dead tends to bring, the fact that you were alive once and mattered is enough. Music by Jack Elphick and Dan Weekes.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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