Zombie Diaries, The (DVD Review)16 Nov, 2008 By: Matt Miller
Rated ‘R’ for violence/gore, language and some nudity.
Stars Craig Stovin, Imogen Church, James Fisher, Russell Jones, Anna Blades, Jonathan Ball, Hiram Bleetman.
With the deluge of zombie films bombarding theaters over the past few years, it’s hard to imagine an innovative approach to the horror subgenre. Yet the filmmakers of the low-budget, independent British zombie film The Zombie Diaries utilize a Blair Witch-style documentary approach to deliver a frightening tale of the dead that is more realistic and every bit as disturbing as 28 Days Later.
Set in rural England, Zombie Diaries opens as a deadly, unknown virus has caused a worldwide pandemic that is quickly spreading, leading to rampant rioting and looting. The United Kingdom is one of the last unaffected areas, but that’s about to change. As the news quickly spreads to the masses about the virus, which causes severe flu-like symptoms that result in death, what the general public isn’t aware of is that it is also turning the world into zombies en masse.
The film plays out as three “diary” segments that document different groups’ experiences battling the virus: from the initial outbreak to the scavengers left one month out and ending with video of the final survivors’ last stand.
The great thing about Zombie Diaries is that it gives the audience the unique perspective of experiencing the horror as if the viewer is one of the helpless victims struggling to hide and survive.
Though the film is quite similar to George A. Romero’s recent Diary of the Dead, Zombie Diaries provides a much darker, unforgiving end-of-days scenario. The special effects are impressive for such a low-budget horror film, and the cast plays well into the documentary-style approach the filmmakers took.
In addition to the film, the DVD features commentary tracks with the filmmakers and one with the actors, a detailed making-of featurette and deleted scenes.
While the film might have done better as an October release, Zombie Diaries is spine-chilling enough to keep the Halloween spirit alive a little longer for horror fans.