The Zombie Diaries Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett

The Zombie Diaries Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett
What's the latest fad in horror? First-person point-of-view. Like the ravenous, hyperactive zombies of 28 Days Later before it and the, well, first-person point-of-view of late '70s scare flicks (although they were always through the eyes of the killer), this latest spin on how to fright is quickly running out of steam. Unfortunately The Zombie Diaries fails to stoke the fire. Credit should be given to Gates and Bartlett though. Initially released in the UK circa 2006, their vision does predate the trend somewhat. However, after being inundated with Blair Witch, curious-kids-getting-into-trouble-and-filming-it crap over the years, its effect is truly weakened. Not that The Zombie Diaries had much to begin with. A bona fide effort by independent standards, it's great in terms of cinematography and effects but short on plot and acting. A viral outbreak turns people into walking dead and a crew of four students are keen to document it. Naturally they find themselves at the centre of the infected zone and must seek refuge. As they struggle to survive, they encounter more people fleeing for their lives. Carnage and misery ensue until the final lot barricade themselves in an old farmstead. One twist ending and there we have it: an unsurprising finish to a sincere yet basic film. The Zombie Diaries should have greater impact. However, because it foregoes character/plot development in lieu of suspense, we barely have interest in its main characters and aren't compelled to see what will inevitably happen to them, let alone care. In terms of special features, the commentary with writers/directors/producers Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates provides modest entertainment, as does a separate one with the actors. Deleted scenes are clearly a time-filler, leaving only the requisite "making of" featurette to provide something "special" about The Zombie Diaries, which, again, it hardly does. (Seville)