3 out of 10
Release Date: 14th October 2013 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Andrew Gilbert
Cast: David Wayman, Luke Hobson, Nicky Barton, Roger Fowler, Samuel Hogarth, James Harrison, Simon Mathews, Elizabeth Quinn, Abby Simpson and Simon Nader
Writer: Andrew Gilbert
Trailer: THE DEAD INSIDE (2013)
Just when you think you’ve seen every twist or version of the Zombie horror flick, you meet another one. The Dead Inside is the Sixth Form graduation project turned Zombie feature (well it seems like one). Acted on the whole with the same amount of enthusiasm as you’d expect from a bunch of teenagers forced out of bed early, you soon learn you’re in for a very long sit it in. But just like hanging around with teenagers it begins to frustrate you in the same way yet it simultaneously wins you over by convincing you by default in that it’s made by teenagers (I think) for teenagers with teenage attitudes. Set amidst yet another total world collapse in which undead cannibals inherit the earth, our heroes eat all their food, leave gates open, don’t prepare for the future, have unprotected sex, squeeze acne spots and moan about having no Pot Noodles, WiFi or Play Station (no one mentions the lack of weed though). So what’s not to like? Well, there are bits and pieces to salvage but getting past the very poor acting is major handicap rendering just about everything else in this ‘have-a-go’ hero unconvincing and ultimately ineffective. It’s not that scary or suspenseful either, utterly lacking in tension for the most part.
Set partly in Milton Keynes! Yes, somebody actually thought to employ the ghostly straight streets of MK to make a zombie flick, only to abandon it for a nearby village school in Cranfield. This makes The Dead Inside, the third film (of which this is the best) in as many months to surface made near where I live (the others are Paranormal Diaries – Clophill and Wayland’s Song). The goons are getting closer to my doorstep! Anyway back to the plot. Five lads go to MK for a night in the midst of Zombie outbreak like only teenagers would (because like most teenagers they walk around with their heads in their mobiles and iPods and their bags (right?)). A zombie comes out of the toilet and the club gets a bit livelier in it’s undeadness. MK’s creepy night-time is exploited by accident for a minute or two until the surviving friends go home and sleep it off. Two of the group actually decide to go to football practice the next morning (yeah right!) Said practice happens to be at the locally designated government evacuation point? A school. By the time our heroes cotton on the authorities have buggered off and left the place mildly overrun with turbo zombies. Our heroes (who have an unbelievably colossal sense of self-entitlement) slouch into the school leaving the gates swinging open expecting the police to swan in at any moment, except they get chased around a lot, eventually a trio of lost soldiers show up, and even later the most interesting character and only decent actor, who’s a ruthless ‘survive-at-all-costs’ type called Wayne (SIMON NADER – AGE OF KILL) who puts their escape plan at risk. Like I said, no one prepares escape routes, no one makes supply runs, no one sources petrol from all the abandoned cars (or impounds road worthy vehicles in their fenced off car park), no one collects water for when water eventually gets switched off, no one sources a generator, they waste ammo on target practice, they don’t spend their time digging trenches and fortifying their safe haven even more. They are teenagers and they don’t care. They just want to live.I don’t hate teenagers, just most of the un-characters in this film.
With a running time at almost two hours, it’s fairly lengthy for a Britpic, so its a shame the characters aren’t given a chance to breathe. Three of the main quartet of boys are largely indistinguishable, the fourth and only one to stand out is a ginger. Two of the four even dress the same and have the same hair cut. The girls and soldiers fare better at distinguishing themselves. The most experienced soldier gets an early bath, so we’re left with noble soldier (DAVID WAYMAN – NAZI ZOMBIE DEATH TALES) and an edgy but ultimately courageous ‘rapey’ soldier (SIMON MATHEWS – GANGSTERS GUNS AND ZOMBIES). There are only two females; a blonde and a brunette. Any shade and good writing is left for the conflicted Wayne who pops up in the second hour and despite being cast as the villain of the piece is actually the most sympathetic out of everybody – needless to say he earns himself a rotten fate. The Dead Inside is not the worst UK Zombie film I’ve seen, it is a bad one, but its not as shit as that other Bedfordshire set abortion The Zombie Diaries or the cancerous pig turd comedy colostomy bag bio-bomb that was Stag Night Of The Dead. It’s certainly a solid attempt at making a coherent horror movie with a surprisingly strong narrative by a clearly inexperienced but hungry team. The DVD comes with an accompanying short called Report of the Dead which is a compilation of news beats that are seen playing during the main feature. I would like to play it in the background on somebody’s DVD player- maybe a gullible relative – to see how long it takes them to realise that they’re watching a fake broadcast.
3 out of 10 – I hate to patronise. But well done kids. You’ve shown some of the adults how to make a half decent Zombie flick. Shame about the actors, shame about the prosaic script and pale characters. Everything else was just about passable. I do also admire the resourcefulness of the makers at arranging the international segments, the nightclub location and the army vehicles etc, on such a small budget. I look forward to seeing if they’ve learnt from past mistakes and if they improve with each project they see fit to get out of bed early for. Imagined conversation on the set: “Take 3” “Do I have to?” …..
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Simon Mathews: Gangsters Guns and Zombies
- David Wayman: Tango One, Vengeance, Capsule (voice), Demon Baby, The Search for Simon, Death (2014), Nazi Zombie Death Tales
- Simon Nader: Age of Kill