4 out of 10
Release Date: 19th February 2014 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Damian Morter
Cast: Damian Morter, Tim McGill-Grieveson, David Frampton, Sam Cullingworth, Paul Collin-Thomas, Flyn Allen, Francesca Turton, Clay Whitter, Anne Batho, Neil Adams, Jay Barnett, Craig Bynoe, Eirian Cohen with George Newton and Stuart Wolfenden
Writer: Damien Morter
Trailer: THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
The Book of the Dead begins promisingly enough. Setting the scene well and laying on the ambience finely I thought we were in for a low-budget zombie treat. Sadly, the bubble bursts as soon as the characters open their mouths revealing a stunning lack of acting talent and a shocking script. The writer, director Damien Morter (BANJO) also stars as a wanderer called Cal who has been keeping a journal since the outbreak of ongoing zomibe plague. He claims that the hellish new order began when two karaoke and pub quiz addicts get bitten by a demon when their car breaks down. The disease quickly spreads to the surrounding towns and across the UK. Why the plague begins in Lancashire is a mystery. At the beginning of the movie Cal arrives at one of the last hold outs were the sole survivor Matt (TIM MCGILL-GRIEVESON) reads the titular book. Luckily, the viewers get to see three short stories revolving around the same goup of zombies spin out before their eyes.
The bookending story is relatively well acted by contrast to the majority of the sorry performances in the three interlocked shorts. The director and the group of rescuers that show up at the end led by Stuart Wolfenden (DEAD MAN’S SHOES) hints at how good this could have been if they’d have found people experienced enough to rescue the film from it’s rotten script. Plotwise, two out of the three films are quite good. The first about a zombie who still has feeling for his loved ones is just laughable, whereas the second one is reasonably well mounted down the lack of speech needed during a young man’s journey across town to make sure that his Mum and Dad are OK. The third one works best as a young doctor (DAVID FRAMPTON – THE BOTTICELLI MURDERS) attempts to keep his son alive but takes a wrong turn when looking for sane help. When he encounters a mad priest and his followers, he realises that the living can be worse than the dead. On the whole the plotting rescues part three but it’s yet agin undone by bad acting all round.
The Book of the Dead contains a soundtrack to brag about. The synth-score steps in and ramps up fear levels for the viewer and the cues are perfect. it’s as good as any of the scores heard in the 80s horrors of George A Romero and John Carpenter. The score is an important device and the makers have clearly acknowledged that most of the greatest horrors stand or fall on their quality. Sadly The Book of the Dead‘s music stands alone doing all the work. It’s a shame the SFX are low budget too as the zombies don’t look to healthy. The makers have raided Poundland for the make up kits I think and although the ghouls act the part it does look like an amateur flash mob at times.
The Book of the Dead is A hardworking zombie flick that has a few fresh ideas to share. The excution is shoddy on the whole with only the bookends showing any glimmer of professional conduct. A decent ending and a brilliant score make this worth a look for fans of zombie horror, just ignore the bad acting and laughable make-up effects and you’ll be OK. A better attempt than The Dead Inside, Zombie Women of Satan, World War Dead, War of the Dead, Outpost, Outpost 3, Stag Night of the Dead, The Zombie Diaries 1 and Gangsters Gun & Zombies….
4 out of 10 – Faint praise but it’s above average for it’s type.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Damian Morter: Temptation
- David Frampton: The Botticelli Murders
- Neil Adams: Emmerdale (TV)
- George Newton: This Is England ’90 (TV), Inbred, This Is England ’88 (TV), This Is England 86′ (TV), This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes
- Stuart Wolfenden: Rough & Ready, Elevator Gods, This Is England ’90 (TV), Best Laid Plans (2012), Dead Man’s Shoes, Coronation Street (TV)