The Zombie Diaries – review

I am offering this as a warning – if you are over the first person hand-held video narratives then brother, this movie ain’t for you. This is that to the nines, and, frankly, I am fine with that. I get a laugh when people complain about this style and say they want it to end when we have been watching traditionally made films for decades and not batting an eye at their being the same. I too do get bored with trends but, when it brings something new to the table of a genre, well, then it is ok with me. This film definitely does that. While not always successful, this film does something zombie movies have not done is some time and that is to be genuinely scary.

Shot all on video, this is a compilation of videos from different groups who first discover, survive, and are trying to live in the world of the living dead. We begin with a documentary crew chronicling a disease that is spreading throughout England, then move to some survivors, then to another group, and where these stories lead, and how they unite has to be seen. What this is though is the zombie apocalypse at ground level, and at its most horrifying.

Damn did I like this movie. It brings back darkness in the literal sense, and puts the zombies in them so that you never know where they are, or what they are doing. The first person view puts you in the middle of it all and while the camera gets very wobbly, and the night scenes can get very confusing, it is still an immersive way to freshen up the subgenre. This is a good way to bring new life to this familiar world. The make up is very well done, and the zombies are scary because they are slow and you underestimate them but, as always, what they lack in strength they make up in numbers. The characters are weak, but that is the nature of a story like this. You don’t have the time to fully develop people. The most interesting aspect of the film for me was that the true horror, once revealed, is not zombie at all, but something far deadlier and scarier.

The big knock is on the filming, which is very loose and freeform but it worked for me. I got confused a time or two but by the time it’s all over, I knew what happened, and what it all meant. And damn! It is great to have a scary zombie movie to get excited about. As long as you can get past the use of the handhelds, you’ll be fine. There are convenient plot and logic things (everyone always gets attacked when a camera is around, naturally), but it all worked for me.

It’s funny that there can still be interesting, fresh takes on zombies when we have been living with them for so long yet vampires and werewolves seem so boring and staid. I really recommend this film though and really look forward to them doing another.

8 out of 10

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