Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Alastair Kirton, Daisy Aitkens, Kate Alderman, Kerry Owen
Directed by Marc Price
The zombie film is one of those trends in indie filmmaking that I’ve been at times both very happy about and very sick of. Zombies are very easy to do, when you think about it; you limited locations, some decent makeup work and a cast of extras who just have to shuffle around a lot and you’re set. So it’s encouraging to see someone out there trying to do something different.
Colin hails from the UK, the brainchild of Marc Price who did pretty much everything except act out all the roles for the film. What makes it unique is that the entire film is told through the perspective of the titular character, who becomes one of the hungry undead in the film’s opening moments. We follow Colin as he makes his way across a London suburb, encountering other zombies and, of course, desperate survivors just trying to make it from one place to another without being bit.
In that sense, Colin serves as a kind of zombie film greatest hits; he shambles into all sorts of survivor scenarios, from a group of friends trapped in a house that has clearly just been overtaken by the undead, to a squad of warm bodies who have taken it upon themselves to hunt down and eradicate the zombies (they even have a stoic leader in a trenchcoat) and more. These are the situations where the action ramps up, where you really feel like your in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
It’s all the bits in between that serve to slow the film down, unfortunately. Like most indie films, Colin suffers from a pacing issue. It could’ve easily done with abut 10 minutes cut out of it and been the better for it. The opening scene alone, when a still-alive Colin crashes into his place and tries to clean his bit wound before the infection takes over (that never works, by the way) just takes forever. His transformation to a zombie is drawn out far too long, as well. Once he’s out of the house things do pick up for the most part, but there are still protracted scenes that would’ve only benefited from some well-timed snipping.
And while I’m in complaint mode, I want to address the absolute most annoying thing about Colin, the element that almost made me shut it off and chuck it out the window a few times; fucking shaky cam. Anytime there’s an action sequence, the camera is apparently given to someone either in the midst of having seizure, or going through the DT’s big time, because they cannot for the life of them hold the camera fucking still. It’s very, very annoying and serves to completely take the viewer out of the moment that the filmmaker has so obviously been making serious efforts to suck you in to. The sad part is isn’t even something that can be fixed in editing; it’s just one criticism I really hope Price keeps in mind for his next project.
Those complaints aside, though, there’s a lot to like about Colin. While I wouldn’t call him a sympathetic zombie by any means, he still feeds on the living and bites anyone who gets too close, the film manages to cast him in such a light that you want to see him survive and do … whatever it is that zombies do when they’re not eating. Price even manages to show that his undead hero still has a bit of humanity left in him at the end, when we find out that he was not, in fact, just shambling aimlessly across the suburbs. He actually has a destination that will allow his entire story to be known.
For a first-time effort, Colin shows a helluva lot of promise. The pacing and shaky cam issues aside, Price does a lot of things right with this study in the ways of he zombie and actually manages to give a bit of life (pun intended) to a sub genre that, for a while now, has grown pretty stagnant. No word on any kind of distribution yet but something of this quality won’t sit on a shelf too much longer, I’m sure.
3 1/2 out of 5
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