On April 1st, Wednesday, I went to see Kerry Anne Mullaney’s The Dead Outside at the Dendy Newtown. The programme started with three short films of the zombie variety, namely H5N1, Le Jour De La Pandemie by Jean Olivier from France, Gasoline Blood by David Pope from the UK, and A Break in the Monotony by Damien Slevin from Australia. The first two were more in the lines of short scenes from any zombie films around, with mindless flesh eating violence - which I have no objection to and quite enjoy.
A Break in the Monotony, introduced by the director at the screening, on the other hand, was something different. This four minute animation, made in three years was a combination of 2d pencil drawings and 3d backgrounds. In the tradition of best zombie films, the film used zombies as an allegory for the monotony of corporate work places, which is broken through a surprise ending. Watch the trailer here:
The Dead Outside, the feature debut of music video director Kerry Anne Mullaney, had two of my favourite things in it. Scottish accent, and zombies. So, ah wis bound tae like it nae matter what it wis like, ken? (I humbly bow to Irvine Welsh’s genius).
The Dead Outside opens with a shot of Daniel, a survivor of a neurological pandemic that left most of the population in an aggressive, paranoid and zombie-like state, driving around Scottish countryside, until he runs out of gas and starts looking for a place to stay. He goes into a seemingly deserted farm, and then gets caught in surprise by a young girl named April, who first tries to get rid of him, but then tells him he can stay. April, unlike Daniel, is all for killing the infected mercilessly and she exhibits her shooting talents in a few instances. Soon, Daniel finds out about the secret April is trying to hide and then their ‘monotonous’ life is interrupted by a stranger named Kate, who asks for help, but Daniel and April have a clash in determining whether she’s friend or foe.
Being an independent film, The Dead Outside, appears to have been made with a low budget, but it uses the material at hand cleverly. Most of the film is shot in and around a farm in rural Scotland. The use of available light and hand-held camera gives the film a verite look, which goes nicely with the grim subject matter. The Dead Outside reminds me partly 28 Days Later with the atmosphere of desperation and partly the wonderful indie horror The Signal, with the use of a neurological illness, instead of zombies. However, there was almost no action in it, compared to these two films.
The plot was intercut with dream sequences and/or what seems to be hallucinations, which had a key role in explaining important details in the film. However, they weren’t always very clear to me, and there were times I felt I was missing something important. If I get my hands on a copy of it, I’ll definitely watch it again to make more sense of it. But by all means, go see it for yourselves if you get the chance. It’s worth seeing. Meanwhile, you can check the official website for the trailer and other information.