Thursday, June 5, 2008
Hailing from Britain, Colin is a touching, yet no less visceral, one-of-a-kind zombie film that turns the tables on the audience by presenting the film from a zombie’s point of view. The debut film from Nowhere Fast Productions and filmmaker Marc Price, Colin reinvigorates the zombie subgenre with its unique, bloody and meaningful story.
The zombie in question is the title character of Colin (Alastair Kirton), who becomes a zombie after being attacked in an apartment kitchen. Once his violent transformation is complete, he attempts to open the door to get out…but his stiff hands can’t work the handle. Night passes into day and he is still trying to get through the door. He finally gets out when he becomes enraged and accidentally trips and falls through a window (this little bit of humor works marvelously in the film, and there are sprinklings of subtle humor throughout the rest of the film). Once outside, Colin shambles around a city that looks post-apocalyptic. Smoke rises in the distance, gun-fire crackles at random, stray newspapers and dead bodies litter the streets and screams are heard regularly. Even when Colin runs into his family, who is still trying to stay alive and is overjoyed with finding him, the reunion is bittersweet. Colin shows no recollection of who they are and is only interested in their flesh. As the world comes crashing down around Colin, all he can do is continue to shamble onwards towards some vaguely familiar, unforeseen goal.
Colin is a stark, beautiful film that packs ample depth and emotion into its zombie storyline. Besides the storyline about Colin’s family, which is heartbreaking in itself, there is also a subplot that flashes back to when the outbreak first occurred and shows how Colin really became infected and what became of his girlfriend. This segment is shown towards the end of the film and nearly had me bawling at its emotional scenes.
Besides the emotional punch, the film also packs a visceral one. The gore here is ample and messy – oozing wounds, chomped off ears, a feast of fresh intestines, blown apart zombies – Colin certainly doesn’t disappoint in the grue department! Even the zombies are impressive and full of character! Each one seems to tell a story as they are all costumed differently and have different wounds. The makeup effects, done by Michelle Webb, were also well done. As Colin decomposes, his face clearly shows the decay. There are also nifty things done with someone’s face that gets partially blown off. All the effects look very believable, realistic and utterly fantastic, which is impressive considering the low budget of the film.
The film’s direction and cinematography are equally impressive. There are some truly memorable shots, including some time-lapse photography showing skyscrapers framed against a deep blue sky, completely empty streets of London and a spectacularly shot scene showing zombie-Colin being transported with a burlap sack on his head – but the scene is shot from under the sack, giving us a view of Colin’s reactions. There are also two explosive, action-filled scenes. One involves zombies surging through a home (and the survivors trying to fight them off) and another involves an epic street battle between zombies and humans. On the down side, the film makes ample use of the “shaky cam” technique. The good news is that it works very well 80% of the time, but the bad news is that it wears out its welcome towards the end of the film.
That, my fellow fiends, is about the only complaint I have of this fantastic indie film. There is little dialogue throughout the film, but if you think watching a zombie shamble around could get a bit boring, think again! Writer/director/producer/editor Marc Price wisely injects plenty of action into the film, including scenes of survivors duking it out with hordes of the undead! Despite the fact that Colin is a flesh-eating ghoul, you’ll find yourself rooting for him rather than any survivors. I really grew attached to him (Alastair Kirton puts on an amazing performance, which helps you sympathize with his character), especially after the ear-eating scene where he takes a victim’s Walkman to listen to! These zombies are stumbling around, but it is like they are searching for bits and pieces of the human lives they lost. Colin is especially infused with remnants of his humanity and his journey is heart-wrenching to watch.
I think I can safely admit that Colin is the only zombie movie ever to bring me to tears with its moving storyline. It’s not mushy (unless you count the gore), but Colin will definitely have you counting your blessings and being thankful for the loved ones around you. This low-budget film has reinvented the subgenre and shows that humans, not zombies, are the real danger.
Colin is truly one of the best indie films so far this year and I urge you to check it out should you be lucky enough to track it down.