Zombie Hood

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If there’s one thing certain to kick-start a failing economy it’s brain munchers. Recent figures produced by NBC News estimate the undead – thanks to computer games, films, comics, etc – brought in a staggering $5.74 billion in 2012. We’ve seen Nazi zombies in Dead Snow, sexy zombies in the four Resident Evil films, lovestruck zombies in Warm Bodies and even OAPs taking them on in Cockneys vs Zombies. What started out as a cult classic with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has now spawned 640 zombie films worldwide. So what has Zombie Hood got to offer and where does it fit into this seemingly endless genre?

Well, firstly it’s set in Nottingham, so that’s enough for us here. What better way to spend your evening than pointing at a screen saying: “been there”, “that’s near me mam’s”, “got threatened there once”. There’s also a subtle nod to the man in green tights as a group of mismatched survivors flee the city and take sanctuary in the forest, which actually doesn’t turn out to be that safe…

Does it capture the ‘personality’ of Nottingham, if it’s possible for a city to have such a thing? Well we have a bit of a reputation for not taking ourselves too seriously and this humour does come through in places, in particular the hapless Rik who seems completely oblivious to the imminent threat of brain guzzlers and more concerned with stocking up with crisps. But overall this was a wasted opportunity to tap into local humour. Think about it: imagine zombies descending on the Council House and a jobsworth telling them they aren’t allowed to sit on the steps. Or filming folk inside the ‘Tempreh staring gormlessly at ‘fans on bricks’, unsure whether they are alive or dead. Creating a sense of place is more than just filming up at the Castle and outside the Vicceh, as great as it is to see these iconic locations.

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So let’s cut to the literal chase – what kind of zombies are we talking about? Are they the docile idiots who can easily be picked off with a rifle, or are they championship sprinters like in 28 Days Later? The answer is both. Oh dear. *raises eyebrows, lets out a very long sigh, reaches for cigarettes* You can’t do both. Why? Because the former offers hope and the latter fear. If you do both you’re left with ‘hopear’ and that sounds like a Peter Andre song and look what his contribution to society has been.

The only possible benefit of having fast and slow zombies is that it can create real tension, meaning that when you walk around a corner and spot a few of them you don’t know whether your heroes will be able to escape or not. But unfortunately the script lacks depth and context which makes it very difficult to feel for the characters. While watching we don’t really know how or why the apocalypse has come about other than it starts in a nightclub. There’s no indication as to how people can survive it and where they can escape to. Yes, they may have avoided a paint-by-numbers cliché but there still needs to be colour on the canvas. Consequently the fast and slow zombies feel like easy solutions to finish a scene rather than something that furthers the plot. This could have been resolved by dictating speed according to age or some other kind of logic.

A beautifully executed nod to Robin Hood's Merry Men.

The Merry Men live on in Sherwood once more.

On a more positive note, and equally as important as narrative, the zombies are mint. Special effects are vital to this genre and the make-up artist has absolutely nailed it. The filming is superb as well, particularly the blurring and depth of field, with the colouring like ninety minutes of Instagram. It’s also really funny in places, breaking numerous taboos regarding children, which is definitely worth a rewind. The acting varies dramatically in quality and includes a role for Marcus Akin, the Big Brother contestant who looks like a fat Wolverine. He’s not bad to be fair and will soon be appearing in Zombies from Ireland (I’m not taking the piss. That’s zombie film 641).

Zombie Hood has flaws but I’d like to see someone produce a better biter flick on such a shoestring budget. With a bit more funding – and guidance – Pint Film Productions have real potential to develop, and I hope they do because this is a valiant attempt and definitely worth coughing up a quid to stream it live at home.

Zombie Hood is available for download or to pre-order on DVD on the Zombie Hood official website

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