This month’s fan film is once again a zombie-related movie. This time, a wannabe director turns to Dead Island and creates a bite-size episode. This movie was made during the production of the sequel to that game and acted as a fan teaser for the game. Of course, the game applauded this, as it was technically free publicity for them. In many ways, it could even come across as a trailer for the game.
You have to forgive the run-of-the-mill nature of this fan film. It feels very routine, when it comes to zombie short films. There are a group of survivors (in this case, a husband and wife), stuck on the island, defending their holiday home from hordes of zombies. We get some bandits thrown in to shake things up, but other than that, it plays out very much as we expect. If I had to point out one flaw in this fan film, it would be its predictable nature. However, while the actual story is pretty uninspired, it hits the mark with everything else, suggesting that it just wanted to be a cool six minutes of zombie action, which is absolutely fine in itself.
Leading the show is internet celebrity, Toby Turner, more commonly known as Tobuscus. I think his addition to the fan film will help it dramatically, as he is sure to attract his fan group to this video. It is how I stumbled across this video, when it was first released, in fact. And when we get to see this beloved internet actor in action, one thing strikes us right off the bat. Toby is playing it serious. Usually, Toby Turner is an unstoppable ball of energy, bouncing endless jokes of improv comedy at the audience. Here, we have never seen him so restrained. Sure, there is an underlying factor of his natural charm and charisma in the performance, but it is actually a very dramatic turn for the actor. It is very enjoyable to see the actor handle a serious movie for once and it shows another side to his talents that we never knew existed before. This is a very important landmark for the actor and any fan of Toby Turner should definitely check this fan film out.
The direction is also very good, throwing several little cool tricks at the fan film to shake things up. The action is incredibly well filmed, from the opening chase sequence, keeping us hooked to the very end. The director has a good idea of what he is doing, shown by some of the tight action sequences. The claustrophobic fight scenes are really well done and we can feel every shot as it connects with the zombie. Never have we felt so close to the action, something the Left 4 Dead fan film last month didn’t really make work. The quieter moments are just as well directed. The director keeps the focus directly on the faces and hands of the sobbing couple, drinking every piece of emotion from the scene, letting the actors carry the film for that one brief moment. This is something else we rarely get to see in fan films, so it is nice to see decent actors involved. Another thing that helps is that the story is so close-quarters that the budget can be used wisely. The zombie make-up is fantastic and we really get the sense that we are watching an independent film rather than a fan film. Along with Croft, this is one of the fan films that sets the bar for other productions.