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The Zombie Diaries is straightforward, a virus breaks out and people turn into zombies. Filmed in the style of The Blair Witch Project it consists of three video dairies, the first one is “The Breakout”, a group of journalists travel to a remote farm to interview a farmer, as the virus breaks out they become stranded. The second is “The Scavengers one month later”; a married couple pick up a hitchhiker with a camera and search a local town for food and radio parts. The third is “The Survivors”, another group of people living on a farm, who spend all day arguing, shooting zombies and wondering around a field.
I went to the premier of this film as it was shot in the town where I live. The cinema was a ten minute walk from my house and the tickets were cheap, I thought, why not. A year later it turns up on DVD and as horror films are sometimes better viewed at home with no one to disturb you I thought I’d give it another go. Was it as bad the second time around? Hell yeah.
A zombie film documentary style gives the genre an interesting twist, but for it to work properly the film has to be good, which The Zombie Diaries isn’t, it‘s complete crap. The characters are lifeless and annoying, acting is average (at times making it feel like an amateur play), suspense scenes rely to much on uninspired music which builds up to predictable shock less moments, and the over the top camera movement makes it feel like it was shot by the same person which is all rounded of poorly by the patchy anaemic script.
Each separate diary has problems and to go into detail would take up at least two more pages. There are some big continuity problems as well, delayed head explosions and attempting to stage a car crash by shaking the camera, make it obvious it was shot on a shoe string budget.
But the worst part of The Zombie Diaries is the attempt to intertwine the three groups with each other at the end. Big gaps in the plot and lack of narrative drive means it hasn’t worked or been thought through properly, as writers Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates make shooting the walking dead and endless arguing/swearing more of a priority.
There are three good points to this film, a fairly stimulating shootout at the end, a funny moment with a dead zombie/hand gesture and special effects that look semi professional. But they can’t save a film that meanders towards an ending that neither surprises or shocks and is about as scary as an episode of Rainbow.
As bad as it is making a film on a small budget is a big accomplishment and if they ever make a second feature hopefully they will learn from the first one and make it more watch able. Some advice though, work on the script more.