Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zombie POV: "The Defiled" (2010)

Since the 1930's, and perhaps before, the movie going public has been treated to their fair share of zombie flicks. Zombies that stumble, zombies that run, and zombie comedies have all come down the pike. Some are classics, many are not. This film takes another stab at the zombie genre, and turns it on its head.

A nameless zombie (Brian Shaw) seems to be enjoying his zombie existence. His zombie mate is pregnant, he has what seem to be two teenage zombie children, and the quartet live in the woods, eating whatever human flesh they happen to stumble upon.

The dad zombie brings home a suicide's body, and partakes of some booze while the family feasts on the body. The other three family members become violently ill and die, obviously not seeing the radioactive warning labels that surrounded the dead person. Before expiring, zombie mom gives birth to the zombie baby. The man must now care for the newborn, killing small animals and chewing its flesh to feed his offspring. The two are on the run from a mysterious army who are killing the zombie creatures.

The man sees a human woman (Kathleen Lawlor) and saves her from another set of zombies. The woman becomes a surrogate mother, and now the three begin traveling together. They don't seem to have a destination, except the woman tries not to be eaten, and the man tries not to eat her. As with most zombie films, things don't end well for all involved.

Writer/director Julian Grant has done a fantastic job with this. He also provided the shimmering black and white (or maybe more blue and white) photography, and the brisk editing. The film is devoid of spoken dialogue, except for the guttural zombie grunts, and some background voices of the zombie killers here and there. The woman cannot communicate with the zombie man, so what's the point of talking?

David Findlay lays down a professional musical score that adds to the film. The makeup effects are excellent, including the zombie infant- which thankfully in no way resembles the fakery of "It's Alive!" or "The Unborn." The cast all give great performances in obviously difficult roles. Shaw is covered in gross makeup for the entire film, and Lawlor doesn't look like she just strolled out of a salon, either, but both use their facial expressions to the fullest without resulting to broad theatricality.

The film was shot in the Chicago/Gary, Indiana/LaPorte, Indiana area, and the locations are perfect. I love old abandoned buildings and ghost towns, and Grant has found some excellent places to set his story. The screenplay itself keeps a lot under its hat, never out and out explaining anything, including the reason half of society turned into zombies. We do not get any back story on the two main characters, and I liked that. Grant has them living and surviving right now, no time for embarrassing fireside English lessons and "what I did before the apocalypse" speeches.

"The Defiled" will satisfy gorehounds as well as sci-fi and horror fans, and it definitely compares favorably to the work of George A. Romero and the "28..." films. Seek it out. (* * * * *) out of five stars.