Sunday, 30 September 2012

Harold's Going Stiff

Shot on a shoe-string budget, Harold's Going Stiff is a clever independent twist on the traditional zombie genre. Following 2 groups of people, Harold Gimble, Patient Zero of the disease which causes stiffness of the limbs and, eventually, violent attacks as he is first treated and then befriended by the innocent Penny; and a group of vigilantes who hunt down and systematically kill anyone found wandering the countryside displaying signs of change.

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking this is just another run-of-the-mill, low budget, poor addition to the living dead archives, certainly the film name actually does more harm than  good, portraying the film as more of a joke than it really is, in fact, the film is a sentimental and often emotional portrayal of the eponymous Harold's decline from humanity to its eventual conclusion. The friendship between Harold and Penny is sweet and touching and, indeed, some may come away thinking that the whole zombie element could have been removed completely and this film would still have worked.

This is one of those odd occasions when a 'zombie' film might actually appeal to those not usual drawn to this type of film, whilst die hard brain-muncher fans may feel a little short changed. Personally, this reviewer enjoyed what he saw and, providing you are not expecting an over-excess of gore, you should too.

Monday, 10 September 2012

One Hundred Mornings

Set in a bleak, unrecognisable, present day, breakdown-of-society, Ireland, 2 couples survive (we assume for the titular One Hundred Days) with no electricity, no weapons and with a simmering tension threatening to break through at any moment.

This slow burner uses tension and an intelligent script to cover what its budget lacks.  The couples do their best to survive, always hoping that an end to their troubles and a return to normal life is just around the corner. Despite living in close quarters to their new age neighbour, no-one truly trusts anyone else and the threats of danger and possibly death are always around the corner.

Many viewers will be left troubled by the ambiguous ending which simply ends on a muted note. If, however, you want something which doesn't rely on gore, lavish effects and fake scares, then this is the film for you. The beautiful landscapes and excellent performances more than make up for what the budget lacks and the depressingly dark feeling of the film should satisfy fans of the post-apocalyptic genre.