"Go careful boys, she's not your average kind of girl"
It's the zombie apocalypse...in Greenock?!
Whilst watching North West Tonight earlier this evening I was intrigued by a report about the Bolton based filmmaker and recently graduated student from the University of Cumbria Sam Fountayne (also seemingly known as Sam Hampson going off the IMDB credits) who has just released and secured a prized distribution deal for a zombie action horror film he made for just £500!
Zombies Have Fallen was clearly a labour of love for the student turned writer/producer/director Fountayne, as well as for his cast and crew. Pooling resources they uploaded various scenes to YouTube where Green Apple, an American distribution company, saw it and made him an offer. They subsequently sold it to Amazon Prime which - thanks to the free monthly trial I take up every year - is where I headed to see just what all the fuss was about.
Kyra (Tansy Parkinson) is a young woman in need of help. Escaping from some top secret clinical institution with the help of a mysterious benefactor, she takes his advice and heads to Scotland's Gretna Green to track down a potential ally in the shape of semi-alcoholic loner John Northwood (Heath Hampson). It appears Northwood is a former protege of Kyra's elusive benefactor who reveals to him, via a prerecorded video message, that Kyra is in fact is no ordinary girl; she possesses special telekinetic powers which resulted in her parents being killed and her being held against her will in the clinic since childhood by its proprietor, the evil businessman Raven (Ken Richardson). Hot on Kyra and Northwood's heels is Max (Tony Gardner) a bitter and ruthless mercenary determined to bring the girl back to his paymaster, Raven. And then the zombies show up...
In all honesty, the major flaw in this film is the zombies. I can't help but wonder if they were a late addition to the plot at the behest of the US distribution company. It would certainly explain why the title was changed from Bad Blood to the particularly feeble Zombies Have Fallen (presumably a rather dumb and inexplicable cash-in to London Has Fallen, given the similarities in the poster design) and it would also explain why the whole plot seems to do a completely disorientating 360 around the 45 minute mark to become an extremely tongue-in-cheek romp with gun toting priests and mini-mart workers taking down this sudden arrival of zombies. After the taciturn thriller elements of the first half, this change in tone came as a big disappointment and the plot that had been slowly developing simply goes out the window for the cheap thrills and laughs of the campy zombie genre instead. They literally lose the plot! If this all really did come from Green Apple then it's a real shame that Fountayne (or Hampson) has allowed his artistic integrity to be bought right out of the starting gate. If the film kept to where it seemed to be going, I'd have rated this at least an extra half star more than I have.
The effects on display here are the kind you'd see in mid '80s Doctor Who, the acting is on a par with a porn film (and Raven looks like a cross between cockney bog-brush haired rocker Joe Brown and former EastEnder Paul Moriarty...after a strict pie diet), the score just lies there like a damp carpet, the sound is terrible - with ADR being louder than anything else in the mix, and most striking of all - to me at least - they misspell Bounty Hunter as 'Bount Hunter' in the dossier up on Raven's plasma TV screen, but what do you want for 500 nicker?
That a film could be made for just £500 (or $622 if you're across the pond) is an achievement worth discussing, and it's nice to see that the central character of Kyra is actually played by an ordinary looking young woman (with actual thighs!) rather than some highly sexualised object.