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Dead Creatures (2001)

Full Review

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Dead Creatures isn't really a zombie film in the traditional sense. Yes, there is a disease spread by bites that causes the victim to slowly start to rot and need to eat human flesh. However the victims remain alive with no immediate reduction in mental or physical abilities, just slow degeneration and the need to feed. It's more like infectious cannibalism than zombification.

The story concerns a group of young people trying to survive having been infected - and a man hunting them down. There are several strands to the narrative and it takes a while for them all to pull together. For much of the early part of the film you're not quite sure what's going on. The storytelling is oblique, you have to piece it together for yourself. But once you work out the situation it's an interesting angle on the idea; these murderous flesh eaters are actually victims simply trying to survive. Should we sympathise more with them or with the uninfected man performing equally horrific acts in order to find them?

There's a not a lot of action, this is a slow film. A very slow film. It could definitely have done with being 20 minutes shorter. What makes it work isn't just the narrative but the bleak, hopeless inner city atmosphere which it captures perfectly. If you like reading social commentary into your horror movies then Dead Creatures has plenty to offer. I see it as a metaphor for urban decay and the cycle which pulls people down and destroys them.

Be aware that this is an indie film with all that entails. The budget is clearly low, the special effects will never win any awards, however the great use of the urban landscape makes up for this and is visually compelling.

Acting is generally competent with one or two exceptions. Parkinson's directing of his own script is superb at capturing the characters and their plight.

Dead Creatures won't be to everyone's taste. It's a low budget movie with a slow and initially confusing narrative that makes the viewer work. It's also extremely depressing. If none of that puts you off then give it a try. Dead Creatures is an intelligent and original piece of independent film-making.