COLIN

COLIN

Colin (Alastair Kirton) rushes into a house one afternoon, slamming the door shut behind him and breathlessly leaning against its frame. Outside we can hear a car alarm whirring endlessly and the occasional gunshot in the distance.

Colin calls out for Damien (Leigh Crocombe) but when no-one answers, he ventures through the house to investigate. Upon reaching the kitchen, Colin takes time out to nurse the huge bloody wound gaping in his forearm.

Damien appears at this point, completely zombified and hungry for a bite of Col9in. The two grapple in the kitchen during a startlingly graphic sequence which sees Colin dispatch of his undead assailant by stabbing him countless times in the head and neck with a kitchen knife.

Unfortunately Colin receives a bite during the scuffle, and as a result we watch him endure the slow and painful process of transforming into one of the living dead. Anticipating the change, Colin makes a desperate attempt to hold on to his old personality by placing a couple of photographs into his pocket, hoping they will remind him of who or what he once was.

Alas, the change comes and Colin becomes hungry. Taking the streets with the other undead, he goes looking for life. The streets are eerily barren, save for litter and the odd horde of zombies gathering round to feast on the flesh of anyone unlucky or stupid enough to be out and about. The situation is very much a widespread problem.

Adjusting to his new being, Colin takes to window-shopping and feasting on injured humans, occasionally pausing to acknowledge items that he identifies from his former life (at one point he stops to listen to a pair of headphones that have fallen from a victim).

As his condition worsens and he becomes increasingly zombie-like (pasty skin; stilted walk), Colin continues to wander aimlessly around the streets, oblivious to the frenzied zombie attacks he occasionally passes, or the gunshots that ring out randomly in the near distance.

He ambles onto a housing estate, possibly following an instinctive memory, and falls prey to two hoodlums picking on lone zombies to mug. But Colin is saved by a group of survivors that includes his sister Linda (Daisy Aitkens). When Colin doesn't appear to recognise Linda and tries to take a bite out of her, she's forced to reluctantly flee with the rest of her group.

Which leaves Colin to roam aimlessly again, finding his way to a house where a group of survivors have barricaded themselves in to film a video diary documenting the zombie pandemic. Unfortunately for them, the undead have forced their way in to the house and an elongated zombie bloodbath ensues (look out for a cameo from Jason Impey [NAKED NAZI; TORTURED] here).

A brunette manages to escape the house and flees into the night. Colin, along with a couple more zombies, notices this and pursues her. It's here that Colin is captured and taken to a house where he is tied up - and comes face-to-face again with Linda.

Despite the protestations of her friends, Linda has convinced them to bring Colin in so she can work on getting him to remember her. She's convinced that she saw a hint of recognition during their previous confrontation

COLIN is a bold, ambitious self-financed film from Nowhere Fast Productions and in particular writer/editor/producer/director Marc Price (MIDNIGHT).

Filled with auspicious set-pieces that boast ferocious displays of violence and flesh-eating, COLIN certainly delivers more than it's fair share of gore - anyone looking for a gorefest to rival the zombie films of Fulci or Romero will be amply satisfied. The above-average FX were supervised by the talented Michelle Webb.

But the film has more to offer than grue. There is a genuine warmth to the story of a man confused and alone, desperately wanting to remember his former self yet too weak to fight the urges of his latest condition. It's a difficult theme to address but Price pulls it off intelligently for the most part.

Kirton elicits sympathy as Colin without ever resorting to the obvious, playing it straight instead as a zombie with almost childlike naivety towards his own actions.

The cast in general offer strong performances, with only some of the zombie extras letting the side down on occasion with comedy zombie staggers. It's a minor quibble in what is otherwise a very well-performed film.

The theme is a serious one - dealing with issues of loss, memory, family, identity, desires - and pleasingly Price is unafraid to make a film that tackles it's script in a serious, dark manner. There are no sight gags, no mugging for camera, no one-liners - this is very much a horror film.

As much as the dark atmosphere, unapologetic bleakness and staggering gore will register with horror fans - not to mention a great understated score and genuinely creepy sound design - COLIN has elements that will appeal to the arthouse brigade too.

For a start, it doesn't shy away from filming scenes in a candid, handheld manner in real time, allowing us to linger on facial expressions or inanimate objects of seemingly little relevance. Some scenes seem to go on forever, but overall the film flows really well.

Also, there is very little dialogue in the film (there's no real plot as such, or at least not until about 45 minutes in). Price hasn't tried to wrap everything up with an ending that explains everything, or even offer us a convoluted excuse for the zombie plague (the most we get are quick glimpses of a couple of headlines in discarded newspapers).

Linda's attempts to jog Colin's memory and thereby domesticate him are a little feeble perhaps, and the idea has been tested before - Bub in DAY OF THE DEAD, Andy in DEATHDREAM etc. But Price does it in such a way that you can't help but feel a sense of tragedy evolving.

Shot largely on DV, the film's visual style was reminiscent of 28 DAYS LATER (which it further echoed in it's portrayal of empty streets and housing estates). But Price injects his own style in there with some interesting arty visuals, such as inventive camera angles, extremely slick editing and some weird rock video effects used very sparingly.

Negative points would be that the film is too long, the pop song that plays over the end credits is wholly inappropriate, and the film's title is ludicrous.

The film was presented in a reasonably sharp and clear full-frame presentation. Some scenes look murkier than others, while some are undeniably too dark. Overall though, the visual presentation is a good one - especially considering the film's self-financed ethos and it's source of material used. A solid offering.

In summary, COLIN is an intelligent and ambitious addition to the zombie cycle that deserves to be seen at least once by any horror fan. It may not be as original as it thinks it is, but it has a lot of heart to go with it's abundance of gore, and the desire to approach a tired sub-genre from a different point of view is highly appreciated.

Overlong and cursed with worst title a zombie film has ever had to suffer, COLIN nevertheless merits a closer look.

Review by Stuart Willis

For more information about 'Colin' visit the official site here


 
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