Reviewbr> An unknown woman is surviving on an isolated farm in rural Australia as the zombie apocalypse rages across the Country. The woman is grieving the loss of her Fiancé, and is just hanging on as the undead hordes descend onto her remote bastion. Her days are spent dealing with the ever increasing undead, and with her having limited resources you get the feeling that things aren't going to end well.
Can the woman summon one final moment of happiness or will her humanity and life be consumed by the encroaching undead?
Director/Writer Cameron McCulloch had a total of $2,000 to make the movie and a couple of weekends for the shooting schedule, he makes use of every resource at his disposal in the finished product. You just got to love someone's drive to make a movie under almost impossible conditions, with the resulting movie being a hell of a lot superior to the current crop of big budget monstrosities Boredwood has unleashed down your local multi cinema shrine of ineptitude. Lets take a bite out of Home and see what might be happening at it's core.
First up the movie is a “rom-zom”, don't be confused into thinking you are going to see something similar to Shaun of the Dead (2004), there isn't a comedic element involved in Home. What you go get is a poignant love story, set in amongst the decaying flesh of a zombie apocalypse, but don't worry we aren't talking chick flick here. Expect a film about a woman who has lost just about everything, who is left alone and grieving, oh and it features lots of zombies.
One of the major rules I was taught in criticism class was not to read anything into a movie, the film should tell the tale, you shouldn't infer anything from what you see if it isn't explicitly hinted at. Does this apply to short film? Breaking rules is what we're about here, so with that in mind I got the feeling we are seeing the aftermath of a zombie outbreak that took place during a rural wedding. You know the sort, you arrive the day before for the festivities. Just a general feeling, may be completely wrong, hey make your own mind up and then abuse the site for leading you down the wrong path.
Director McCulloch starts his movie with a number of static shots, indicating lack of people, isolated setting, rural nature of things, before hitting with a jump scene to get the ball rolling. It's economic film making, prepping the basic details without wasting undue screen time. McCulloch is entirely successfully in the approach, though a slight abruptness in scene changes is notable. You generally know what the Director is trying to do, but it appears jarring on first view.
The majority of the rest of the movie, or the middle block as we like to say when we're feeling all movie technical, concerns the day to day hell the central character is going through. We learn she is grieving for her Fiancé, no doubt a victim of the apocalypse, the zombie hordes are at the door, and there's no one else left alive in the vicinity. McCulloch adds some action scenes to divert from his main character's introspective moments. I was digging the whole package and could have watched a feature length version without undue issue. For those wondering, we're talking Romero shamblers, shot em in the head scenario, complete with moaning.
I'm not about to talk about the final act, you'll have to catch Home in order to find out what goes down there. Suffice it to say that Director McCulloch manages to pull a double twist that had me nodding my head in approval. What was notable was the plot foreshadowing going down during the course of the movie that forced a final decision from our lead, excellent movie making right there kids, and an attention to detail that marks Cameron McCulloch as someone to keep your eye on.
Home is pretty much a one shot with Jamie McDowell being the sole focus, she carries the movie in excellent fashion. McDowell nails it and adds the human dimension the short needed to claw itself out of the general zombie grave of “seen it before” features. Cameron McCulloch has something unique happening, shots a good film, but without McDowell hitting the emotional requirements the movie might have collapsed on itself as so many Boredwood features have a habit of doing. Full marks to McDowell for getting right into role, dirty face and all.
Special mention of makeup artists Mia'Kate Russell and Bryn Cummin who produced some excellent zombies on a limited budget. Well done guys, was digging your work.
Before I wrap Cameron McCulloch follows John Carpenter's lead of doing his own score. It's sparse, but used effectively without intruding on screen events. Home relies on ambient noise to a large degree, but the score does the job when used.
Not sure where Home is at release wise, the movie is currently wowing judges on the Film Festival circuit, but you can keep track of the schedule via the official site.
I got a sneak peak at Home and am for sure recommending the movie to all you short film fans out there. Cameron McCulloch has produced another excellent example of what you can do with the zombie movie, taking the basic structure and wringing it's neck to make something new, I was rocking on with the whole concept. Fingers cross McCulloch sticks to the dark genre, he might just be our next great genre Director.