Z3D5 (2009)

Director Daniel Armstrong
Writers Daniel Armstrong
Starring Stelle Buzzard, Mark Taylor, Shenelle Macdermid
Genre Zombie
Run Time (minutes) 5.49

Talk us through it

In the not too distant future, 37 years or so from now, the world is a radioactive wasteland crawling with flesh eating zombies. Two strangers meet, one seeking escape from the ravenous hordes, the other apparently after candy.

The strangers connect and the world seems suddenly a much better place, if only for a few fleeting moments. Please note I'm inferring this from the official synopsis.

Mad Max meets Night of the Living Dead!


Normally I would throw a quote in here to set some sort of mood to the review, but Z3D5 is one of those outings that jettisons dialogue completely and simply goes with the visuals to get the Director's point across to the audience. Daniel Armstrong is ably supported in achieving this by his three leads, but there are some distractions along the rocky road to achieving total nirvana viewing wise.

For starters the production clearly lacked something in the budget department as we have some recycling of zombies going down. This normally isn't an issue as, well, extras don't exactly grow on trees especially in a radioactive wasteland. However a few too many of the zombies are clearly the same ones, which I would blame the makeup department for, and Armstrong has them appearing from different directions, which I would blame the Director for. It's the fine detail that always takes your feet out from under you in movie making. I guess another issue, if we wanted to be overly picky here, is the general lack of blood soaked gore going down. One character goes down under a hoard of ghouls, to use a Romero term, and comes up looking like he might have been at the bottom of a particular aggressive third grade ruck. Clearly Australian zombies are more refined in their eating habits than their North American cousins, I put it down to the Les Paterson influence myself.

Having thrown a few bouncers at Director Daniel Armstrong's head, and oh dear I seem to be in a sporting metaphor mood this evening, I have to give the Director his due, Armstrong knows how to throw together a short movie and make the most of limited resources. Each frame of Z3D5 is well constructed, particular loved the Mad Max influence on the car and chick driving it. The movie romps along pace wise without a misstep, there's no padding anywhere. And the major plot points are hit without fanfare while having enough emphasis to keep the audience up with developments. I would also point to the excellent lighting and film exposure Armstrong uses, he captures the unique Australian daylight while amping it slightly to portray the radioactive nature of the landscape. Armstrong gets where he is going while not missing a beat anywhere in the movie.

There's something romantic about love among the radioactive ashes of a zombie apocalpse. I'm surprised Mills and Boon haven't explored it really.

To a certain extent the movie did need to be lengthened to tell it's story more fully. Z3D5, and what the hell does that mean, starts with a scene of a dude clearly being pursued by something off screen who is on his last legs as he fires his remaining revolver rounds at his pursuers. Armstrong never explains where this character has come from or where he is going. This isn't the written word you need to context things in films, even in short movies.

There's a few nods to other horror outings going down either intentionally or unintentionally. I'm choosing the former as Armstrong appears to know exactly what he is doing. Was there a hint of Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars with some of the zombie makeup effects? Did the 1976 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers influence the final few frames of Z3D5? And we are meant to take a Mad Max influence home with us right?

Surprisingly Z3D5 has generated a minor controversy on the net over one scene. Armstrong inserts a flashback that shows his two female leads in a heartfelt making out session in some unknown bedroom. This is actually crucial to the final seconds of the movie, but hey let's not let a little narrative logic get in the way of a good old fashion cat fight on the world wide web, the "l" word is in play. Personally I have no problems with the odd bit of girl on girl action if it doesn't detract from a movie experience or is in no way exploitative. And hey that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I actually quite enjoyed Z3D5 but think a longer movie is needed to tell the tale Armstrong has going down here. The whole outing is pretty light hearted and doesn't take itself seriously, which is in keeping with the atmosphere Armstrong is striving for. I loved the wordage at the start of the movie that pretty well put you on notice this wasn't going to be a nihilistic zombie outing, or indeed your typical zombie outing. Z3D5 is under six minutes long so you aren't risking much by checking it out, oh and it's free.

For those unaware, Robert Hood has Z3D5 hosted on his blog "Undead Backbrain", check it out Right Here

ScaryMinds Rates this short as ...

Well worth checking the short out, it's a zombie outing what more do you need to know?