Dorm of the Dead is a low-budget zombie-comedy, released in 2012 and directed by Tobias Canto Jr. and Tyrel Good.
This is a real ‘Indie’ offering and the movie has its roots in a school project – after discussing zombie movies and their symbolism for real world issues, a couple of college students, Tobias Canto Jr. and Tyrel Good, decided to create their own zombie movie addressing the transition from the teenage years into adulthood, which typically takes place at university. Their idea was chosen by fellow students for a class project, and Dorm of the Dead is the result. It is a perfect example of how far a lot of effort and a little planning can get you when making a film.
Judging by the sheer amount of zombie flicks that get released every year, everyone seems to think they can make one. The problem is that many of these would-be filmmakers either don’t really try, or even worse, they end up trying too hard. Sometimes you just need to keep it simple: write what you know, shoot in a place you are familiar with, and find some friends (or classmates) who are going to be as enthusiastic and committed to the project as you are. These students manage to do what so many others have failed at: create a watchable, entertaining film with a few genuinely funny and touching moments.
Upon coming back to his dorm after a night of partying, typical slacker/cool kid Will is surprised by a visit from his little brother Cory; who subsequently gets pawned off on to Will’s roommate. Turns out the roommate has contracted a mysterious infection, and pretty soon the whole dorm is zombified. “Some shit went down and now people are eating people.”
The zombie outbreak quickly spreads through the campus and the dorm inhabitants then break up into a Breakfast Club style group (and end up in the library, naturally). Overcome with a newfound sense of responsibility, Will attempts to lead his brother and this motley crew to safety.
The script is surprisingly polished and the cast obviously did quite a few read-throughs, because the delivery is actually pretty good for novice actors. The same goes for the shots; one of the positive things about watching student films is that the lessons of film-making, like framing and composition, are still fresh in their minds and you can clearly see where extra thought was applied by the film-makers. They also have some solid Romero-style zombie make-up (granted it does get pretty bad toward the end), as does the use of CG blood splatter. Despite a solid start, the movie get much looser and begins to slack off a little in the second half when people start sacrificing themselves for no reason. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because everyone was easily running away from the zombies and threats in the movie.
Overall, the movie is pretty enjoyable even though it is hard to pinpoint why; possibly because the passion the filmmakers have for their project, the genre, and film in general. It’s also nice to see a movie about college that is actually made by students, rather than folks looking fondly back – that’s probably why the script works, it feels genuine and contains enough winks and nods to those living on campus. There are a couple of nice touches like fraternity zombies and football zombies, and I love all the random shit these guys have in their dorms that serve as makeshift weapons. Fact: it seems everyone in their twenties knows at least one dude with swords.
Watch the trailer for ‘Dorm of the Dead’:
|Get the film at Amazon.com|
|Get the film at Amazon.co.uk|