Stalled is a British comedy-horror that was directed by Christian James and premiered at the London FrightFest Film Festival on 24 August 2013.
Truly original zombie movies are a rare sight these days. Wading through the endless stream of low-budget horror that is released either straight-to-dvd, or direct to streaming, is a daunting task that seems to grow by the minute. There is literally a never-ending stream of zombie movies being churned out these days, with many trying to offer a new spin on the genre.
So, as a filmmaker, how does one stand out amongst the…..well…..horde?
Director Christian James and writer/actor Dan Palmer may have found the formula with their 2013 zombie-comedy, Stalled. Step one: set in a unique location. Step two: restrict yourself to only shoot in said location. Step three: create an unlikely and unlikeable hero, with only one companion who the audience never really sees. Step four: throw in a dance number for good measure. Step five: zombie Jesus. Done.
Office janitor W.C. is repairing an intercom in the women’s toilet while the rest of the company gets pissed at the Christmas party upstairs. He hides out in one of the stalls when two lusty ladies walk in, and, woops, one of them turns into a zombie. The poor bloke has managed to get stuck in a ladies bathroom stall while the zombie apocalypse breaks out….and has left his trusty toolbox on the sink.
The good news is that he is not in there alone; too bad his new confidant is stuck two stalls down and therefore must remain a disembodied voice for the moment. Even though neither one of them is particularly likeable, you will still find yourself rooting for the couple to make it out alive. This is primarily due to W.C.’s ability to think on his feet and utilize the very few items at his disposal; one of the most important qualities to have when faced with the undead.
Stalled reminds me of the old 80s horror direct-to-video Z-movies, in the sense that you have a small, dedicated crew with an extremely limited budget who obviously give a shit about their craft. You can just feel the hard work emanating from the screen; these are the kind of film-makers you want to root for, because they make the most with what they have. The sets are meticulously (albeit cheaply) made; which is even more important in a movie where the vast majority of screen time is spent on one set. The props are sparse, but all are important and utilized (nothing extraneous here). The lighting is well thought out; honestly I can even remember the last time I really paid attention to lighting in one of these kinds of movies, so that’s really saying something. Although they could have gone with a bit more gore, what they did was good and free of CG blood splatter. Homemade guts are always the best.
This isn’t Citizen Kane, nor is it Shaun of the Dead; manage your expectations and you’ll have a good time. It has clever and funny moments that will generate a few chuckles and kudos for inventiveness. Like most of the films on this site, this is not for your average moviegoer. Stalled is only for genre fanatics who love watching other horror fans give it their all in the hopes of making something cool.
Watch the trailer for ‘Stalled’:
|Get the film at Amazon.com|
|Get the film at Amazon.co.uk|