The Z Line (2013)


Written by Silas Rowland and directed by the Chris Garris and Silas Rowland, ‘The Z Line‘ is a short film that deals with a small town the gets quarantined following a zombie outbreak.

The ‘Z Line’ in question refers to the boundary of the quarantine zone where a person would be safe and out of the zombie infected area, this ‘line’ becomes a focal point for freedom in this short film.

Be aware that this short film is heavy on dialog, so if you are looking for high-octane zombie action, or even slow paced shuffling living dead menace, then you may as well look elsewhere, as the bulk of this film is focused on setting up the situation our protagonist finds himself in and discussions on how he intends to escape.

The film opens with a news report that announces that a small town is being quarantined due to an infection that is causing zombie-like symptoms in those affected, before cutting quickly to its main story about Kim Kardashian expecting triplets. The film-makers get around their lack of budget by having the news reader apologize for the cheap set as the studio is being refurbished.

The humor feels a bit shoehorned in, and it all feels a bit too obvious in taking a swipe at modern day priorities, attention spans, and ‘News content’.

Directly following this plot set-up, we see a series of people talking in ‘citizen journalism’ style via Skype about the outbreak. This sort of stuff:

Me and friends used to talk about what would happen if a zombie apocalypse came, we’d joke about it, say what weapons we’d use, how we’d stay alinve, of course none of us thought it would ever happen. I was attacked half an hour ago….by one of my friends I used to talk about this with….and I had to beat in his brains.


After a drawn out series of these segments we get to the meat of the film, where a teen, who lives in the vicinity of the outbreak, soon finds his town affected by the outbreak. His mother becomes infected and as things get worse he decides to travel to his father’s place….but he soon finds that he is trapped in his town due to it being quarantined.

The action then cuts to a few years later and we quickly learn that the town is basically surrounded by fences and a boundary to keep the outbreak contained and the government are dropping supplies on a regular basis to keep the uninfected alive.

For us, this is the most interesting premise of this short film and we would have loved to have seen a lot more attention and time given to this, as it is actually a scenario that hasn’t really been explored that much in modern zombie movies – people living in a government controlled quarantine zone for a long stretch of time, while the rest of the world watches on via the News and media. Sadly the film spends to much time on the first segment that is focused on people talking about the start of the outbreak.

Crossing this border, or the ‘Z Line’ becomes the all consuming goal for the protagonist, and what’s left of the film focuses on his trip to the ‘Z Line’ for his border crossing.

This is an interesting little short that contains a few twists, but it sadly overlooks its own best qualities, which is the potentially interesting situation that the characters find themselves in – instead the film spends too much time on talking about the outbreak in ways that zombie fans have seen countless times before in modern zombie films.

Watch ‘The Z Line’ below: