A two hour Bedfordshire lensed zombie flick with a budget of £15,000? Ambitious! This directorial debut from Andrew Gilbert takes a multi-strand approach, from a young guy called Tom (Nicky Paul Barton) and his mates playing xbox and prepping themselves for a night of the town, to a group of soldiers pacing the streets. The boys night out is first to feel the wrath of a zombie outbreak, as their destination for the evening quickly becomes the target ravenous zombies. Fleeing back home albeit at the cost of the life of their friend Josh, Tom rushes to put the television on which informs them of a national state of emergency.
Meanwhile in the town centre, a regiment from the army are on patrol and attempting to quell the unrest. In such an open space though they’re primed for being attacked, and it’s not long before they’re under assault from the undead. One of the troops is bitten, but the soldiers manage to get him into a car and go in search of some medical attention.
A new day sheds some light on the gravity of the impending apocalyptic scenario, and Tom persuades his two friends Rachel (Elizabeth Quinn) and Adam (Luke Hobson) that they should head to the local school which is being billed on the news as an evacuation centre. When they arrive there the place is almost deserted save for some friends that Tom agreed to meet. Soon after we see the arrival of Sgt. Faulkner (James Harrison) and his remaining troops who announce their arrival with a blaze of gunfire – some of it fatally misjudged.
As the school becomes a temporary shelter for the surviving people, we’re joined by Jenny (Abby Simpson) whose husband was a paramedic treating the injured, and the group under the direction of Sgt. Faulkner attempt to secure the location. As the hours pass, the need to utilise the school as a temporary base becomes a priority as the likelihood of surviving outside its confines seems minimal, but in doing so they must learn to survive with each other.
Utilising inexperienced actors, low budget f/x and the creative talents of a group of first time filmmakers all aged in their mid 20s, The Dead Inside should in all reality be a forgettable entry to the overcrowded zombie genre about which we patronisingly say “nice try”. A sterner critic may point to the excessive running time, the odd wobbly performance and some stilted dialogue – not this one however.
What Gilbert, Hundy and Mann – the creative forces behind this picture have achieved is to have the brass balls to go out with a minimal (yet sizeable in terms of real life) budget, and to come back with a staggeringly ambitious zombie flick that belies the money spent on it and the relative inexperience of the creators.
The way they’ve utilised their home town is fantastic, especially the school which makes for an ideal central location for the story they’ve created. Credit is due too for bold narrative decisions such as the killing of a major character within the first third of the movie, and the inclusion of so many speaking parts that are integral to the storyline. The acting too – especially for such a low budget film is really impressive with deep nods of praise aimed towards Samuel Hogarth, Luke Hobson, Nicky Paul Barton and Abby Simpson. Special mention as well to the score by Stephen Currell and the use of local bands Henry and the Bleeders, An Army of Lights, Millers Hag and Matt Gill.
I read a few years ago a list by author MJ Simpson which detailed 160 unreleased British horror films of which The Dead Inside was one. It’s a scary thought to imagine that much creativity awaiting release if even a small percentage have any of the creativity this movie imbues. Now it’s finally released, my one concern for this movie is it being lost amongst the annual October tsunami of horror based material. We are after all a society that would prefer to see the uber-polished The Walking Dead piped directly into our homes on a Friday evening than attempt to seek out a meagre budgeted homegrown zombie picture. Hopefully though, with the good word of mouth it will undoubtedly generate, The Dead Inside should go on to receive the recognition it deserves.
7.5 out of 10