Monday, December 24, 2012

"Out There" with the Hordes: A Short Film Review

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*full disclosure: an online screening of this short film was provided by Randal Plunkett.

**there are spoilers here.

Director: Randal Plunkett.

Writers: Oliver Plunkett and Randal Plunkett.

Cast: Emma Eliza Regan, Conor Marren, Cian Lavelle-Walsh, Aaron Lee Reed, Emmet Kelly, GrĂ¡inne Byrne and Patrick O'Byrne.

Tagline: "Some things are best left forgotten."

It is not everyday that an Irish lord asks for a favour. So, when director Randal Plunkett, the 21st Lord of Dunstany, mentioned that his short film "Out There" was available for review, this critic answered the call. "Out There" does not deal with nobility, however. This is a zombie film that deals with morality, or, more accurately, amorality. A flawed protagonist with amnesia must piece events together over the course of sixteen minutes. Viewers will also put the story together at the same time and Plunkett's narrative style is clever, while the dubbing hampers the film's potential.

The story begins with Robert (Conor Marren). Through flashbacks, viewers realize that Robert has become engaged recently. He is also soon to be a father. Unfortunately, Robert is not a very good driver. He runs over a man and the victim rises from the dead, to Robert's chagrin. Ever selfish, Robert basically throws his fiancee (Emma Eliza Regan) into the maws of the undead, so that he can make his escape. Karma comes calling.

The narrative style of this film is expertly delivered. Because Robert has amnesia, the viewer learns of Robert's actions at the same time as the protagonist. The protagonist begins to piece together his past through a series of flashbacks. These snippets of memories fill in the blanks of the story over time. Robert is unable to piece back events quickly enough, though. He realizes that he is in the center of a zombie apocalypse; but, it is too late for him.

It is satisfying to see Robert receive his just deserts. This character seems dual in nature. He is the protagonist of this short film, but he is also the villain. How could any man leave their pregnant wife trapped in a car with zombie pounding on the windscreen? Robert seems unconcerned with this question. And, Robert's final scene involves the return of his fiancee, Jane, in zombie form. Hopefully, Robert is unable to escape the living dead a second time. If given the chance, this central character would likely feed a nursery of babies to the wolves.

"Out There" is an excellent short film. Yet, some dubbing during interior shooting detracts from the film's believability. The ADR work might snap some viewer's out of the film's story. With the aside, Plunkett has developed a great film, which will entertain indie horror fans. Fans must not expect a hero to charge into the undead fray though, with Plunkett's latest.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (this reviewer was not happy with several scenes of dubbing, themes and morality are delivered in an evocative fashion, an enjoyable time spent with an initially mysterious zombie tale).

"Out There" at Dunsany Productions:

"Out There" at Dunsany Productions w/Trailer

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