Zombies are all the rage at the moment (forgive the 28 Days Later style pun), from TV’s The Walking Dead to the upcoming adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z (reported to be filming in Cornwall in August). And following its premiere at the Apollo Cinema in Paignton, Deadmoor now takes a bite out of the local filmmaking scene.
It’s a credit to the makers of Deadmoor that it energises a familiar genre with pace and a degree of innovation. A collaborative effort between second year Digital Media students at Torbay’s South Devon College, it places flesh eaters in the heart (there’s another groaner) of Dartmoor. A group of strangers must battle for survival against the odds as the night and the ghouls close in.
What’s more remarkable is how coherent the end product turns out to be, given it’s directed by four students -Vince Knight, Joe Pegg, Richard De Young and Kirsty Anne Symonds (whose Deity recently screened at Torre Abbey’s Spanish Barn). Whatever their individual strengths, the end product is nippily edited and fast-paced, and Dartmoor is cloaked in a steely, shadowy gaze that is quite wonderfully atmospheric.
Given the relative lack of funds, the make-up effects courtesy of Cat Bruce, Bianke Di Salvo and Jess Sings are also brilliantly done, all bloody jowls and boggle eyes.
There’s talent in front of the camera too -fellow students Abi Chalk, Louis Brzozka, Hayley Wetherall, Chris Tennant and the others devour their roles with relish and put a human face on the scenario. Proof that the zombie movie is one of the most adaptable of all the genres, the makers of Deadmoor deserve every success. Here’s to Dawn of the Devon Dead in future.