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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Survivors Movie - Infection is coming

'Infection is coming' - that's a bit worrying, right?
I don't know about you, but I myself am getting a little impatient for the Zombie apocalypse to start. It's not that I want to see the near total decimation of the human race happen - though there are a good few number of people on my personal dislike list who I sincerely hope get their comeuppance by getting their face eaten off by a zombie..... very slowly and very painfully. 

No, it's simply that once the inevitable apocalypse does happen, I'm pretty sure that not only will I survive it but I'll also no doubt be taking a leading role in gathering the remnants of humanity together. Yes, indeed, I'm not too sure if I'll be the charismatic and forceful leader who pulls a ragtag collection of individuals together with his ingenuity and forceful character, or whether I might be the distant yet charismatic loner that helps bind the group together with his sense of purpose and charm.

The one thing is certain in my fevered little mind, I'll be heroic. It's inevitable.

So while we wait with anticipation about the real event, we'll just have to make do with the ongoing conveyor belt of apocalypse related fiction that thankfully shows little sign of ending. This week I was asked by an old friend of 5D. The Fifth Dimension (don't ask him though, for some reason he, like many others, will deny knowing me at all...very strange) if I would like to cast my eye over his latest film venture, Survivors. After checking my social calendar and seeing that it was distinctly empty for some unfathomable reason, I replied that I did indeed have some time on my hands and would be happy to see more of his work.

Adam J Spinks has featured in a number of previous articles here on 5D, notably with in regard to one of his previous films, the rather good The Expedition which featured all sorts of funky Dinosaur stuff. You can see the review type musings from yous truly about that particular film RIGHT HERE. If that wasn't enough, Adam has also had the great fortune, some may say distinct mis-fortune, to take part on one of 5D's legendary piercing and incisive interviews that make Frost/Nixon look like a nice little chat over croissants during breakfast. If you want to see how Adam buckled under the pressure of my skilful interrogation back in 2014 then check out the blog article RIGHT HERE.

Adam it seems clearly hadn't had enough and so invited me to have a look at a secret online screener link (it makes me sound important, so just humour me) and give my opinion about his new film, Survivors which is due for DVD release here in the UK on the 26th October. So last night, sat armed with a bowl of Nachos and a glass or two of wine (alright, three glasses) I sat myself in front of my TV, hooked it up to the Internet (god bless technology) and watched some more lovely apocalypse.

Ryanair's economy class flight ready for take off....
"Kate Meadows (Joanne Gale) and her cameraman Duke (Simon Burbage) embark on a mission to uncover whether or not a government weapons contractor has secretly been using humans as their test subjects.  

As they dig deeper, they realise the brutal reality...

The test subjects have escaped and are carrying a deadly new contagion meant for use in biological war. They soon find themselves in a race for their own survival as the military lose the fight against the infected and those responsible for the outbreak stop at nothing to prevent the truth being revealed

In a world without laws, without order and with nobody watching, how far would you go to survive?"

When I spoke to Adam last summer he and the team were in the final stages of a lengthy and time consuming post-production process for this film. One of the things that he mentioned early on was the desire was to produce something that nobody has tried before, in essence, to produce a character driven piece that plays with different styles of presenting the narrative.  

Whether he has achieved something that no one else has done before is open to conjecture, but he has certainly produced an immensely interesting style in telling the story across two distinct timelines; The use of a hand held camera style takes place in the 'pre-apocalypse' storyline that follows Kate and Duke as they slowly unravel the mystery and conspiracy that may affect the whole human race. Whilst this style of filming may not be the favourite of all film goers (myself included) what is does in very offset and accentuate the post-apocalyptic story which is filmed in a more traditional style.

1st rule of the apocalypse - no eye contact with your group
This combination of filming styles has the benefit of providing a strong sense of characterisation of the two principle characters which serves very nicely to make them entirely sympathetic to the audience. In other words, the very personal hand held style provides the perfect method of highlighting the characters ordeals in trying to escape the outbreak and the subsequent lengths they would be prepared to go to survive.

Regardless of my belief that I would indeed be something of a hero leader figure come the apocalypse I am genuinely fascinated to see what would happen to the rest of humanity as  society breaks down. More often than not I tend to be something of an optimistic in most aspects of my day to day life (some may say it's delusion, not optimism), but I have to say that judging from cases around the world when social order disintegrates I don't hold much hope for our long-term cohesion. In truth, would I really be a hero when faced with the dilemma of whether to save someone else or myself first? 

The consideration of such questions is one of the main strengths of Survivors, with Spinks and his team taking the time and patience to explore what might happen if the rules of socialisation didn’t exist anymore.... there are no longer any laws, no longer anything to hold our animal instincts back. Instead of wondering how fast ones Internet download speed is, the only decision now for people is how hard to fight to stay alive and whether the kill or be killed trait that we once had in abundance can surpass our sophisticated evolution.

Survivors is a very good character-driven horror movie set in amongst the unfolding and aftermath of a deadly contagion that turns the infected population into the living dead. 

"There's something on your neck.... no, there"
The film contains more than its fair share of tense and chilling moments while still managing to treat the audience as having more than a modicum of intelligence with some strong emotional characterisation. It is well acted throughout with Joanne Gale as Kate frequently stealing the show with a confident emotional range throughout the film.

There may be some of a particular persuasion that lament the low levels of gore or a zombie film in Survivors, and I could understand that to a degree. However that would do this fine low-budget production a distinct disservice which nevertheless still manages to provide an immensely powerful chilling punch. If you like your British independent films with a skillfully written slice of horror, conspiracy theory and confident story telling then this is the film for you.

Now, come the inevitable apocalypse - what would YOU do to survive?

To find out more about Survivors and how to order the film then visit the website RIGHT HERE

You can find Survivors on Facebook at

Survivors can be followed on Twitter via their handle @SurvivorsMovie

Order here.

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