Review: Stalled / Cert: 18 / Director: Christian James / Screenplay: Dan Palmer / Starring: Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath, Tamaryn Payne / Release Date: Out Now
If there’s one thing fright film fans really don’t need – apart from more found footage features, obviously – it’s another British comedy zombie movie. Seriously, after Shaun of the Dead and Cockneys vs. Zombies, what more is there to say from a UK perspective? Stalled, written by and starring Dan Palmer and set almost entirely into a toilet cubicle, isn’t anywhere near the same league as its two more illustrious predecessors, but by the same token isn’t as vacant as it might first appear and is actually, on occasion, reasonably engaging.
Palmer plays seedy office janitor W.C. (see what they did there?) who finds himself trapped in a toilet cubicle when a zombie apocalypse inexplicably starts during the Christmas party. As the bathroom fills up with more and more shuffling zombies and his desperate attempts to escape all go down the pan, W.C. realises that someone else is stuck in the cubicle two doors down. He strikes up a not-especially-funny dialogue with Heather (Bernath) and becomes more determined than ever to escape a situation which is, very probably, driving him around the bend. But Heather isn’t quite what he expects and the zombies are getting more and more determined…
Stalled isn’t especially funny. There’s nothing much going on in the way of jokes or witty banter but Palmer just about makes up for it with an interesting line in physical and facial comedy. His long confessional chat with Heather has a forced artificiality about it and it’s not long before the cramped and restrictive location runs out of both comedic and dramatic potential and just becomes tedious. But on the plus side, the zombie make-up is decent, there’s some imaginative gore and the final scene – W.C. flushed with the excitement of freedom and determined to make amends to his family – opens up the film in ways that just make you wish Stalled had had the budget to be a bit bigger a bit sooner. Top marks for trying something different and very nearly pulling it off, but when your best gag is your tagline – when there’s no bathroom left in Hell – then you’ve got problems with your comedy.
Stalled might float your boat if you’re after a zombie film that’s at least a bit different and it might be worth a visit even if it’s bound to end up in the bowels of your DVD collection.
Extras: Behind the scenes footage / Trailer / Storyboard comparisons / Two commentaries