REVIEW: THE ESCHATRILOGY - BOOK OF THE DEAD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: DAMIAN MORTER / SCREENPLAY: DAMIAN MORTER / STARRING: STUART WOLFENDEN, SARAH JANE HONEYWELL, DAMIAN MORTER, SAM CULLINGWORTH, TIM MCGILL GRIEVESON, PAUL COLLIN-THOMAS, DAVID FRAMPTON, ZOE SIMONE, CLAY WHITTER, NEIL ADAMS, FLYNN ALLEN, GEORGE NEWTON, ANNA BATHO, CHRIS KNIGHT / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Another day, another micro-budget zombie-flick and, if IMDb is to be believed, a very micro-budget one at that. That can’t be right; all those zombies must have had to bring their own sandwiches.
There are those of us who think zombie movies might have been a bit overdone of late, especially the low-budget variety. It’s almost become some kind of bizarre participation sport. So if you’re going to impress, it might be a good idea to bring something new to the party. To be fair, right from the off The Eschatrilogy - Book of the Dead (our catchy title of the week) does do something rather interesting: it’s a portmanteau. Three separate stories set during a zombie apocalypse with another story (involving the titular book) linking them. There’s even a bit of an overlap between the stories with some recurring zombies. The portmanteau was once a standard horror vehicle and it’s rather nice to see it have a comeback. In fact, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen an entirely zombie-themed one before (although there’s a zombie-themed everything else). Each of the stories explores a different drama from the z-apoc but unfortunately, as every possible angle has already been covered (we checked) in the 2.87 million (approx) zombie films that have gone before, we can’t say any of them are wholly original. It’s not like there were that many different angles available in the first place.
But director Damian Morter has done a pretty good job for the money. The framing story looks and sounds particularly classy even if the main tales don’t quite match up to it in the pretty stakes. But you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching something with real money behind it if it were not for the quality of the acting which is, shall we say, variable. Everyone looks like they were having a great time making this but that isn’t necessarily the vibe you want to be giving off, especially as Morter does manage to generate some creepy atmosphere. But it’s not all bad in that respect. There are a couple of reasonable performances in there, not least from Morter himself as a mysterious stranger in the framing story. If everyone had been as good him, this would have been a much better movie.
All in all Eschatrilogy is not bad as long as you can forgive the shortcomings of the casting budget and you’re a big enough zombie fan to still enjoy a genre that’s long since maxed-out the idea card. Mind you, it’s worth hanging in there for a cameo from CBeebies’ Sarah-Jane Honeywell (of Higgledy House fame). She’s not in it for long but she does threaten to cut someone’s balls off. Goodness. What would Mr Tumble say?