Movie Review: The Eschatrilogy / Cert: TBC / Director: Damian Morter / Screenplay: Damian Morter / Starring: Stuart Wolfenden, Sarah Jane Honeywell, Sam Cullingworth, Damian Morter, Tim Mcgill Grieveson / Release Date: TBC
The affordability of film quality DSLR cameras over the past few years has opened the floodgates for any budding Orson Welles to gather their mates and make a cinematic mark. It is not often that anything of real quality surfaces, the majority aren't worth the memory cards they are saved on. Fortunately, there has recently been a string of recent indie micro-budget films made in the UK that buck the trend. The Eschatrilogy, while not having the most original subject matter, shows that talent is out there waiting to be discovered.
The Eschatrilogy is an anthology film with three stories following the gradual demise of the human race at the hands of zombies, brought about by a demon, hell bent (sorry) on bringing about the destruction of the world as we know it. The stories themselves come from a book carried by Cal (writer/director Damian Morter), who has been travelling, observing the decline of humanity. He stumbles, quite literally, upon a hilltop camp, abandoned except for one survivor, a young man, Matthew (Grieveson). He reads the book while Cal has passed out, and learns how the world became full of monsters. The stories all have a very human basis, family and survival. Furthermore, as we have already seen from the wraparound section, they are also inevitably tragic. Characters, albeit in undead form, pass from story to story, providing a stronger link than your average portmanteau film, but, in turn, the tales lack the variety an anthology would normally provide.
Amongst the film's major strengths is the locations, be it housing estates overrun with zombies, ruined farmhouses, or the glorious Yorkshire moors, and the stark contrast to the post apocalyptic framing sections, which would not look out of place in The Road. Most of the cast are newcomers and at times it does show, but everybody throws themselves into their parts, even when in danger of being upstaged by youngsters Fransesca Turton and Flynn Allen. A number of recognisable faces appear, however, particularly Stuart Wolfenden (Dead Man's Shoes, Best Laid Plans) and Sarah Jane Honeywell (from children's TV show Tikkabilla)
Everything is played deadly straight here, no Shaun of the Dead gags or in jokes, there is some surprisingly effective gore, but for the most part it is bleak and inevitably depressing. It is to Morter's credit that this tone suits the film perfectly, and it could work just as well without the demon character, but that does, however, provide an iconic image for the publicity.
The brooding synth score, by Rob Wingfield, hearkens back to the films of the '80s without being too derivative, although I may have recognised a nod to Rick Wakeman's music from The Burning.
Perhaps the only negative aspect of the film is the use of zombies. Let's face it, we are getting a bit zombied out now, but if you can allow yourself another bite of flesh, then it's certainly worth it.
The film is expected to do the festival rounds over the next few months. Currently confirmed are Killer Film Fest (USA) and one in Worchestershire, both in November, and a Sunday afternoon slot at Manchester's Grimmfest at the beginning of October. If you get the chance to check it out, make sure you do. A DVD release will no doubt follow later. In the meantime, check out the trailer and the official website.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10