We’re often suspicious of big corporations, and the secrets they hold from the public. Here, an independent reporter, Kate (Gale) decides to conduct an investigation into a weapons company conducting medical trials after hearing rumours of disturbing results. With her cameraman Duke (Burbage), she attempts to get close to the story of what’s happening, but things very quickly take a turn for the apocalyptic when the test subjects become zombies.
As the situation escalates, Kate and Duke take shelter in a resident’s home. However, the reanimated test patients have begun to swarm the surrounding area. The military has arrived, apparently to ‘take control’ (or perhaps cover up?), although Kate and Duke are dubious of their intentions. Reluctantly, the pair decides to split up. Choosing to face the ‘rescue party’, Duke allows Kate a chance to escape through the back. Kate goes on the run, unsure of Duke’s fate, and hooks up with Paul (Anderson) who she meets in a field. Determined to make sure the truth gets out about what’s happening, as well as find her cameraman, she finds there’s more to worry about than the infected flesh-eaters.
Although it may sound like a standard trope-filled shocker, it’s refreshing to see that Spinks has managed to come up with a film that not only avoids the clichés but is a riveting and engaging human drama. Presented, in part, as the couple shooting documentary, consisting of the footage filmed by Duke, largely interspersed with the traditional filmmaking style. It’s an approach that works perfectly, heightening tension and building the drama of the situation. We see the beginning of the investigation, but also the fact that things have apparently gone to shit. The two distinct styles make it easy for the viewer to distinguish where they are in the narrative’s timeline, unlike some non-linear movies.
The acting is certainly well above the standard for the budget. As Kate, Joanne Gale is completely engaging; she is in almost every scene of the film and is essential for the audiences’ sympathy and involvement - a position she holds perfectly. Simon Babbage’s Duke - often unseen as he’s behind the camera of the documentary footage - has quite a bit of ‘comic relief’ dialogue, particularly early on when he’s in the uncomfortable position of filming the disturbing discoveries, but this isn’t damaging as it is human nature. Being such a character-driven film, it could well put those wanting a typical gore-filled ‘walking dead’ film off, but it’s immensely rewarding for those willing to give it a chance. The premise is also very relatable, with such corruption and unethical methods going on (or at least thought to be going on) in big business and, particularly, government-run facilities.
Survivors is a wonderfully nihilistic film that is both edge-of-the-seat tense and thoroughly captivating.
SURVIVORS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: ADAM J. SPINKS / SCREENPLAY: ADAM J. SPINKS, LAURENCE TIMMS / STARRING: JOANNE GALE, SIMON BURBAGE, DAVID ANDERSON, ADRIAN ANNIS, ALI CURREY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW