Stars: Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath, Tamaryn Payne | Written by Dan Palmer | Directed by Christian James
One of the films high on my “must-see” Frightfest list last year, unfortunately work got in the way and I missed it. However I didn’t miss the furore surrounding its screenings, which – if memory serves, sold out on more than one occasion? Our man Jack Kirby did see it though and unfortunately he wasn’t too impressed, but I think he may have been suffering from zombie-movie fatigue having sat through opening night snoozefest The Dead 2.
Yet another example of the British zombie comedy, Stalled takes a more puerile route in pursuit of its laughs, but then when you set your film in a toilet where else is there for you to go? Essentially a one-man performance, the film sees hapless caretaker WC (writer/actor Dan Palmer) trapped in the restroom when a zombie outbreak occurs at the buildings office Christmas party. Using the few wits he has, WC attempts to escape his cubicle prison and rescue the girl who, like him, is trapped in a loo further down the row…
I’ll be honest, it’s actually hard to write this review of Stalled. On the one hand the film is a fun little romp that blends humour and horror perfectly: the jokes and the situation are funny when it wants to be; and scary when it needs to be. But what lets the film down is the ridiculous amount of padding including an unwarranted, and wholly unneeded, hallucination-induced dance sequence. It’s like the filmmakers had a great idea for a short film but then decided to pad out the running time in the hopes of releasing Stalled as a feature – which worked, but at the detriment to what could have been an amazing short.
Of course as with a lot of modern zombie flicks there HAS to be references made to those iconic genre films that have come before it, and Stalled is no different – throwing in references to Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead et al. and your enjoyment of those may vary, dependent on your opinion of the zombie oeuvre. But hey ho, I’ve seen a LOT worse than this (Shaun of the Dead has a lot to answer for believe me)… Still, Stalled is not unimaginative and there are some great gags, both in the script and on the screen; and the films final line allows it the movie to go out on a high – though, like Jack, I slightly suspect the whole film may have been written around it!
More slapstick than splatter, Stalled is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.