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We have no idea what it was that bit you.
It had fingers, Andy!
If there’s one genre with so many releases that you get tired of it, it’s certainly the zombie genre. I’m sure this kind of movies is made on a daily basis. Movies in which infected undead stumble around, searching for victims, to have a portion of juicy brains. Most movies aren’t very innovative and all known clichés are being used. But occasionally you come across something completely different where they want to give a new direction to the zombie genre. Just like in Maggie it’s about a father who wants to protect his daughter. Only, little Rosie (Finlay and Nova Sjoberg) isn’t aware of any threat.
The story is set in the Australian bushes (the last Australian zombie flick I have seen was Wyrmwood. Also highly recommended). Andy (Martin The Hobbit Freeman), his wife Kay (Susie Porter) and their baby-daughter Rosie are quietly riding a dilapidated boat across a river. It seems idyllic and has a high The African Queen mood. There’s no indication of a post-apocalyptic situation with humanity again being the victim of a viral outbreak. Until they come across the wreck of a boat.
The only thing that bothered me in this film are the stupid, illogical decisions that were made. It’s understandable that this family can’t go on forever without providing themselves with new food and provisions. Trust me. I would also go and check if there wasn’t anything useful to find on board this boat. But knowing that every moment you can be attacked by a hungry zombie, I would certainly not do this unarmed and without informing the other person. I suppose they are of the same intellectual level because Kay makes the same primal mistake. With all the consequences.
The next stupid fragment announces itself when the family is on the run in an abandoned off-road vehicle. In normal circumstances, you as a driver will try to avoid inattentive crossing pedestrians. You’ll probably perform some neck-breaking maneuvers that are a risk to your own life. But when knowing that the mainland is populated by soulless creatures whose only goal is to take a big bite from any uninfected after they have towed them to a local zombie barbecue, you would rather put the pedal to the metal. But no. Not Andy. He’s so good-hearted that he prefers to crash the all-terrain vehicle against an Australian boab instead of hitting such a creature. But as I said before, these are the only drawbacks in this, for the rest, fascinating and especially emotionally poignant zombie story.
The film itself isn’t unnervingly exciting. It shows the self-sacrificing agony Andy undergoes so he can take his daughter to a safe place. Far from the mutated fellowmen and half-wits who do totally crazy things in this chaotic world. Like putting an Aboriginal in a cage after which the target practice can start with zombies, which are lured by fresh meat. Incidentally, it’s the Aboriginals who know how to maintain themselves in this new world. With primitive-looking rituals they succeed in liquidating zombies and plant-based ointment provides protection. It’s also a young Aboriginal girl (Simone Landers) who helps Andy with his trip through the bush and who provides a safe haven.
Frankly, I thought this film was original in many ways. Not only the zombie concept was elaborated in a different way. The transformation is totally different than in a typical zombie movie. Here it’s not only blood and ripped off flesh, but it’s a blubbery, slimy substance that manifests itself during the 48-hour transformation. Also, the phenomenon of zombies with their head in the ground (ostrich-like behavior) was surprising. Was it to shut themselves off from the outside world? Or is it part of the transformation process? No idea. But it was fascinating enough. And finally, the most impressive thing for me personally was the atmosphere that this film radiated. I never thought I would ever watch a zombie movie and get emotionally touched by it. You really have to be a zombie if you don’t want to be moved by this movie. And finally, praise for the admirable acting performance of Martin Freeman. A whole movie he played a leading role and not for a moment I had the feeling he was playing a hobbit. That’s what I call an achievement.