Short Film Review: STILL Is A Frightfully Comical Zombie Tale

STILL

When walking through a local park or street market, one might encounter all manner of artists, performers or…well, performance artists. Mimes are likely the most popular choice to be relegated on the lowest rung of the performance artist ladder, but there is something even lower – the “living statue”. Because while mimes at least have the skill to make people believe they’re stuck in an invisible box, the “living statue’s” claim to fame is the ability to remain stationary for long periods of time. That’s nothing, because I’ve seen plenty of road construction workers do the same thing for better money.

However, if you just happen to be dead center in the middle of of a zombie stampede, where they are attacking everyone or everything that moves, the ability to remain deathly still is a huge asset. So that’s where we find our main character, a “living Statue”, at the present. He is quite literally peering into the eyes of violent, bloody and bitey death, as he is engaged in a stare down with a curious zombie. All he needs to do is what he apparently does best – stand completely motionless as long as he can. But any number of things the human body is prone to could jeopardize his motionless existence, such as: needing to scratch a wicked itch, avoiding a painful muscle cramp, fighting off an oncoming sneeze, needing to have a wee, trying NOT to vomit or even taking a fucking breath.

All he needs is a distraction and maybe, just maybe he can escape the clutches of the growing zombie horde. But just how long will he have to wait? And can he even manage remain STILL that long?

Carl Timms is the creative mastermind behind this conic gem, having written and directed it. i don’t know if it was his intention to merge two element from a couple of Edgar Wright films or not, but either way it made for an entertaining short. It’s as if this was the tale of the tale of the living statue from Hot Fuzz, who has survived the zombie apocalypse from Shaun of The Dead, thus giving him a reason to move to a rural village like Sanford Gloucestershire. Yes? No? I don’t really care because it was still very entertaining. I particularly liked the living statue’s internal monologue as he it witnessing absolute bedlam. One particular bit is a moment when he is trying to fight off every little sensation or bodily function that could jeopardize his stillness. Another was as he, silently inside his head, cheered on rival living statue, “the wheelbarrow man”, as he attempts his incredibly slow and sneaky egress. Of course never knowing if he can hold still long enough, also adds an appropriate sense of tension.

It’s kind of difficult to find anything to critique in a performance where someone is standing completely still, UNLESS there are facial subtleties that lend to the performance…and there were. Joe Cappella used very subtle facial cues to give a modicum of character to the living statue. Whether it was a widening of the eyes, a brief nostril lair or the slightest inhalation or exhalation, it was the act as much as how it was done. His voicing of the internal monologue was also extremely well done and added an incredibly humorous tone to the character. The supporting cast of  zombies and victim played their respective parts very well, creating a true sense of terror and chaos. My favorite of the horde, is the statue’s zombie nemesis, played by Rob Hall, with whom he has the stare down. Hall displayed a bizarre sense of, shall we say, feral curiosity?

The cinematography was effective in two respects. The use of close-ups, almost uncomfortably so,  on the living statue helped to coney how close danger and death were at all times. The use of wider shots often gave an idea of just how many zombies there were to contend with, showing the true gravity of the situation. The editing of attack sequences with quick smash cuts also painted a chaotic and aggressive picture of the zombie carnage as it unfolded.

The practical makeup and gore effects were also very well done. But we should expect as much, since they were done by Stuart Conran, who was the head makeup effects artist on Shaun of the Dead. One aspect of the gore that was fitting for this short, was the falsely vibrant red coloration of the blood, which helped to stave off the sense of entirely too realistic bloodshed. If the blood were too close to real ,it could have really swayed the balance far from humorous to horrific..

This short film marks Timms’ directorial debut, and I think it shows a great deal of talent and potential. If this is what Timms can do with seven minutes, I would really like to see what he can do at the helm of a feature length film. This my Little Monsters id an example of what is meant by “short but sweet”. DEFINITELY check it out! 8 / 10

STILL is now available for purchase in HD  at Vimeo for just $1.99/£1.59!


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