Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

The Noughties have seen a veritable plague of revenant flesh-eaters shuffling their way through the decade's genre cinema, but apart from an occasional increase in the zombies' mobility (28 Days Later..., the Dawn Of The Dead remake, Zombie Transfusion), a shift to the medium of shaky-cam reportage (The Zombie Diaries, [Rec], Diary Of The Dead), or a setting of postmodern revisionism (Fido, Romeo and Juliet Vs. The Living Dead, the forthcoming Pride And Prejudice And Zombies), there has been little freshness to accompany all these rotten corpses.

Colin, however, is different. Just as George A Romero's plainly titled Martin turned the vampire flick on its head by focusing on a disturbed (and possibly undead) young man as he goes about his deadly business in a drab suburban environment, so, too, Marc Price's debut feature (with its similarly plain title) follows its eponymous antihero through the apartments and estates of London suburbia, inverting along the way all the overfamiliar tropes of the zombie movie. The innovation in Colin is so simple that it is extraordinary nobody has thought of it before: a zombie-borne global catastrophe is shown not from the point of view of a dwindling band of survivors, but through the cold, dead eyes of a new recruit to the zombie horde as he stumbles from one harrowing scenario to the next in search, naturally, of human flesh, but also of something altogether less tangible.

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When we first meet Colin (Alastair Kirton), he is still alive, but already doomed by an infected wound beneath his hoodie – and his entry into the growing ranks of the undead is greatly expedited when he is suddenly attacked and bitten in the neck by his one-time friend Damian (Leigh Crocombe). Their frenzied mêlée is restricted to the narrow space between a domestic kitchenette's basin and cooker – and even if Colin, now a full-fledged zombie, will soon escape Damian's house for the chaotic streets, his urban odyssey will never take him far from the kitchen-sink realism of these opening scenes.

It is a remarkably intimate view of the apocalypse, as a subject - albeit one who barely lives up to the name - bears mute witness to the bonds of society, family and humanity rapidly breaking down all around him. Soon Colin, like the narrative that his journey traces, will come full circle, guided by a road sign that leads to his home away from home. This is an intelligent, moving depiction of a world gone to hell, dripping with the melancholy of a ‘hero’ still driven by a yearning from his past that he is incapable any longer of understanding.

Colin has garnered a great deal of press attention for the extraordinary story behind how it was made. Acting all at once as the film's writer, director, producer, sound designer and editor, Price shot Colin over 18 months on used domestic camcorders, and cut it on an old PC using out-dated editing software. All other equipment was borrowed, the volunteer cast provided their own costumes and props, and much of the film's budget of £45 – yes, £45 – was spent on tea and biscuits.

It would, however, be unfair to reduce Colin to the underdog heroics of its production, for Price has crafted a film that easily holds its own against zombie flicks produced on much bigger budgets, thanks to excellent use of locations, superb sound design, Kirton’s poignant performance and a novel perspective on an old story. It is a calling card all right, announcing the arrival of a DIY filmmaking talent – but it is also a stirring reinvigoration of an otherwise tired subgenre.

Like many a cadaver, Colin certainly has its share of roughnesses and blemishes, but these can be overlooked for the memory of the life that was. It is an elegy for the end of days, full of love, loss and hopeless longing.

Reviewed on: 21 Oct 2009
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One man's journey into the realm of the undead... from the wrong side of life.
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Director: Marc Price

Writer: Marc Price

Starring: Alastair Kirton, Daisy Aitkens, Leanne Pammen, Kate Alderman, Tat Whalley, Leigh Crocombe

Year: 2008

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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