Sauna The Dead - A Fairy Tale


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sauna The Dead - A Fairy Tale
"Despite its slender pretext, Sauna The Dead is a smart and enjoyable film."

Have you ever got into the middle of an exciting situation and then found that you just can't figure out how to handle it? Jacob (played by writer/director Tom Frederic) is visiting a gay sauna. He carries himself like a first-timer, somewhere between awkward and aloof, unwilling to return comments and gestures that may be just as much casual welcome as request for sex. Though no-one is pushy, he moves through the various rooms like a hunted animal - which is, as it turns out, good practice.

As Shaun Of The Dead observed, there are many contexts in which it's difficult to distinguish the living from the undead. When one hears moaning in a sauna, it doesn't suggest any particular cause for alarm. But a zombie outbreak in a place like this is a serious problem. There are few places to run to and even fewer places to hide. And to make things more complicated for Jacob, the only other person who seems unaffected is Aseem (Kumar Muniandy), whom he has already treated rudely in a manner redolent of prejudice. Now the two of them must figure out how to co-operate if they want to survive.

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Not always gripping when it should be, this is nevertheless an entertaining little film which has a lot to say about the politics and social complexities of the sauna scene. Whilst some of this is obvious, it's rarely heavy-handed, and there's an underlying sweetness that saves the film fro many potential pitfalls, including its cheesy but charming ending. Frederic gives Sean Of The Dead's passing-as-a-zombie act quite different connotations and there's a cute moment when Jacob says he'll leave their hideout and Aseem should follow a couple of minutes later, but the script doesn't shy away from more difficult issues like racism, religious bigotry and beauty discrimination.

Despite its slender pretext, Sauna The Dead is a smart and enjoyable film. It's also a reminder of the importance of Douglas Adams' famous advice: always know where your towel is.

Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2016
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When a zombie outbreak occurs in a gay sauna, two men have to overcome their prejudices in order to survive.

Director: Tom Frederic

Writer: Tom Frederic

Starring: Tom Frederic, Kumar Muniandy, George Johnston, Neil Summerville, Anthony Chisholm

Year: 2016

Runtime: 21 minutes

Country: UK


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