February 28, 2002

Dead Creatures (2001)

"In the center of a large and unknowing city, a group of young women huddle together in a small apartment, tending to a sick friend whose skin is rotting to the bone. These women have been cursed with a secret malady that has made them members of an urban subculture, where their only way of survival is to continually feed on humans. They have been forced to abandon their once normal lives to now prowl the dark streets and alleyways in search of their next victim. But these hunters are also being hunted. There is a mysterious man walking these same streets, who will stop at nothing until they are abolished - one by one. Welcome to the doomed universe of Andrew Parkinson's Dead Creatures."

You know how I've often said that Britain doesn't have an independent film scene going on? Well, I'm the booby because I've just found one from 2001 in my bargain bin purchases... "Dead Creatures".

Now before you all jump on me about this, these films rarely make it to DVD here. They get shown at the festivals then usually disappear without trace because nobody wants to waste the money on burning DVDs and promoting films that the average Joe won't buy.

Most Brits on discovering something like this on the shelves of Blockbuster would take it back, complain bitterly and demand a refund... as I have done on several occasions when they've tried to sneak a "handycam" film with an interesting cover into the horror section.

Anyway, "Dead Creatures" is described as "The TRAINSPOTTING of Cannibal Movies" and is covered in suitably asslicking hyperbole about it being "a mix of Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and George Romero".

Well, it isn't quite that good but it was a lot more original than I thought it would be. I haven't seen "I, Zombie" from the director Andrew Parkinson (and probably never will to be perfectly honest) but this DVD (for £1!!!) is packed full of stuff including commentaries, making of documentaries, image galleries, outtakes and even another short film called "Sad Man".

I'll just type in what it says on the sleeve:

"Set in contemporary London, DEAD CREATURES follows a group of seemingly-normal young women who have all contracted a terrible degenerative illness that forces them to murder and feed on human flesh. Adjusting to this inhuman way of existence, the girls read fashion magazines, talk about shagging boys, and try to eke some joy out of "living" in the time left to them. Their only concerns are where to find human flesh and how to avoid a zombie hunter. However, things change for everyone when a newly infected girl turns up..."
"DEAD CREATURES is the second movie from underground cult director Andrew Parkinson (I, ZOMBIE) whose socially realistic style has been described as a mix of Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and George Romero."

I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed "Never Play With The Dead" made by most of the cast of "Eastenders". There's just something about getting a serious horror film with the "British" look and feel about it that makes it better somehow even though I really hate most British films from other genres with a passion (especially our comedies).

It needed some better editing in places. A couple of cuts are distractingly painful to watch... especially the one where the zombie hunter is drinking. I can see how that scene needed to be shortened but I'm sure it was supposed to show his emotional state in a "Mike Leigh/Ken Loach" kind of drawn-out and irritatingly slow way.

If I had to give it a rating, I'd say 6 (maybe 7) out of 10. It's above average and just as realistic as the other big British cult cannibal movie, "Frightmare".

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